Which tourists are visiting South Africa?

South Africa's leading overseas tourists in March 2014 were from the United Kingdom.
South Africa’s leading overseas tourists in March 2014 were from the United Kingdom.

Which tourists are visiting us?

As an immigration company we look for trends in the tourism statistics as one of the indicators for future immigration. Following up from our article on immigration trends today we look at the tourism/visitors statistics for March 2014.

Historically there is some correlation between the number of visitors/tourists that a country receives and its current and future appeal as a destination for attracting investment, entrepreneurs and skilled migrants.

With South Africa these trends are also extremely important due to the large contribution that visitors bring to the economy and the potential threat to this sector from the new ‘travelling with children’ regulations (as of October 1st 2014).


  • The below information is taken from the Statistical release P0351 from StatsSA and is based on the number of visitors who entered South Africa in March 2014.
  • For the purposes of clarity overseas visitors means those from outside of Africa.

So who’s visiting South Africa?
Overall the amount of tourism visitors reduced from 815,075 in March 2013 to 801,666 in March 2014.

The leading overseas tourists were as follows:

United Kingdom 41210
Germany 34345
USA 32564
China 12086
Netherlands 9855
Australia 8762
India 7540
Canada 7068
Brazil 5861
Switzerland 4708
Portugal 4190

Quick facts:

  • Overseas tourists decreased by nearly 7000 for the period.
  • The only European countries recording an increase were France, Netherlands, Italy, Spain and Netherlands.
  • UK tourists record the biggest drop of in excess of 7 000.
  • USA visitors increase by over 3000.
  • Central and South American visitors saw a slight decrease as did those from Asia and Middle East.

The leading tourists from Africa were as follows:

Zimbabwe 153608
Lesotho 114591
Mozambique 98541
Botswana 39572
Namibia 17224
Zambia 15876
Malawi 13455
Nigeria 6051
Angola 5917

Quick facts:

  • The largest increase in tourists came from Mozambique up some 17 000.
  • The biggest drop in tourists was Botswana with a reduction of over 22 000.
  • SADC tourists accounted for all but 18 815 of our visitors from Africa.

Purpose of their visit?

  • The overwhelming number of visitors come for a holiday (717 455), followed by those in transit (49 850) and business trips (30 317).
  • 3 754 visited South Africa for study purposes.
  • Business visitors came mostly from SADC countries (19 472) as did students (2 558)
  • European and USA visitors for business were 6 063 and 1 042 respectively.

How are they getting here?

As might be expected most overseas tourist arrived by Air and most African tourists by road.