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South Africa is on sale for half price – why isn’t anyone buying?

South Africa is on sale for half price – why isn’t anyone buying?

South Africa is a beautiful country, with diverse cultures and spectacular scenery – yet its tourism potential remains unfulfilled.

And thanks to a myriad of social and economic problems – which has sent the rand to record lows against the world’s major currencies, and left the country on the brink of recession – the country has inadvertently unlocked a potential gold mine: tourism.

Tourism is one of the few industries that can take advantage of the country’s economic ills.

According to Stats SA, tourism direct GDP was R103.6 billion in 2013. The industry’s contribution to total GDP is 2.9% – woeful.

By comparison, Malaysia is at 7.2%, Thailand at 9%, while Mauritius is at 11.3% and Seychelles is at 21.2%.

According to 2014 data from the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), South Africa ranks 106th in the world for tourism to GDP, below neighbours Botswana and Namibia.

International visitors contributed 43% (R94.2 billion) to South Africa’s total in 2013.

During that year, 14.3 million non-resident visitors visited South Africa, increasing from 13.1 million in 2012 and 12.1 million in 2011, Stats SA said.

The Home Affairs Department said in January that more than two million foreign visitors crossed the country’s borders between December 1, 2015 and January 7, 2016.

For every R100 spent by an international visitor in 2013: R27 was spent on non-specific products; R15 on tourism-connected products; R14 on accommodation; R12 on road transport; R12 on air transport; and R20 was spent on other products.

The number of persons employed in the tourism industry in 2013 was 655,609 – representing 4.4% of all employed people in the country.

South Africa’s appeal to the world is unquestionable. It really does have everything one would want in an exotic holiday – bar snow (and even that is available if you head to the right places during winter).

Its only downfall is its geography – which can dissuade people who are not keen on long flights, and the associated cost.

The latter can now be wiped off the cons list.

South Africa’s economy is crying out for economic diversification – its too resource reliant. It is time to use the resources we have above ground, and not that which is underneath.

Some will argue that its not just South Africa that is in an economic bind, that it’s a global issue. People will always go on holiday, especially if they can sniff out a bargain.

The Barmy Army recently traveled to South Africa to follow their national cricket team. So impressed were they with the exchange rate, they sang a song about it.

The Spectator, a weekly British conservative magazine, says that there may not be a better time to visit South Africa.

“South Africa has always been good value for British visitors, even five years ago when there were 11 rand to the pound. Now that figure is closer to 23 rand. For visitors, an entire country is half price.

“This freak situation may not last; so there might never be a better time to visit.”

South Africa is open for business – and has a half price sale tag on it. So where are the vuvuzelas to trumpet that to the world?

More on South Africa

This is what R100 buys you around the world

South Africa’s most popular city for travellers

Why you should not give money to beggars in South Africa

Gareth is the editor at BusinessTech. Gareth was previously the ICT Editor at BusinessLive/I-Net Bridge. Gareth holds a degree in Journalism from Rhodes University....
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  • Vdutch

    It isn’t that cheap, I live in Europe now and the prices here aren’t really any higher. For the price of a place like Warmbaths in SA I can stay in a hot spar in Northern Europe….. At over R17 to the Euro the prices are cheap but not as much as you would expect. Recently came back to SA for a long holiday and was shocked at how expensive many things are and I live in one of the most expensive countries in Europe!
    Travel agents also recommend against South Africa here because of the violence and crime levels. They rather redirect people to places such as Tanzanian (game holidays) or Spain (Beach holidays).

    • SayWhat

      Sad but true, also the cost of getting to SA. SA is very cheap but a flight here costs the same as a fully catered week with flights in Greece. spain etc…Cheaper to go to Spain or Greece or Thailand.

      We just do not make it attractive for tourists and then we add other factors.

      We should be focusing on our assets, making jobs and attacking tourists

      • Chris Swanepoel

        I don’t think we should be attacking tourists. Hahaha

        • SayWhat

          lol my bad

      • Jaco Rautenbach

        yup flights is the ballbreaker… with flexible dates I can pick up a return Flight from Germany to Phuket for under 200 Euro; and 100 euro total if the dates work out.

      • Chris

        I was just thinking about that as well. The flight will cost you a arm and a leg, so why not spend less, and just pop over to Spain rather…

    • slvn

      Finally someone speaks some sense. Its the greedy business people that make this country so expensive. As soon as they see the Rand drop in value they stick up their prices. Same thing with SA exported. In most other countries the export would keep his prices low and make money because of great sales volumes. NOT in SA the greedy pigs in SA will stick up their prices even further. because they would rather make a R100k profit selling one item, then make R500k profit selling 25 items.

      • Moles

        Yeah man look at what some assholes in CT was doing when it became a destination for filming. You saw prices shoot up to ridiculous levels, renting a house for a film shoot when from R1000 to R20k for no other reason but greed. What happened film crews saw the extortion and started leaving.

        • LBS

          Exactly, I also know someone who did just that. Even had the house repainted afterwards! By the film crew company.!

          • Biloko

            That is standard when houses are hired for making commercials or films.

  • Veldmeisie

    A very sad question to answer. Crime and corruption are costing us jobs.

  • Kdawg

    Poor public transport, poor authentic food, poor customer service, poor safety.

    • rodmur

      This is rubbish -“The Home Affairs Department said in January that more than two million foreign visitors crossed the country’s borders between December 1, “2015 and January 7, 2016.” Most of them crossed the border from neighbouring countries for shopping and went back the same day. But they are counted as tourists !!!

      • Chris

        don’t believe all the bullcrap that the cANCer feeds you. Crossing the border and then leaving the same day is not a tourist in my book! And from neighbouring countries? The guy coming over buying his month food vs a German tourist, guess who is going to spend more money in SA…

  • James Dean

    “Tourism is one of the few industries that can take advantage of the country’s economic ills.”

    Yep, South African tourism with the soon to be Big four when the Rhino is completely wiped out. Yet another ANC success story.

  • Why buy for half price today, when you can get quarter price in 6 months time?

  • Joe Soap

    Why is no one buying? It’s because rape is our national sport.

  • Jon Low

    The perception of SA being an extremely high-risk, dangerous and hostile destination — like Afghanistan or Iraq — because of the rampant and violent crime, is not going to go away soon.

  • bengine

    Apples and oranges – tourism figures in a country that has a diverse assortment of exports from fruit to heavy metals – compared to minute economies that have little else apart from tourism.
    Not saying the situation is peachy but please compare like with like or don’t use % of GDP – that distorts the picture and leaves us somewhat in the dark.

    • Demisemi

      Technically, yes.

      In fact, we should be looking at tourism as the ‘cherry on top’, not something to focus on as logistically we will always take a back seat to the closer European destinations etc.

      Fact is, in a nutshell, we need to turn our economy into a ‘thought based’ one.

      Think ‘STEM’ [ although, we not exactly primed for this unfortunately LoL….dont get me started there ]

      PS Australia has just announced some great changes to their economic outlook in line with this…they’ve realised a resources based economy is finished.

      This new progressive way of thinking will serve them well.

  • Paul F

    South Africa is one of the most expensive countries in the world even at the exchange rate… i can get a 7 night half board, flights and transfers to Spain or Greece from the UK for £150 per person.. that’s approx R1500 at the PPI exchange rate.. beat that expensive south africa

  • LBS


  • VaxPrime

    Treat Minorities in South Africa with less Racism and Disrespect, they might tell their Family and Friends and Business Partners overseas better thing about the Country.

  • Henry Butler-Sloshed

    Why would any European want to come to SA and be called racist, colonialist and be exposed to crime?

    He can go to civilized places like Algarve in Portugal, South France, South Spain, even Turkey for much less money and be treated like a king. And he doesn’t need unabridged certificate for his kids.

    • Biloko

      The requirement for unabridged certificates is no longer relevant – that idiotic scheme has now been reversed as of a few days ago.

      • Mamparra

        Yeah, but in true cadaver-style, they’ve made it so the poor people still have to get both parents’ names in the kid’s passport. And like the bunch of incompetents they are, it’s going to take a long time apparently for them to get those wheels in motion – I suppose because it takes so long to get a new passport. In the meanwhile the parents still have to carry an unabridged birth certificate. Unbelievable – but, like Little Jake agreeing to pay the money he should have anyway on N_Clown_dla, the ANC muppets will try to show how flexible and sensitive their idiot rulers are in ‘listening to the people’.

  • Hey world, come get raped, pillaged, assaulted, robbed or even murdered by a hit squad hired by your gay husband – ALL AT HALF PRICE!!!

    Ok, that’s not necessarily true because as the rand drops in value so our prices have gone berserk, so it’s not all half price.

    Maybe SA should also not have killed off 60% of its Chinese tourist market by implementing such shortsighted visa application restrictions, or work visa restrictions. It kind of put a dampener on things for the film market for a while. And you’re still letting illegal aliens in unattended anyway.

  • Anthony Worthington

    Well you can come to South Africa, dirt cheap, but then you have the privilege of either being mugged or murdered.

  • Chris

    CRIME, CRIME and CRIME. That’s the reasons why people are not visiting, and the stupid visa laws doesn’t (didn’t) help much either.

  • Mamparra

    Dear God, Vorster, did thehomecomingrevolution pay you to write this drivel? I’m not normally anti-businesstech or mybroadband, but this is one of the most ridiculous excuses for an article I’ve seen on either for a while.

    Which part of ‘the idiots at Home Affairs completely screwed up the tourist trade with their pathetic visa regulations’ didn’t you understand?!!!! And in reply, please don’t give me that bulldust from Gigamouth saying that ‘the visitors arriving went up by 7%’ because my retort would be – how many MORE people would have come if it wasn’t for your stupidity?

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