An overview of the tourism industry in south africa

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By Peter Myles,

Director, Tourism Research Unit, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University

In tourism it is almost impossible to say that a product will not be viable or will not work whether it is an accommodation establishment, attraction, facility or service. Travel & tourism is the largest and fastest growing industry in the world. Over 800 million global tourists travel on planet earth every year and only 2 million (0.25%) of these currently come to South Africa. However, a recent global brand awareness survey concluded that about 22 million (3%) of global tourists would visit South Africa if they could get to the country (airline access) and if South Africa could overcome its actual and perceived negative image regarding safety and security.
Therefore tourism growth is not so much a factor of demand but rather more to do with supply i.e. product market fit. To reduce the risk of product failure requires an assessment of demand and supply, identifying target markets followed by a cost effective marketing strategy. This rapid assessment therefore attempts to provide a realistic appraisal of demand and supply, market trends, benchmarks and other performance indicators so that an informed decision can be taken based on a reasonable sample of accommodation establishments using national averages and infrastructure growth as benchmarks.

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