Patricia de Lille (inset), South African Minister of Tourism, addressing participants at the opening of the Africa’s Travel Indaba
Patricia de Lille (inset), South African Minister of Tourism, addressing participants at the opening of the Africa’s Travel Indaba

Ghanaians’ visit to South Africa surges 249% after relaxed entry rules

The recent waiver of visa requirements has facilitated a surge in the number of Ghanaians who travel to South Africa in search of business, leisure and adventure.

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The latest data from Statistics South Africa (SSA) showed that more than 7,904 Ghanaians made a successful entry into one of the continent’s largest economy in the first three months of this year for reasons related to business and tourism.

The move, representing a record growth of 249.4 per cent over the 2,262 posted for the first quarter of 2023, was occasioned by a waiver of visa requirements for the two countries from November last year, allowing citizens to travel freely between them.

The data further indicated that South Africa’s international tourist arrivals from January to March 2024, totalled 2.4 million, which represented an increase of 15.4 per cent. Of the total, 1.8 million arrived from the rest of the African continent, with Ghana standing out for its remarkable growth for the period.

At the 2024 Africa’s Travel Indaba (ATI) at Durban in the KwaZulu-Natal Province in South Africa on May 14, this year, the South African Minister of Tourism, Patricia de Lille, commended the government and people of Ghana for their contribution to the growth of the tourism industry in that country.

“Ghana recorded a 249.4 per cent surge when compared to 2023, reaching 7,904 arrivals for January to March 2024. Ghana’s immense performance can be attributed to the fact that travellers between Ghana and South Africa no longer need visas for a period of up to 90 days within a calendar year, for purposes of business or tourism.

“South Africa and Ghana announced the visa-waiver scheme on November 1, 2023. 

Other nationals

Ms Lille further said that in the first three months of 2024, tourist arrivals from the Americas were more than 118, 000, reflecting a 12.4 per cent growth, as compared to the same period in 2023.

Participants at the opening of the Africa’s Travel Indaba

Participants at the opening of the Africa’s Travel Indaba

She said South Africa saw more than 420, 000 tourist arrivals from Europe, an 8.6 per cent increase, as compared to the same period in 2023. The UK remains the top European source market, with more than 125, 000 tourists choosing South Africa, marking a 5.3 per cent growth, as compared to 2023.

Germany experienced a 9.9 per cent increase in arrivals, as compared to 2023, amounting to over 98,900 tourists. There were more than 49, 000 arrivals from the Asian region, representing 25.4 per cent, as compared to the same period in 2023.

Pre-pandemic recovery

The Premier of KwaZulu-Natal, Nomusa Dube-Ncube, said: “We meet here after the tourism industry was battered by the COVID-19 storm, we were at 90 per cent pre-pandemic recovery levels by the end of 2023.

“This recovery is evidenced by the fact that the World Tourism Organisation said about 1.2 billion international tourists were recorded worldwide in 2023, an increase of 34 per cent over 2022,” she added.

In line with that, the premier said the KwaZulu-Natal Province was positioning itself to reap the full rewards of the recovery.  “The impact of this trade show on the GDP of our province is estimated to be in the region of between R22 million and R260 million per year, between 2004 and 2022.  

“This equates to a R3 billion impact. Regarding international arrivals, our province received over 21 million international visitors between 2000 and 2023,” Ms Dube-Ncube, said.
About Travel Indaba

Africa’s Travel Indaba is one of the largest tourism marketing events on the African calendar meant to showcase the best of the continent’s summer travel experience. The 2024 edition, which is on the theme: “Unlimited Africa,” offers unlimited potential as the continent can boast of diverse landscapes, cultures and experiences that provide limitless possibilities for exploration and growth.

The event created a unique opportunity for 1,200 exhibitors, including 26 African countries and more than 1,100 buyers, representing 55 countries across the world to interact and forge partnerships.

The African countries are showcasing a total of 344 products. The event, an initiative of South African Tourism (SAT), which opened on May 14, this year, will close on May 16, 2024.

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