The Easter holidays are usually a time of travel for a lot of people. We go to visit far-away relatives, or we take a vacation somewhere we wouldn’t usually be. For some of us, Easter means travelling abroad. Actually, “some” is the wrong word, if the visitor statistics for South Africa in the Easter period are anything to go by.
For the Easter period, the international airport in Johannesburg, OR Tambo International, recorded nearly 50 000 arrivals and about 70 000 departures. The Beitbridge border post, which is a land-locked border post, accessible mainly by road, recorded 36 000 arrivals and 53 000 departures. The national totals for all border posts were approximately 290 000 arrivals and 400 000 departures.
These figures may indicate two things, which are not mutually exclusive. It seems, firstly, that many people are entering South Africa during the holiday period as a destination of choice. This is hardly surprising, given that the country attracts roughly 10 million visitors annually. Even more impressive than the Easter figures would be the numbers recorded over the Christmas holiday. Secondly, the fact that the number of departures exceeds that of arrivals appears to indicate that many people are either yet to return home to South Africa, or were already in the country on holiday and left at the end of the Easter period.
What these figures also show is that South Africa is capable of handling very high volumes of travellers. The FIFA World Cup tournament held in South Africa in 2010 was also testimony to this fact. As a tourist and business destination, South Africa has the infrastructure and the expertise to accommodate and assist many thousands of visitors during a peak holiday season. This is particularly encouraging given that President Jacob Zuma recently stated that tourism is one of the economic drivers in the country.
As a country with world-class tourist cities, it is reassuring to see these high traveller figures. As a global player, South Africa is firmly on the map, both for leisure and business.
Sources: DHA website