Tourism arrivals from New Zealand are down 15% for the month of January compared with the same month last year in response to South African minister of home affairs, Malusi Gigaba’s introduction of a restrictive visa application process for New Zealanders intending to travel to South Africa.
According to statistics released by Statistics SA this week it is the first time the Kiwi tourism market has gone into a decline since November 2015. Last year, South Africa’s Department of Home Affairs applied visa restrictions to citizens of New Zealand, effective January 16. All New Zealand passport holders travelling to South Africa must apply for a South African visa in person at the South African High Commission in Wellington, at the visa application centre at the Plimmer Tower or at the visa application centre in the Regus Business centre in Auckland.
In 2015 Gigaba introduced controversial immigration regulations which require the use of unabridged birth certificates for people under the age of 18 to enter or leaving South Africa. It had devastating effects on tourism numbers – earning the minister the nickname of ‘tourism terminator’.
TourismUpdated.co.za quotes Michael Waller, CEO of tour operators Dragonfly as saying the new visa Kiwi visa rule is the reason for the dip in arrivals. He says while the visa restrictions relate directly to the New Zealand market, the requirement could also hurt arrivals from Australia. He explains that, particularly in the incentive market, Australian companies include staff from their New Zealand offices in the group.
As far as overall tourism figures are concerned, South Africa received 1,040, 534 total arrivals in January 2017, up 3%, and a total of 245,074 overseas arrivals, up 14%.
In January 2017, 3,815,402 travellers (arrivals, departures and transits) passed through South Africa’s ports of entry. They were made up of 995,727 South African residents and 2,819,675 foreign travellers. Foreign arrivals, 1,559,295 were made up of 120,373 non-visitors and 1,438,922 visitors.
The visitors were broken down as follows:
– 398,388 who arrived and departed on the same day, and
– 1,040,534 who stayed overnight (tourists).
Tourists increased by 2,8% from 1,012,641 in January 2016. They were constituted as follows:
- Overseas tourists (245 074), who increased by 14,0% from 214 903 in January 2016.
- The highest increase, 34,1% was for tourists from France (from 11 728 in January 2016 to 15 725 in January 2017), followed by Sweden, 28,6% (from 5 625 in January 2016 to 7 233 in January 2017) and China, 28,3% (from 9 406 in January 2016 to 12 066 in January 2017).
- Tourists from SADC (780 275), who decreased by 0,2% from 782 002 in January 2016.
- The highest decrease, 8,7% was for tourists from Botswana (from 44 458 in January 2016 to 40 604 in January 2017.
- Tourists from ‘other’ African countries (14 402), who decreased by 4,3% from 15 048 in January 2016.
- The highest decrease, 15,7% was for tourists from Côte d’Ivoire (from 230 in January 2016 to 194 in January 2017, followed by Nigeria, 11,0% (from 5 381 in January 2016 to 4 791 in January 2017).
- 783 tourists, whose country of origin were unspecified.
About three quarters, 765 599 (73,6%) of tourists used road transport and about a quarter, 271 688 (26,1%) used air transport, while 3 247 (0,3%) used sea transport.
The majority of tourists, 1 006 752 (96,8%) were on holiday compared to 19 620 (1,9%) and 14 162 (1,4%) who came for business and for study purposes respectively. Tourists were made up of 585 075 (56,2%) males and 455 459 (43,8%) females.
South Africa’s key source tourism markets from overseas all experienced growth for the month of January, compared with the same time last year – apart from New Zealand. Arrivals from Germany were up 15%; from the UK, up 4%; and from the US they were up 7%. Total arrivals were 33,413 from Germany, 48,165 from the UK, and 23,289 from the US.
Brazil and China also experienced growth in January, while India saw a decline. Arrivals from Brazil were up 113%, arrivals from China were up 28%, and arrivals from India were down 5%. Total arrivals were 6,114 from Brazil, 12,066 from China, and 6,293 from India.
Other markets also experienced significant growth in January. Arrivals from France were up 34%, Ireland and Switzerland were up 21%, Sweden was up 29%, The Netherlands and Israel were up 20%, Argentina was up 129%, and arrivals from South Korea were up 40%.