Industry Update
Performance18 March 2019

New Research Shows South Africa As Africa’s Largest Travel & Tourism Economy In 2018

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World Travel & Tourism (WTTC)

Travel & Tourism in South Africa contributed 1.5 million jobs and ZAR425.8 billion to the economy in 2018, making it the largest tourism economy in Africa, according to the World Travel & Tourism Council's (WTTC) annual review of the economic impact and social importance of the sector released today.

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For over 25 years, WTTC, which represents the global private sector of Travel & Tourism, has compared the Travel & Tourism sector across 185 countries. The 2018 research shows that the South Africa Travel & Tourism sector:

  • Contributed ZAR425.8 billion to the country's economy - the largest of any country in Africa. This represents 8.6% of all economic activity in South Africa
  • Generated 1.5 million jobs, or 9.2% of total employment
  • Was primarily driven by leisure travelers: 64% of the travel economy was generated by leisure visitors and 36% from business travelers
  • Is roughly balanced between international and domestic travel: 44% of the tourism spend came from international travelers and 56% from domestic travel

Commenting on the numbers, Gloria Guevara, WTTC President & CEO said: "Travel & Tourism contributes more to the South Africa economy than in any other African country. In total our sector contributes ZAR425.8 billion and 1.5 million jobs which makes it a formidable part of the economy.

"South Africa has long grasped the potential of Travel & Tourism to drive economic growth, create jobs and promote social development and I would like to acknowledge the leadership of Minister of Tourism, H.E. Derek Hanekom. That is why we welcome President Ramaphosa's ambition to double the number of people directly employed in T&T in South Africa.

"Looking to the future, I believe that Travel & Tourism is South Africa's greatest resource and the country's strategy for expansion which priorities regional integration, environment sustainability and putting the community at the heart of decisions will make for a successful combination."

About WTTC

WTTC is the body which represents the Travel & Tourism private sector globally. Members consist of CEOs of the world's Travel & Tourism companies, destinations, and industry organisations engaging with Travel & Tourism.

WTTC has a history of 25 years of research to quantify the economic impact of the sector in 185 countries. Travel & Tourism is a key driver for investment and economic growth globally. The sector contributes US$8.8 trillion or 10.4% of global GDP, and accounts for 319 million jobs or one in ten of all jobs on the planet.

For over 25 years, WTTC has been the voice of this industry globally. Members are the Chairs, Presidents and Chief Executives of the world's leading, private sector Travel & Tourism businesses, who bring specialist knowledge to guide government policy and decision-making and raise awareness of the importance of the sector.

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Chloe Wynne
Communications Executive
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