South Africa’s problems are the world’s problems — drought, climate change, economic inequality, and slow economic growth. However, there is one bright spot in the country’s economic outlook.
Tourism is the lifeblood of many nations, especially those situated in an environment that attracts visitors. Tropical cities and nations can really reap the rewards of a thriving tourism industry. However, it’s not just tropical nations that benefit from tourism.
Take South Africa, for instance, which has a booming tourism industry despite economic hardships. According to a new report, travel and tourism are expected to contribute as much as 9.4% of the South African GDP in 2017. Many small businesses are looking to take advantage of this opportunity.
This information comes from Anton Roelofse, a regional general manager at Business Partners Limited. He pointed out that the number of overseas visitors visiting South Africa was up 12.4% in the second quarter of 2017. He believes that this is largely due to favorable exchange rates and a larger population of Millennials that are more able to travel to faraway locales.
“Apart from millennials, an increasing number of tourists are seeking out experience and adventure, rather than sightseeing or relaxing at the side of a pool. This trend needs to be taken into consideration and tapped into to continue attracting this new market,” says Roelofse.
In comparison to the United States, which has a travel and tourism GDP contribution of around 2.7%, South Africa has begun to rely on these travelers. Especially considering the recent economic hardships and the poorly timed drought that hit their nation in recent years.
“The recent drought ravaging the country, especially in the Western Cape, has had a negative impact on all sectors,” Roelofse adds.
To support the tourism sector, Roelofse says that entrepreneurs need to keep providing good service. They also need to give authentic local experiences, and not just sightseeing and places to stay. It is important to the nation that these endeavors succeed, especially in these troubled economic times.
South Africa has developed a positive reputation in their corner of the world. Although less troubled than some of their neighbors, crime is still a concern in some cities, as is economic inequality. Tourism is a much-needed boon to the nation, and so Roelofse believes that it needs to be more active.
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