With ITB, the world’s leading travel trade show, celebrating its 50th year of existence, it is a fitting time to reflect on, and celebrate, one of South Africa’s biggest source markets in recent years - Germany.

According to Statistics South Africa and Grant Thornton, approximately 1.24 million German arrivals have been recorded between 2011 and 2015. A remarkable figure, with Germans increasingly flocking to our shores.

The welcoming phrase that “you might never want to leave” has also become a reality, as there are so many Germans who have visited South Africa and loved it so much that they have bought property here, so they’re not really visitors anymore.

What is it about South Africa that appeals to our German friends?

A great match for their needs - According to the South African Tourism Market Analysis Reports, German visitors are mainly looking for natural beauty, wildlife, beaches, culture and heritage, big cities and life enriching experience when deciding on a holiday destination. It’s easy to see, then, how South Africa, and especially Cape Town, appeals to the German market so much – we are privileged to have all of those in abundance.

Warm weather during their travel time - Germans have a strong preference for warm climate, so our favourable summer weather plays a strong influencing factor since their peak periods of traveling abroad are during their summer period (May to September). Over the festive season, German visitors are often recorded as the top source market visiting Cape Town – as was the case in December 2015.

Niche travel catering – Golf is a favourite pastime of German travelers, and whilst the golf season in Germany lasts maybe three months, in South Africa it’s a year-round pastime.

Travel trade empowerment - There are currently approximately 260 German tour operators selling South Africa, with many successful online booking portals like Thomascook.de and Neckermann-reisen.de, Fly.de and Expedia.de. Cape Town Tourism therefore strategically visits ITB each year to build and strengthen the relationships with our German trade partners, and to educate them on the new products available.

A home away from home - Since many Germans have relocated to South Africa over the years, there’s a large community of Germans throughout the country. In Cape Town, there’s the popular German Club where locals get together and numerous German businesses. Many tour guides and tourism businesses in the city are also German-speaking.

If you take a stroll in the city or head to one of the local coffee shops in Cape Town, you’re almost certain to hear someone chatting in German. Fortunately, I can only eavesdrop a little, as my German language skills are a bit limited.

Flights to Cape Town

The German traveller is most likely to look at the most affordable flights to Cape Town. Lufthansa, Condor and Edelweiss add more flights during peak season to accommodate more visitors. Other popular airlines based on rates and not distance include Turkish Airlines, Emirates, SAA, KLM and Air France.

Trends: German millennials want to travel like a local. They want those experiences that are not in brochures or guidebooks, but rather the ones off the beaten track – the hidden gems. Cape Town offers numerous authentic experience with thousands of unexpected wonders around every corner. Who expected a Kramat among the vineyards in Constantia; or to ride on an engineless scooter on Table Mountain. By the way, have you had a gourmet 10 course meal in Langa? We’re on it.

Travel like a local videos
With this changing need of the German (and global) visitor in mind, Cape Town Tourism has created six videos as part of our “Love Cape Town Neighbourhoods” series so far - which showcases smaller, vibrant suburbs in the city. They offer a snapshot from a local’s perspective about what it’s like to live and have fun in those places.

6 notable facts about German tourism to South Africa

  • Germany was the 2nd Largest International Market for Cape Town in 2014          
  • South Africa received 274 571 arrivals from Germany in 2014 of which it’s estimated that more than 197,000 visitors came to Cape Town
  • 76% of visitors to the country including the Western Cape in their itinerary          
  • Nearly 40% of German travelers to South Africa are repeat visitors, with their proportion having increased in recent years
  • 5% of the outbound German travel market participates in long haul travel           
  • Self-drive itineraries are very popular with repeat visitors. Germans are mature and sophisticated travelers

Sources: Travel Market Germany, Akomasa Creative Connection, 2012; Marketing SA in Germany 2010, South African Tourism; Statistics South Africa, Tourism & Migration Figures

“Let’s value, celebrate and build on our friendship and partnership with our German tourism friends and partners. Prost!”.