While arrivals are showing impressive growth on 2015’s figures, Satsa CEO, David Frost, points out that year-to-date overseas arrivals this year are only 6% higher than in 2014.

“It shows we’re only now getting ahead of the levels of two years ago,” says Frost. He says SA should be achieving double-digit growth.

According to Frost, the key factor for promoting growth is ease of access, of which he says the largest component is the visa regime. “The locus of competitiveness has shifted from the size of your destination marketing organisation’s tourism budget to what can you do to make it easier to come to your country,” says Frost.

According to the latest figures released by Statistics SA, total international arrivals for February 2016 were up 18% compared with the same period last year, with 803 770 arrivals, compared with 681 216 last year. Overseas arrivals were also up 18% year on year in February 2016, with 234 707 overseas arrivals.

Year to date, total arrivals and overseas arrivals are both up 17% on last year’s figures.

South Africa’s key source markets all experienced growth in February, with arrivals from the US, UK and Germany up by 16%, 15%, and 22%, respectively year to date. Arrivals from China have experienced growth of 72%, while India saw an increase of 22% in arrivals.