Tourists from the United States spend the most on tourism in South Africa, followed closely by the United Kingdom and Germany.


South African Tourism Regional Insights Specialist, Kaizer M. Dhliwayo, told Tourism Update that shopping and food were the largest spend categories, although these were not considered direct tourism sector spend.


While accommodation, leisure and transport spend contribute directly to the sector, he said only three of South Africa’s overseas tourism source markets – the UK, the US and Germany – spent an average of more than R1 billion (€61.8 million) on these three categories.

Dhilwayo pointed out that in 2018, shopping spend was R23.9 billion (€XXX) and food spend was R14.1 billion (€871 million) for 2018. “For the first half of 2019 we have seen R11.6 billion (€717 million) spent on shopping and a further R8.6 billion (€531 million) on food.”


How does SA compare to the global picture?

Europe, Asia and North America are the world’s top three tourism spenders according to the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) – see infographic below – which seems to confirm the South African picture:

SA’s top five overseas markets regarding spend:

  1. USA (R7.9 billion) (€488 million) 
  2. UK (R7.8 billion) (€482 million)  
  3. Germany (R5.9 billion) (€364 million)  
  4. France (R2.7 billion) (€167 million)  
  5. The Netherlands (R2.5 billion) (€154 million) 


SA’s top five average spend markets per tourist (overseas):

  1. USA (R23 400) (€1447) 
  2. Switzerland (R22 600) (€1398) 
  3. Finland (R22 000) (€1361) 
  4. New Zealand (R21 800) (€1348) 
  5. Netherlands (R21 300) (€1317)