An economic look at the tourism industry

An economic look at the tourism industry

The tourism industry continues to play an important role in the South African economy. The latest Tourism Satellite Account for South Africa report provides an overview of tourism’s contribution in terms of spending, employment and its impact on the gross domestic product (GDP).

Tourism direct GDP was R103,6 billion in 2013, rising from R93,5 billion in 2012. The industry’s contribution to total GDP remained stable at 2,9% for both years.

Domestic visitors contributed 57% (R124,7 billion) of total tourism spend in 2013, while international visitors contributed 43% (R94,2 billion). Total tourism spend in 2013 was R218,9 billion, a rise of 9,7% from R199,4 billion in 2012.

International and domestic visitors have different spending habits. For every R100 spent by an international visitor in 2013, R27 was spent on non-specific products, R15 on tourism-connected products, R14 on accommodation, R12 on road transport and R12 on air transport; and R20 was spent on other products. The major expenditure items for domestic visitors, for every R100 spent, were for road transport (R29), non-specific products (R19), accommodation (R15), air transport (R14), and tourism-connected products (R10). R13 was spent on other products.

During 2013, 14,3 million non-resident visitors visited South Africa, increasing from 13,1 million in 2012 and 12,1 million in 2011.

Rising visitor numbers and increased spending is bound to influence employment within the industry. The number of persons employed in the tourism industry increased by 9 854, from 645 755 persons in 2012 to 655 609 persons in 2013. The tourism industry employs about 4,4% of all employed persons in South Africa.

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