US Takes the Lead in Tourism to South Africa

New York, NY, November 2006 – The US became the biggest source market for overseas visitors to South Africa for the first time in June, outstripping the UK, which for years has provided South Africa with more tourists than any other country.

“We are extremely excited about the continued growth in the US market,” says Dr Felicia Suttle, President of South African Tourism, USA.

During June 2006, 26,814 overseas visitors to South Africa were from the US, which amounts to 22% of the total arrival figure, compared with 20,970, or 17.6% from the UK, and 8,134, or 6.8% from Germany.

South African Tourism has seen excellent growth in tourism for the last few years, with a 12.1% increase in visitor numbers from the US in 2005 over the 2004 figures. 2006 is also proving to be a very good year, with an average of 8.8% growth over the 6 month period January through June 2006.

South African Tourism has targeted the US vigorously during the past two years, and continues to do so through advertising, special events, and close relationships with the travel trade as well as with the media.

“Many visitors to South Africa describe it as a life changing experience”, says Suttle, “as they experience its awesome sensory impact through its scenic beauty, the diversity of its music, its real wonder where you experience western combined with traditional lifestyles, and a warm and welcoming nation that has overcome a dark history and is building a bright future together.”

In a move to increase the traffic between South Africa and the US, South African Airways has increased the number of direct flights and says it plans to fly to more US destinations, including Chicago. Delta is launching their route from Atlanta to Johannesburg on December 4th.

South African Tourism is the organization mandated with the international tourism marketing activities of the country. For travel and tourism information on this world-class destination, the ideal place for both business and leisure, contact South African Tourism at 500 Fifth Avenue, Suite 2040, New York, NY 10110; Tel: 212-730-2929; Fax: 212-764-1980; email newyork@southafrica.net or visit www.southafrica.net.

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