South Africa Sees Nearly 20 Percent Increase In Tourism In 2012

Earlier this week South African Minister of Tourism Marthinus van Schalkwyk told a diverse crowd that gathered at AMARIDIAN, a prestigious New York gallery, that his country is on pace to break previous records for international arrivals. The Minister said that there has been a 19.2% increase in tourism overall since the start of the year, putting arrival numbers well ahead of the record set back in 2010.

In the U.S., to help promote South Africa’s evolving art and music scene, van Schalkwyk couldn’t help but be pleased with the current state of tourism in his nation. These impressive numbers will help the country reach some very important milestones in the years ahead. South Africa has set a goal for itself of attracting 15 million visitors by 2020 while also increasing revenues to $75 billion per year and creating 225,000 new jobs.

Having visited South Africa myself, it is easy to understand why it is such a popular destination. The country truly has something to offer travelers of all types. Cape Town and Johannesburg are two very modern cities with thriving nightlife, amazing culinary options and luxurious accommodations. The country’s outstanding wine region is a quiet escape from the hustle and bustle of metropolitan life, while the year-round beaches are amongst the best in the world.

Of course, for the truly adventurous traveler, South Africa has plenty to offer as well. Kruger National Park is a legendary safari destination and hiking trails abound throughout the Western Cape. Adrenaline junkies can enjoy everything from bungee jumping and mountain biking to whitewater rafting and shark diving, with just about everything in between.

Knowing my love for Africa, I’m regularly asked by friends where I would recommend they travel on their first visit to the continent. It is difficult not to recommend South Africa simply because it has such diverse experiences to offer visitors. As a one-stop destination, SA is a country that really does have it all.

[Photo credit: Warrickball via Wikimedia]