Yes, we all know this by now. 202o has been an extremely rough year for the tourism industry. The biggest problem for South Africa was the lack of international tourists, severing the lion’s share of income for most travel companies.
Well, if you were wondering just exactly how bad it was, the numbers don’t lie.
According to the Tourism 2020 report released by Statistics South Africa, foreign arrivals dropped by 71% from just over 15, 8million in 2019 to less than 5 million in 2020. “It is evident that the COVID-19 pandemic impacted the tourism industry quite hard around the world and in South Africa, mainly due to the lockdown and travel restrictions that were imposed,” Stats SA said.
According to the report, the overall number of travellers decreased by 50,7% over a 15-year period from nearly 24,6 million recorded in 2006 to 12,1 million travellers recorded in 2020.
The report goes on to add that the direct contribution of the tourism sector to GDP (Gross Domestic Product) in South Africa was R130,1 billion in 2018 and constituted nearly 3% direct contribution to GDP. In 2018, the tourism sector contributed about 4,5% of total employment in South Africa. However, in 2020, the volume of tourists decreased by 72,6% from 10,2 million in 2019 to 2,8 million in 2020.
“With the world of travel having changed drastically due to the pandemic, the year 2020 will always be remembered as the year that COVID-19 changed the world,” the report concluded.