Tourism’s new top spenders

In 2012, international tourist arrivals grew by 4% to 1035 billion, surpassing the 1 billion mark for the first time. International tourism receipts also hit a new high in 2012, reaching an estimated US$1 075 billion (€837 billion) worldwide.

Growth of 4% globally in tourism spend as well as a growth in international arrivals, bucked the trend set in motion by the economic recession of spend lagging behind arrivals. Growth was stronger in emerging economies (+4.3%) compared with advanced economies (+3.7%).

For South Africa, the biggest growth in 2012 came from Asia and South America, driven by large increases in arrivals from South Africa's BRICS partners, Brazil, India and China. China became South Africa’s fourth-biggest overseas market at 132334 tourists last year, up 55.9% on 2011 figures, while Indian arrivals grew by 18.2% to 106 774 visitors, and Brazilian arrivals grew by 44.7% to 78 376 visitors. Since 2009, arrivals from China have more than tripled, those from Brazil have more than doubled, and tourist numbers from India have almost doubled.

A recent report issued by in partnership with the IE Business School lists the top-10 tourism source markets according to spend on international tourism in 2012.

China emerged as the biggest tourism spender, contributing $102 billion to the international tourism market and other emerging markets - including Russia - played a leading role in terms of tourism spend. Key source markets like Germany and the United Stated demonstrated positive growth.

The top 10 source markets are:

1. China ($102 billion)
2. Germany ($83.8 billion)
3. USA ($83.7 billion)
4. United Kingdom ($52.3 billion)
5. Russian Federation ($42.8 billion)
6. France ($38.1 billion)
7. Canada ($35.2 billion)
8. Japan ($28.1 billion)
9. Australia ($27.6 billion)
10. Italy ($26.2 billion)


South African Tourism’s Regional Director for the Americas, Monika Iuel, shared some key insights on Brazil and SAT’s marketing strategy at a recent SAT Brazil Roadshow at the Radisson BLU on Friday, 12 July 2013.

Consumer Segmentation
Moving away from the Wanderlusters and NSSA’s, we meet SAT’s prioritised segments for this market:
• Young Professionals ¬– Average age 26; drivers are adventure and nightlife.
• Mature Couples – Average age 39; key driver is relaxation.
• Experienced Travelers – Average age 41; drivers are new, authentic experiences.
• Sophisticated Families – Average age 46: drivers are quality time with their kids and family experiences.

Travel from this market peaks in July; a small peak is observed over Easter, and September to December is traditionally a very popular period for travel.  A word to the wise, promoting events or special packages taking place in February is not a good idea because Carnival takes place in Brazil and Brazilians are unlikely to travel out of the country.

Market Strategy
South African Tourism recently appointed a Trade Relations Manager, Marcelo Marques, for Brazil and is in the process of training retail agents and tour operators in market.  Other planned activities include roll-out of the Fundi programme in this market, a Portuguese web-site, dedicated brochures, trade campaigns and a South Africa stand at WTM Latin America in April 2014.

¹ World Tourism Organization (2013), UNWTO Annual Report 2012, UNWTO, Madrid.
² South African Tourism, Highlights of tourism’s performance in 2012 Report, May 2013
³ Travel News Asia, Top 10 spenders in international travel, 15 August 2013

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