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    SA emerges as Africa’s top tourism economy in 2024 TTDI

    The Department of Tourism has announced that South Africa has achieved the highest ranking in the African region in the Travel & Tourism Development Index (TTDI) according to the World Economic Forum. This recognition comes as the country’s tourism industry continues to navigate rapid economic recovery and efforts to boost tourism growth.
    Source: 123RF

    The Travel & Tourism Development Index (TTDI) 2024 is the second edition of an index by the World Economic Forum and was released earlier this week where South Africa was ranked 55th among 119 countries and emerged as the leading country in the rankings for the African continent.

    The TTDI findings revealed that South Africa is home to the largest travel and tourism economy in Africa.

    The TTDI 2024 covers 119 economies and measures the set of factors and policies that enable the sustainable and resilient development of the travel and tourism sector, which in turn contributes to the development of a country.

    “We are extremely pleased with this ranking as it affirms our commitment and work to elevate the significance and contribution of the tourism sector in South Africa.

    "The tourism sector has achieved robust growth over the past year due to closer partnerships and collaborations with the private sector to grow tourism to its full potential,” Minister of Tourism, Patricia de Lille said.

    In the 2024 Index, South Africa moved up seven places compared to its previous ranking and scored high for price competitiveness, ICT readiness, natural resources and travel and tourism socio-economic impact.

    “We are delighted by the growth and our mission remains to exponentially grow arrival numbers and the overall performance of the tourism sector.

    "The sector already significantly contributes to South Africa’s GDP and job creation efforts but there is still so much more to be done. We have been working closer with the private sector and we are bearing fruit."

    Tourism growth statistics

    "I want to acknowledge and thank the tourism private sector stakeholders for all their hard work and collaboration with government to grow this exciting and important sector.

    "The South Africa tourism sector’s greatest asset is our people and we will continue working to grow tourism’s contribution to the prosperity of people and the planet” Minister de Lille added.

    In 2023, South Africa welcomed close to 8.5 million international visitors of which 6.4 million were from the African continent. This represents a significant increase of 48.9% compared to 2022 arrivals.

    During the first quarter of 2024 – January to March – South Africa welcomed 2.4 million visitors from the rest of the world. This represents a notable 15.4% increase compared to the same period in 2023.

    About the TTDI

    The objective of the TTDI is to serve as a crucial benchmarking tool for stakeholders to gauge the progress of the travel and tourism sector, informing policy and investment decisions.

    It offers insights into travel and tourism economies’ strengths and areas for improvement, and the interconnected nature of travel and tourism development, as well as facilitating strategic planning and multi-stakeholder dialogue to encourage sustainable and resilient growth at various levels.

    The Development Framework of the Index looks at various factors in the travel and tourism economies of countries such as


    • Enabling environment (business environment, safety and security and health and hygiene),
    • Travel and tourism policy and enabling conditions (prioritisation of travel and tourism,
    • Openness to travel and tourism and price competitiveness),
    • Infrastructure and services (air transport infrastructure,
    • Ground and port infrastructure and tourist services and infrastructure), and
    • Travel and tourism resources.

    The TTDI is part of the World Economic Forum’s broader work with industry and government stakeholders to build a more sustainable, inclusive, and resilient future for economies and local communities.

    The compilation of the TTDI involves a multi-stakeholder approach by the World Economic Forum and the 2024 TTDI report is based on research collaboration between the Forum and the University of Surrey. The report was also developed through input from leading Travel & Tourism stakeholder organisations, thought leaders and data partners.

    "As the South African travel and tourism sector – government and the private sector – we will continue to work with all partners to further interrogate the TTDI findings and identify the areas where major improvements and work is needed to further improve South Africa’s ranking.

    "We remain committed to growing and affirming South Africa’s status as a leading global travel destination and growing tourism’s contribution to the economy and job creation," Minister de Lille concluded.

    View the Travel and Tourism Development Index 2024 here.

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