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US tourists not only surged 286% in May, those coming are also spending a lot more

Business Insider SA
SA tourism is set to get a boost with more flights coming from the US. (Getty Images)
SA tourism is set to get a boost with more flights coming from the US. (Getty Images)
  • The number of US tourists surged 286% to 23,789 in May 2022.
  • This is up from the 6,175 who arrived in the corresponding period in 2021.
  • The number of US tourists rose almost 30% from April's 18,324 and is more than double that of February's 9,928.  
  • Though the recovery is good for the local tourism industry, it's still far from where it was in the pre-pandemic era.
  • Spending by US tourists in SA is higher than pre-pandemic levels.
  • For more stories go to www.BusinessInsider.co.za.

Stats SA data for May showed a continuing recovery in the number of tourists coming from the US.

The number of US tourists surged 286% to 23,789 in May 2022, up from the 6,175 who arrived in the corresponding period in 2021.

Though overall tourist numbers from Europe dropped by almost half to 42,951 when compared to the April figures – this drop is seasonal as it reflects the pre Covid-19 2018 tourism cycle – the latest US numbers showed a significant increase on the previous month's numbers.

The number of US tourists rose almost 30% from April's 18,324 and is more than double that of February's 9,928.  

Though the return of US visitors is good for the local tourism industry, it's still far from where it was in the pre-pandemic era, which can be seen in the 33,925 who arrived in May 2018.

Even so, the US is seen as important market for the local tourism industry, with South African Tourism noting that it took over from the UK as the country's top overseas tourism market in 2021.

South African Tourism said it helped that United Airlines and Delta Air Lines continued to fly to SA, despite the arrival of the Omicron Covid-19 variant, which disrupted travel from the UK in the November to December period.

The local tourism industry is also set to get further support on news that Delta Air Lines and United Airlines both plan to fly directly to Cape Town from November.

Though US tourism numbers have yet to make a full recovery, SA is getting a boost from US travellers who are now spending about a third more than they used to.

"In 2021, the US also topped the tourist revenue among the overseas markets with R2.3 billion, which was driven by average tourist spending in South Africa being higher than pre-pandemic levels up to R31,100 from R22, 900 in 2019," said South African Tourism.

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