South Africa is currently hosts more than 100 international conferences a year. With new events supported by targeted marketing efforts, the number of conferences is expected to increase. Business tourism is therefore one of the key tourism segments which have the potential for growth. The concept refers to travel for business (rather than leisure) purposes and includes travelling to participate in meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions (commonly referred to as MICE tourism), events, and independent business trips. Domestic demand for conferences is estimated at about 100,000 events per year, 90% have fewer than 100 delegates. This market is expected to grow by 2 to 3% more than the country’s overall growth, potentially leading to further growth of 5% per year.
With South Africa being the first country to perform the world’s first heart transplant, it is not a surprise that the country is growing in the field of medical tourism. South Africa is the first country in Africa to emerge as a medical tourism destination and offers world class medical facilities and affordable medical and dental care. Patients, who are undergoing minor surgery or procedures, can enjoy their recovery by staying in a relaxing vacation environment in beautiful surroundings.
Ecotourism is the idea of bringing tourism into the country without affecting the nation’s natural economy, by promoting and supporting its biodiversity. This form of tourism helps to preserve the ecological footprint and natural resources while at the same time presenting a more pleasant image to the rest of the world.
South Africa offers a wide array of ecological interests such as the spectacular mountain ranges, some of the world’s richest fauna and flora, desert dunes in the Kalahari, two thousand kilometers of coastline distributed equally between the beautiful Atlantic coast and the Indian Ocean-known for its warm climate. Tourists can visit one of our 212 game parks and reserves, 21 of which are national parks. The Kruger National Park which extends over two million hectares is home to 100 000 impalas, 20 000 buffaloes, 15 000 wildebeest, 32 000 zebras, 2000 rhinos, 2000 lions, 8300 elephants, 507 species of birds, 114 reptiles and more than 50 different kinds of fishes.
South Africa is certainly a nation of sports-fanatics, with the ideal climate, top-class sports facilities and superb tourism infrastructure it only makes sense for the local industry to focus on the lucrative sports tourism market.
Indeed the resources invested in this sector paid off when South Africa was singled out as the world’s leading Sports Tourism Destination at the recent World Travel Awards in Doha. The World Travel Awards are a highlight on the international tourism industry’s calendar and this particular award paid tribute to all the hard work and commitment that has gone into making South Africa a world-class sports and events destination.
In addition to hosting major events such as the African Football Cup and the Rugby World Cup, the FIFA World Cup was a major boost for South Africa’s international reputation. South Africa takes great pride in being the only nation to have hosted all major International Cricket World Cups and is determined to be the host country of the world’s biggest sporting events in the coming years.
South Africa has a wide spectrum of cultural diversity with a rich and vivid history, ideal for cultural tourism. A number of world-class sites have been developed to commemorate the many historical influences on South African life; from the ancient nomadic San culture to resistance to European conquest and apartheid rule. Among these, tourists will also find many World Heritage sites, including the Cradle of Humankind which is the richest hominid fossil site in the world. There are numerous cultural villages and museums to learn more about how indigenous and colonial inhabitants lived, and how the various languages, customs and traditions of South Africa are celebrated today.
Adventure tourism is the fastest growing tourism in the world and gives tourists the opportunity to discover nature with a feeling of adventure. South Africa has remarkable natural resources and landscapes creating the ideal setting for sporting activities in rivers, oceans, hills, valleys and mountains. Some of the most popular activities sought by adventures such as hiking, parachuting, paragliding, bungee jumping and all water sport including sailing, fishing scuba diving, kite surfing and shark diving can be enjoyed in South Africa.