SA sees tourism rise despite strict visa regulations

More than two million foreign visitors crossed the country’s borders between 1 December and 7 January.

FILE: Muizenberg Beach. Picture: Cape Town Tourism.

JOHANNESBURG - The Home Affairs Department says it recorded a 7.6% increase in the number of foreigners traveling to South Africa over the festive season.

More than two million foreign visitors crossed the country's borders between 1 December and 7 January.

The department says South Africa is still an ideal destination for tourists.

It says even with the stringent visa regulations, it has seen an increase in the number of foreign visitors entering the country.

Over the 2014/2015 season, more than 1.8 million foreign travelers were recorded to have arrived in the country, compared to over two million this season.

Minister Malusi Gigaba says specific regions globally have seen an increase in people traveling to South Africa.

He says there was a 4.9% increase in arrivals from the African continent, 6.1% more visitors from Europe and a 7.1% increase in travelers from North America.

The total movement of people both locally and foreign has been recorded at 5.3 million, an increase of more than 5% from the previous festive season.