SA tourism seeing 'spectacular recovery' - Hanekom

There's been a 20% increase in the first quarter of 2016 compared to the same period last year.

Derek Hanekom, Tourism Minister. Picture:  Anthony Molyneaux/EWN.

CAPE TOWN - Tourism Minister Derek Hanekom says the nation has experienced spectacular growth in tourist numbers this year.

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Tourism authorities have recorded a 20% increase in the first quarter of 2016 compared to the same period last year.

Hanekom says 2015 was the first year that tourism numbers fell since the dawn of democracy.

"Firstly it was Ebola, probably the biggest single factor and then there was our own visa regulations, let's not pretend they did not have an effect. Then, of course, we had the very unfortunate attacks on foreign nationals at the beginning of last year."

Hanekom, says the easing of fears around Ebola, changes in the visa regulations and a favourable exchange rate has reversed the downward trend.

"In 2016 we are seeing a spectacular recovery, but really spectacular. Where we had the perfect unpleasant storm last year, we are seeing the perfect weather so far in 2016."

Hanekom is confident the numbers will hold, South Africa will continue to benefit from revenue brought by foreign tourists and that Brexit will have little effect on the industry.

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