How do you like your stats, fried or scrambled?
Source: Tourism Update, 07/08/2015
Statistics SA`s analysis of tourist arrivals between 2013 and 2014
fails to take into account that 2013 tourist arrival figures included
transit passengers, while for 2014 these were excluded.
Statistics South Africa on Tuesday released a statement claiming that
SA had experienced "slow growth" in tourism from 2013 to 2014, but the
analysis is flawed.
"The volume of tourists increased by 0,1% between 2013 and 2014," the
body said in a statement. However, its analysis fails to take into
account that 2013 tourist arrival figures included transit passengers,
while for 2014, these transit figures were excluded. The year-on-year
comparison by Stats SA therefore underestimates the country`s growth
For example, Stats SA claims that tourist arrivals from The
Netherlands increased by 8.7%. This figure is arrived at by comparing
2014`s arrivals excluding transits, with 2013`s arrivals including
transits. A comparison between both years excluding transits shows
that tourist arrivals out of The Netherlands grew 16% from 113 061 in
2013 to 131 287 in 2014.
Overseas arrivals grew almost 3% from 2 190 641 in 2013 to 2 254 709,
while the year-on-year growth for the first six months in 2014 was 7%.
Overseas arrivals dropped in the second half of the year by just under
one percent, while arrivals in the final quarter were down by 3%. The
decline was attributed to South Africa`s new requirement for visa
applications to be made in person, together with the outbreak of Ebola
in West Africa.
South Africa has experienced an even greater decline in arrivals
during 2015, with overseas arrivals into South Africa dropping just
under 24% year on year for the month of April.
SATSA CEO, David Frost, says accuracy of data becomes particularly
important as the industry seeks to measure the impact of the
Department of Home Affairs new regulations. "What is particularly
concerning is that this erroneous data is being used by Home Affairs
to try and point towards a decline in arrivals prior to the
announcement of the regulations – suggesting that other external
factors are to blame for the unprecedented decreases we are now seeing."
Frost adds that this is the fourth instance where incorrect data has
been presented in order to mislead the public in an attempt to rally
support for Home Affairs` controversial new visa regulations.
"Firstly, we had the bogus figure of 30 000 children trafficked in SA
every year which has since been whittled down to 23 over the last
three years. Next, Home Affairs Spokesperson Mayihlome Tshwete
compared traveler data and not tourist arrival figures, from February
with those with March which does not provide a meaningful comparison
given that the one month is much shorter than the other, not to
mention the impact of the Easter holidays.
"Finally, at a recent WESGRO workshop, the Deputy Minister of Home
Affairs, Fatima Chohan claimed that less than 1% of tourists travel
with their families. If the Deputy Minister`s assertion is true it
would mean that on average, only one family of three people travels on
every 300-passenger widebody flight into the country, which is clearly
not the case. The correct figure is closer to 20%, if not more," says
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