Slight increase in tourist arrivals to Kruger National Park and Mpumalanga over the Festive Season
The 2018 festive season saw Mpumalanga province’s arrivals increasing slightly to 1,576,507 from 1,535,361 (3% increase) recorded in 2017. These figures reflect a period between December 1, 2018 to January 15, 2019.
This feedback received from various tourism stakeholders points to a marginal growth in geographic spread with more people visiting various parts of the province including the usually less visited towns and exploring the diversity of attractions on offer. Some of the popular attractions during this period included Kruger National Park, Sudwala Caves, Barberton Makhonjwa Mountains World Heritage site, amongst others.
“With our festive season campaign that kicked off in November 2018, the process started slow. However, with a number of signature events that were hosted in various parts of the province, this boosted the numbers of those that visited the province. These results show that we are slowly making a positive impact”, said Mr Xolani Mthethwa, Executive Manager for Tourism at Mpumalanga Tourism and Parks Agency.
“The world renowned Blyde River Canyon Nature Reserve recorded 107 565 visitors in 2018 when compared to 104 950 in 2017. This is an increase of 2,615 (2.4%), of visitors when comparing 2017 and 2018 results. The Middelburg Toll Plaza recorded an increase of traffic flow from 779,906 in December 2017 to 787,838 in December 2018, which is a difference of 7,932 (1%) when comparing both years results”, added Mthethwa.
There has been an increase in the number of passengers that used air transport to visit the province. The domestic market recorded an increase of 6% in 2018, whereas the international market increased by 27% in 2018.
Mpumalanga remains a popular destination endowed with natural attractions and experiences bound to astound any traveler. The province is undoubtedly the ultimate in terms of wildlife experiences, has an array of adventure offerings as well as spectacular landscapes. It boasts a rich heritage and a myriad of heritage sites to be explored.
The Kruger National Park (KNP)’s Managing Executive, Mr Glenn Phillips announced that the park saw 194 782 visitors entering the KNP gates during the festive season (13 December 2018 – 8 January 2019). This is a 0.6 % year on year improvement. “Out of the 194,782 visitors received in the KNP, 81.4% were day visitors and we are most delighted that 79.7% were South Africans,” explained Phillips.