Tumelo Waga Dibakwane
THE number of people visited Mpumalanga has increased during the festive season. A total of 1,576,507 visited the province last year, while in 2017 only 1,535,361 (3% increase) visited. These figures reflect a period from December 1, 2018, to January 15, 2019.
Xolani Mthethwa, Executive Manager for Tourism at Mpumalanga Tourism and Parks Agency(MTPA) said the feedback received from various tourism stakeholders’ points to marginal growth in the geographic spread with more people visiting various parts of the province including the usually less visited towns.
Mthethwa said some of the popular attractions during the 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 Mthethwa.
“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 Middleburg 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.
The Kruger National Park recently 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 that 79.7% were South Africans.
According to the Department of Home Affairs, South Africa experienced a marginal increase in travellers over the festive season compared to the same period in the previous year. The Home Affairs report shows that from 01 December 2018 to 15 January 2019, 6 852 972 people entered the country through the various ports of entry. This is a 0,61% increase when compared to the same period in the previous year.