The 2017 State of the Nation address by South Africa's President Jacob Zuma may have been hit by controversy as opposition parties delayed his speech by more than an hour last night (Feb 9).

But tourism was a key focus during his hour-long speech, which started an hour and 20 minutes later than planned, and he recognised the vital role it has played job creation after an increase in tourism numbers brought a much-needed boost in foreign currency into his country.

He told the assembly: "We had identified tourism as a key job driver. We are thus pleased that our tourist arrival numbers for the period January to November 2016 increased to nine million, an increase of just over one million arrivals from 2015. This represents a thirteen percent growth in tourist arrivals."

Today though an investigation by eyewitness news showed that while tourism number were up last year, it ans't quite as high a Zuma claimed.

It said: An Eyewitness News Africa Check fact-check-a-thon has found that President Jacob Zuma’s claim that tourist arrival numbers for 2016 had increased by 13% was exaggerated.

The president gave the facts during his State of the Nation Address (Sona) in Parliament on Thursday night.

Zuma was right to claim that the total number of tourists who arrived on our shores between January and November last year adds up to around nine million.

“We are thus pleased that our tourist arrival numbers for the period January to November 2016 increased to nine million, an increase of just over one million from 2015.”

But Statistics South Africa, which records the monthly tourist arrivals in South Africa, says a total of 8,903,773 visitors came to South Africa in 2015.

That means that the actual increase year-on-year was far from the 13% claimed by Zuma.

The rise was in actual fact only around 2%.

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