Tourism and hospitality authorities have predicted a “bumper year end for domestic tourism”, ahead of updated festive season statistics, expected to be released next month.

Sun City‚ the Kruger National Park and the traditional holiday cities of Durban and Cape Town topped the list of favourite destinations for domestic travellers.

While the tourism and hospitality industry are still collating figures in terms of tourist numbers and the economic impact‚ they are confident of a bumper festive season.

Tshifhiwa Tshivhengwa (pictured), head of the Federated Hospitality Association of Southern Africa (FEDHASA) said: “In all of the major holiday cities like Durban‚Cape Town‚ Port Elizabeth and East London‚ the numbers are looking good in terms of occupancy rates”.

For the second quarter of 2016‚ Fedhasa saw a 26% increase in leisure tourism, he said.

“This is a good figure we hope that it will be maintained and that South Africans will continue to explore their own country.”

Tshivhengwa believes the various campaigns encouraging South Africans to travel locally and government’s $8 million (Rand 110m) pledge towards the domestic tourism market has impacted positively.

“The prime locations remain Sun City‚ Kruger National Park‚ Durban and Cape Town. Johannesburg is not a prime location for leisure tourism but we are trying to encourage people to stay in Jo'burg hotels through various campaigns‚” he added.

According to Sun International’s statistics‚ Sun City had 38,560 guests over December at its four hotels including Cabanas‚ Soho Hotel‚ Cascades and the Palace, reports SowetanLive.

Table Bay hotel in Cape Town enjoyed an 80% occupancy rate‚ Sun International spokesman Michael Farr told the news outlet.

“While we do not yet have confirmed numbers for domestic travel in the 2016 festive season, we are encouraged by the trend we have seen so far for 2016,” said Sisa Ntshona, head of SA Tourism.

He said the latest statistics indicated that 12.7million domestic trips were taken in the first half of last year.

Sho’t Left is a campaign aimed at encouraging locals to be tourists in their own country and estimated spend is expected to be 68% up year on year.

He is reported to have said: “These domestic travellers spent R15.3-billion ($1.1bn) compared with 2015’s spend of R9.1-billion ($660m) in the same period. So South Africans are definitely travelling their own country.”

Sun City, the Kruger National Park and the traditional holiday cities of Durban and Cape Town topped the list of favourite destinations.

“KwaZulu-Natal and the Western Cape are popular provinces visited by a lot of South African holidaymakers in the festive season. But we encourage South Africans to travel throughout our beautiful country.”

Ntshona said the #StayinSA campaign — to encourage local travel — was “well received”.

Tshivhengwa told : “In all of the major holiday cities like Durban, Cape Town, Port Elizabeth and East London, the numbers are looking good in terms of occupancy rates.”

For the second quarter of 2016, Fedhasa said there was a 26% increase in leisure tourism.

Tshivhengwa said the different campaigns encouraging South Africans to travel locally and government’s R110-million pledge towards the domestic tourism market have had a positive effect.

“The prime locations remain Sun City, Kruger National Park, Durban and Cape Town.”

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