Current trends in the tourism trade

  • 28 January 2015 | Sarah Came
South Africa's relatively stable economy makes it a more popular destination than other African countries. Image courtesy of Shai Barzilay

Electronic and social media, and the economy, are two of the biggest factors affecting the tourism industry globally at the moment.

Trends in domestic travel and tourism from other southern African countries are most affected by economic factors.

According to research published by Euromonitor in October 2014, nearby countries will make up a significant amount of our travel market, as travel by road is cheaper than travel by air, and thus South Africa is an affordable travel destination for people in neighbouring countries. In addition, often these visitors have family or friends with whom they can stay to save money on accommodation.

“Internet use, and particularly mobile Internet use, plays and will continue to play a big role in tourism across many demographics.” –

Financial constraints have also resulted in a change of the behaviour of domestic tourists, says There is now a trend towards last-minute booking of holidays. Travel agents and hotels often offer last-minute specials, so due to increasing financial constraints more people are taking advantage of these options, which are particularly attractive to travellers from within South Africa.

The trends in the economy also have an effect on international tourist behaviour. Euromonitor states that South Africa has become a more popular destination than other African countries because of our relatively stable economy. Additionally, because of the highly competitive tourism industry in South Africa, South African holidays are good value for money.

Economics also plays a role in medical tourism to South Africa. South Africa is a popular medical tourism destination, due to the expertise of our doctors, and the lower costs of procedures compared to the US and UK. People from other parts of Africa also often choose to have the procedures done on South Africa because of our doctors’ skills. points out claims that electronic and social media have had a significant effect on travel habits in recent years, and their influence is expected to grow.

According to, technology is set to have one of the largest effects of all on the travel industry.

Internet use, and particularly mobile Internet use, plays and will continue to play a big role in tourism across many demographics. also predicts that mobile Internet devices such as smartphones and tablets will play an increasingly large role in travel experiences once the tourist is at his or her destination; for instance, to make bookings for the next part of the visitor’s trip.

Social media is already playing a role in customers’ decisions about where to go and what to do, and will continue to be influential on customer behaviour.

Social media referrals carry a significant amount of weight, and the culture of sharing one’s travelling on social media inspires a desire in those watching to keep up and not miss out on such travel experiences.

It is important to note that in order to run a successful, lucrative business, you must stay abreast of your industry, and you must be sure to know what is happening at all times. Keep an eye on the trends in the industry and figure out how to use them to your best advantage.