- Despite alarming reports of high crime rates, which according to most people have caused fear among travellers to South Africa, the country has recorded an increase in tourists arrivals by 8 percent over the last year.
A report published this week by the state agency Statistics South Africa indicated that the total number of foreign travellers who visited the country from mainland Africa, overseas and unspecified countries, arriving through all ports of entry during August 2006 stood at 701,991.
This figure represents an increase of 8 percent as compared to the August 2005 figure, according to national statistics office.
Most of the foreign travellers to Africa's giant in democracy and economic development entered by road while 433,136 departed by the same route. These figures represent 71.5 and 70.5 percents respectively.
26.4 percent of travellers (185,155) entered the country by air. Of this figure, 84.7 percent travelled by through Johannesburg's Oliver Tambo International Airport, 14.5, 0.2 and 0.6 percents through Cape Town and Durban International Airports respectively. 29.4 percent departed by air.
Rail and sea are the least modes being used by travellers who entered and departed South Africa. These figures represent 2.1 and 0.1 percents of the travellers. South Africa has rail connections with all its neighbouring countries except Lesotho.
South Africa has slowly consolidated its role as sub-Saharan Africa's main tourist destination, mostly due to a very well developed infrastructure and loads of interesting tourist destinations, many of which are on Unesco's official World Heritage list. The well developed infrastructure makes South Africa the obvious destination for most first-time travellers to Africa.
Lately, there have however been speculations that South Africa's extremely high crime rate may scare off tourists and travellers, some even pronouncing doubts that crime-ridden South Africa may successfully organise the 2010 soccer World Cup. National statistics however reveal that tourists are far from being scared off.
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