18 August 2021

African association releases first-ever attractions benchmark survey results for national industry

Submitted by: Fazielah Williams
African association releases first-ever attractions benchmark survey results for national industry

In a first for both South Africa and the continent, the African Association of Visitor Experiences and Attractions (AAVEA) released the highly-anticipated results of its inaugural attractions benchmark survey at its AAVEA 2021 Virtual Conference today, Thursday 19 August 2021.

The attractions benchmark survey results, researched and analysed in the second quarter of 2021 by Sabine Lehmann, an esteemed tourism industry professional, CEO of Curiositas, and the executive director of AAVEA, were compiled using data collected for 2019 and 2020. Bearing in mind the impact of COVID-19 and the national lockdown, the attractions benchmark survey report yielded the following fascinating snapshot of the attractions industry:

  • South African attractions received a total of 11,7 million visitors in 2019.
  • In 2019, the domestic market was the largest single source of visitors for attractions and experiences with 61%of visitations being domestic visitors.20% of full time jobs were lost at attractions between 2019 and 2020.
  • The majority of attractions (66%) were closed for the equivalent of half a year or more in 2020.
  • 27% say the attractions industry has changed fundamentally and we won't see those numbers again.

The full survey results report is available on the AAVEA website.

As the first membership-based organisation of its kind on the continent, AAVEA represents the interests of visitor experiences and attractions, raises awareness of the contribution they make to the broader tourism industry, and hosts events and online sessions that provide education, valuable engagement with industry peers, and collaboration opportunities.

The organisation announced its partnership with South African Tourism (SAT), the marketing agency for the Department of Tourism, in 2020. The survey results report is one of the key deliverables of this partnership.

Lehmann is delighted to be able to present this pioneering report and is looking forward to extending its reach in the future:

“If we wish to advocate for our sector within the tourism economy, then having data available to prove our importance in the industry is vital. Never has the role of the attractions and experience industry been more important than in the year when we lost international tourist arrivals. For the domestic tourism economy, visitor attractions and experiences are an instrumental driver of leaving home for a fun day out. We wish this to be the first of an annual attractions and experience survey which will eventually be extended to attractions and experiences in Africa.”

For more information about AAVEA and its industry data gathering initiatives, please visit www.aavea.org.za.