ASATA’s First Ever Outbound Travel Industry Survey

Contributor: S Robertson

Here are some interesting results of ASATA’s (Association of South African Travel Agents) first ever outbound travel industry survey conducted by Grant Thornton.


Among the key findings of the Travel Index were:

  • The travel sector consists of more than 1 780 branches or outlets, distributed across South Africa, with a dominant presence in Gauteng, the Western Cape and KwaZulu-Natal.
  • Total turnover from the travel sector affiliated to ASATA was approximately R39,5bn in 2017, up 6,2% from R37bn in 2016.
  • Corporate travel accounted for 56% of all travel turnover in 2017 (R22bn)
  • Government spend on travel with ASATA-affiliated travel companies accounted for around R8,2bn in 2017 (21% of total turnover).
  • The leisure market spent R7,8bn with ASATA-affiliated companies in 2017.
  • Air travel accounted for 60% of all travel turnover – some R23,6bn from ASATA-affiliated travel companies in 2017.
  • Nearly a quarter (22%) of total travel turnover was spent on accommodation/ venues, 7% on tour packages and 5% on car hire.
  • Booking demand for air travel is influenced by holiday periods, with reduced number of bookings in December, January, April and somewhat in July.
  • For domestic flights, South African Airways is the top selling airline by a considerable margin, followed by BA Comair and SA Airlink.
  • South African Airways remains the top-selling airline for international flights, but Emirates the second-highest selling international airline, also has a significant share of the market. British Airways, including BA Comair for regional flights, is the third-highest selling airline.
  • Top South African destinations for air travel bookings, in order of demand are Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban.
  • Internationally, top destinations for air travel bookings are (in order of number of segments booked): London, Dubai, Mauritius and Phuket..
  • Close to 9 000 people are directly employed in the travel sector. The sector is well represented by females and whilst not yet representative of the racial profile of the country, nearly two thirds of employees are black.
  • Of all the travel sector employees:
    • 73% are female
    • 64% are black
    • 45% are black females
    • 49% are travel consultants (without management responsibility)

“The Travel Market Index reveals insights into the business of outbound travel, providing ASATA-affiliated stakeholders with critical information that will help them grow their businesses and the travel sector’s contribution to South Africa’s economy.


  • Sarah R

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