The biggest tourism drawcard of 2024 - Taylor Swift

Reasons to travel are shifting. Is South African tourism tapping into this?

Taylor Swift has been the world's biggest phenomenon for some time - and that trends continues with Swift's monster Eras Tour now in the process of travelling around the globe.

American fans are travelling in droves over to Europe to watch the show this summer (because the average lowest ticket price in the US is an incredible $2,600 per ticket and tickets are far cheaper over in Europe even when you include the cost of travel) - pouring billions of foreign exchange into these economies.

Some travel agents are designing and selling unique travel experiences for fans - some of which sell for around $10 000 per person.

All of this connects nicely with a recently published American Express Global Travel Trends Report 2024 that confirms that an increasing number of people are choosing to travel for sporting and cultural events.

In fact the one sector that is projected to grow significantly in the next decade is tourism and hospitality. People are buying less stuff and choosing instead to spend their money on experiences. This has been the case for some time now, the shift now is that people need a reason to go somewhere in particular.

As we've said before - the tourism product that we offer here in South Africa is still very basic. A lot can still be done to vastly improve it and offer some credible competition to regions like Europe. It's not good enough to just have alternative options for tourists to enjoy (pretty mountains and penguins are not enough), what's really needed is compelling draw cards (Taylor Swift shows, F1 events, World Cup tournaments etc etc).

What's clear is the South African tourism is lacking a strategy. Numbers are up, but they're certainly not where they could be. Feels like the sector needs an injection of different thinking.


European cities hope jet-setting Taylor Swift fans will splash the cash for Eras tour
The superstar arrives in Europe next month – and Swifties, tourist boards and venues are already preparing
It’s a Love Story: Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour to provide nearly £1bn boost to UK economy | Barclays
The new figures come after Barclays Consumer Spend data revealed a surge in consumer spending during the pre-release window for the Eras Tour last July
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B&T chats with South African tourism’s Aussie CMO. Admittedly, we had to quickly rectify our Barossa Valley questions.