Travelling this holiday? This is where you should go…

It’s late afternoon and although you’re stuck in the office, you can’t stop daydreaming about your summer holiday. Perhaps you’re walking by the seaside or quad biking over dunes. Maybe you’re snorkeling in crisp-blue waters or sipping cocoa between two mittens.

The possibilities are endless, but you would have to choose a single destination to have any one of these experiences. To help you decide, Isabelle Coetzee has a look at the most popular holiday destinations this year.

According to the Theresa Szejwallo, managing director of The Travel Corporation, young South African travellers have shown an interest in the Far East (Thailand and Bali), Europe (France, Italy and Spain), North America (New York and Los Angeles) and South America (Brazil, Argentina and Peru).

In general they also found that Western Europe and Italy were the most popular travel destinations among South Africans, with the United Kingdom and Ireland being strong competition.

“We put this down to a big heritage pull with many South Africans who have family connections as well as London being the perfect springboard to start their onward European travels. France is making a good comeback. Their tourism numbers dipped somewhat after the recent incidents but it is resurging in popularity,” says Szejwallo.

“Interestingly we are seeing a huge upswing in requests for holidays to Russia. This is largely due to the Russian authorities dropping the need for SA passport holders to have visas so this has made going behind the old Iron Curtain an attractive prospect,” she adds.

Besides this, the Travel Corporation has also received a lot of enquiries for Spain, Portugal, and Morocco, and their close proximity usually leads to tourists visiting all three in a single holiday.

According to Carlos Luis, supplier relationship leader at Flight Centre Travel Group, the following are the top ten most popular international destinations that South African jet-setters travelled to during 2017:

NOTE: Airfare fluctuates greatly, depending on season and popularity. When budgeting, their estimated one-way airfare to their top destinations are approximately as follows.


  1. London (R7 200 per person)

As a global leader in banking and financial services attracting a steady stream of business travellers, in top spot, is unsurprisingly London. However, business aside steeped in tradition, its historic attractions and edgy fashion, food, music and shopping scene continue to attract volumes of tourists year after year.

REASON: Visiting family and friends, shopping and business travel.


  1. Phuket (R6 800 per person; package price from R9 500)

Thailand offers South Africans an array of exotic travel options to suit our taste and pocket. Its scenic beauty, affordability and warm climate continue to prove a big drawcard, for South Africans who love the outdoors.

REASON: Affordable beach holidays with loads of adventure.


  1. Mauritius (R5 600 per person, package price from R12 500)

A mere four-hour flight away, this island gem is a popular destination for both honeymooners and families. Its world class resorts offer all the romance of an island getaway with the convenience of vetted childcare and kiddie-friendly activities only a short flight away.

REASON: Short haul beach holidays.


  1. Paris (R5 900 per person)

A firm favourite for travellers to Europe, this magical city is high up on most travellers’ bucket lists and for good reason. History, cuisine, shopping, fashion, are just some of the attractions comprising an authentic French chic experience.

REASON: Food, wine, culture and history.


  1. New York (R9 200 per person)

Another business powerhouse, New York is a popular destination for business travellers. However, those seeking the quintessential American cultural experience will not be disappointed after a visit to the renowned, much filmed Big Apple.

REASON: Shopping, fantastic tourist attractions and the spirit of the city.


  1. South Africa (R1 000 – Durban)

From the rolling hills of the Eastern Cape to the roaming wildlife of the Kruger National Park, South Africa is an untapped wonderland of unforgettable experiences. From vibrant cultures, to breathe taking scenery and sun soaked coasts, South Africa is still a country that South Africans love to explore.

REASON: Diversity of experiences available – beach, mountains, bush, and short breaks.


“These destinations have not changed much over the last year or so, with the only exception being Hong Kong that has fallen outside of the top 6,” explains Luis.

“Other destinations that are outside the top 6, such as Bali, Zanzibar and Portugal have performed really well this year and have moved up the list but not into the top 6 yet,” he adds.

According to Lesego Matabane, marketing manager for Club Med Southern Africa, holiday goers are becoming more interested in the idea of spending holidays in the snow.

“There is still massive interest in sun holidays especially over the December school holiday period, but snow and ski is gaining interest and shows that South Africans are open to new experiences such as snowboarding and skiing,”says Matabane.

“In addition, South Africans are starting to understand that there is more to a snow holiday than ‘just snow sports’ and they are becoming a lot more open to exploring these destinations as a holiday option,” she adds.

Matabane identifies the top five international holiday locations for South Africans as following:


1. Mauritius
2. Val Thorens Sensations (French Alps – a snow holiday)
3. Kani (in the Maldives)
4. Bali
5. Cervinia (Italian Alps – a snow holiday)


“Compared to last year, the list has largely stayed the same. One change we have noticed, though, is that an increasing number of South Africans are wanting to try something new in the form of a holiday, and so are almost ‘experimenting’ with ‘further afield, but not necessarily more expensive’ destinations (examples here are the likes of your French and Italian Alps and the Maldives),” explains Matabane.