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Nearly 30,000 readers who took part in a comprehensive survey conducted via The Telegraph's global travel news platform have placed South Africa ahead of all other global destinations for 2023.
The southern African country snatched the coveted title of most-favoured global country destination to dethrone long-standing favourite, New Zealand.
Participants rated the country's remarkable accessibility from the UK and the US as a significant plus for the country, praising South Africa's accessibility thanks to direct flights to both Johannesburg and Cape Town. Also important to travellers from Europe was minimal jet lag thanks to near-identical time zones.
Besides accessibility, voters cited a plethora of features including the breathtaking landscapes of the Drakensberg /uKhahlamba mountain range and Motlatse Canyon, the captivating wildlife of Kruger National Park, and the nation's vibrant cultural tapestry.
The allure of African travel extended beyond South Africa with Botswana and Kenya also making it into the top ten list.
Despite requiring a change of flights for travellers, Botswana's Safari convenience and the mesmerizing Okavango Delta garnered it a loyal following.
Meanwhile, Kenya, a renowned safari hub, showcased its resilience as a preferred travel destination by consistently making the top ten list.
Beyond the favourite country category, Cape Town, fondly known as the "Mother City", stood tall as the world's best city for travel.
Readers were drawn to its year-round favourable weather, its iconic Table Mountain, and the city's luxurious hospitality sector nestled among pristine beaches.
The awards and recognition come at a time when South Africa's tourism and travel market is witnessing a major rebound after the COVID-19 pandemic and an increase in overall tourism numbers.
Kgomotso Ramothea, a communications and marketing lead for South African Tourism in charge of the UK and Ireland explains that the accolades are a testament to the remarkable experiences South Africa offers its visitors.
"These accolades are a testament to the remarkable experiences South Africa offers its visitors. They underscore the unwavering dedication of our vibrant tourism industry," she explained.
Tourism data from the South African Department of Tourism reveals 303,848 arrivals from the UK and Ireland in 2022.
Arrivals from the two countries in the first quarter of 2023, January to May, increased by more than 50% compared to the same period last year.
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