The survey, a brand-tracking study conducted by SA Tourism, assessed South Africa's core market countries: Kenya, Nigeria, the US, the UK, Australia, France, Germany and the Netherlands.
It was first conducted in November 2005 and tracked responses in November 2006, February 2007 and November 2007. It was tabled in parliament in response to a question from the DA's Gareth Morgan.
The survey divided participants by country and asked why they did not visit South Africa in the past five years. Two categories were provided - general issues of safety (health, weather, roads, crime) and concerns about their personal safety.
Statistics in the "general issues of safety" grouping displayed an increase in concern for November 2006 and February 2007, but a decrease in November 2007.
The "concerns for own personal safety" category illustrated a similar pattern, with respondents from the US reporting a significant decrease in concern.
In November 2005, 32 percent of Americans surveyed did not travel to South Africa due to anxieties around personal safety. By November 2007, there had been an 8 percent decrease with only 24 percent of Americans surveyed not wanting to visit South Africa because of personal security concerns.
While most of the other countries in the report also displayed a decline in concern, the US' drop was the most dramatic.
The department also said tourism's direct and indirect contribution to gross domestic product (GDP) this year would be a predicted R70,8-billion, or 8,4 percent of GDP, as opposed to R60,1-billion last year (8,1 percent of GDP) and R66,6-billion in 2006 (7,9 percent of GDP).
Calvyn Gilfellan, chief executive of Cape Town Routes Unlimited, said on Tuesday the survey showed tourists were relying more on "common sensibility" and less on media reports when making plans to visit South Africa.
The foreign press in particular tended to mainly cover crime issues and this representation created a muddled reality, he said.