11 September 2012
South Africa’s tourism sector is looking to emerging markets to boost arrivals and drive growth, Tourism Minister Marthinus van Schalkwyk said at the Global Tourism Economy Forum in Macau, China on Monday.
The sector will focus specifically on attracting visitors from its BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India and China) partners as traditional tourism markets are still suffering the backlash of the global economic crisis.
“While Europe stagnates, we in the emerging-market economies are boosting global tourism flows and outbound spend,” Van Schalkwyk said.
“By 2015, the emerging economies are expected to account for 40% of all global departures.”
It is predicted that in the next decade, emerging-market economies will contribute more to global economic growth than developed economies.
“This global re-balancing, together with the spread of low-cost airlines, air space liberalisation, the removal of visa requirements and the growing popularity of online bookings, underscores that the extensive BRICS cooperation and partnership on travel and tourism among not only businesses but also governments offers boundless opportunities,” he said.
South Africa’s tourism sector contributes 9% to the country’s gross domestic product, with 12-million international arrivals annually. Van Schalkwyk announced that it is the government’s goal to increase this number to 15-million by 2020.
“The new growth will depend heavily on our marketing investment in China, Brazil and India.”
China, in particular, represents a growing market for South Africa, with double-digit growth in tourist arrivals in 2011.
“When the tourism industry talks about emerging destinations and source markets, Africa is often ignored,” Van Schalkwyk said.
“As a destination, the splendour of [the] continent’s natural riches and the warmth of [the] people create many truly unique experiences.”