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SA eyes Brics to boost tourism

Sep 10 2012 17:01

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Johannesburg - South Africa intended boosting its tourism industry with arrivals from countries such as Brazil, India, and China, Tourism Minister Marthinus van Schalkwyk said on Monday.

South Africa had 12 million international arrivals a year, and wished to increase that to 15m by 2020, he said at the Global Tourism Economy Forum in Macau, China, in a speech prepared for delivery.

"The new growth will depend heavily on our marketing investment in China, Brazil and India."

Van Schalkwyk said South Africa attained "double-digit" growth in tourist arrivals from China from 2011 and was "very excited" about the introduction of direct flights between Johannesburg and Beijing.

"China is undoubtedly an important market to us," he said.

He warned that the tourism industry world-wide would face difficulties in the short term.

Global travel and tourism were expected to grow 2.8% this year, down from 3% in 2011.

While global growth had been strong at the start of this year, it was expected to flatten out.

"Traditional markets are not yet out of the doldrums, and growth in outbound travel remains flat. The American economic recovery is fragile and the ongoing crisis in Europe could still draw the continent and the rest of the world into a prolonged recession."

However, growth from the developing world could help improve tourism's fortunes.

"The emerging economies continue to drive the recovery in international tourist flows. While Europe stagnates, we in the emerging-market economies, are boosting global tourism flows," Van Schalkwyk said.

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