Johannesburg - Reports that tourist arrivals to South Africa have grown in the first six months of the year was welcome news, President Jacob Zuma said on Monday.
"Our tourism strategy is proving to be successful. We congratulate the tourism industry, both the informal and formal sectors, as well as the department of tourism," he said in a statement.
The president commended South Africans for being warm hosts to visitors from abroad.
"Without the display of that special South African warmth and hospitality, tourists would not be coming in such great numbers to our country."
Zuma called on South Africans to promote the country when they traveled abroad.
"We have a great country, we must work together to make the world realise its full potential and boost economic growth and job creation through tourism."
Tourist arrivals to South Africa grew 10.5% over the first six months of this year, Tourism Minister Marthinus van Schalkwyk said on Sunday.
"We are very encouraged to see that our carefully formulated tourism growth strategy to increase tourist arrivals to South Africa is yielding the desired results."
According to Statistics SA, South Africa attracted 4 416 373 tourists between January and June 2012, compared to 3 996 760 arrivals for the same period in 2011.
The tourism industry experienced particularly strong growth in overseas tourist arrivals, recording 17.1% growth in arrivals from outside the African continent.
A total of 1 163 477 overseas tourist arrivals were recorded for the first six months of 2012, compared to 993 364 for the corresponding period in 2011.