Growing investor confidence in the South African economy is putting tourism on the path to a faster recovery. So said SA Minister of Tourism, Derek Hanekom, at a Tourism Investment Seminar at Africa’s Travel Indaba on May 9.

The seminar was held to assess investors’ interest in SA tourism investment projects and opportunities, and covered an array of other tourism prospects, including coastal and marine tourism and conservation tourism. Investors also had the opportunity to meet and interact with a broad spectrum of exhibitors from across Africa at the Indaba, including product owners, development finance institutions, major international airlines, travel trade, policy makers, and senior government officials.

There are investment opportunities in and around major attractions like national parks, beaches, World Heritage Sites and areas that are established as destinations for meetings, conferences and major sporting and cultural events.

The need to reposition SA’s product offerings was raised, which Hanekom believes could guarantee an increase in demand. “The growth in tourism is not only dependent on infrastructural investment. We need to invest in the quality of the visitor experience that we offer, in order to attract more investment. To do this, it is important to continuously sustain and enhance our products,” said Hanekom, as he elaborated on the recently approved National Tourism Sector Strategy.

Participants put the call out for development finance institutions and the private sector to continue tailoring financing packages for tourism-related investment, and to think innovatively about approaches to risk assessments associated with any financing mechanism for economic infrastructure and assets.