South Africa’s Tourism Minister, Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane, says the country will look at creating an air transport link to India in a push to claim a bigger share of tourist arrivals from that region.

Participating in a debate on the Tourism Department’s Budget vote in Parliament on July 10, Kubayi-Ngubane announced interventions to bolster tourist arrivals from Nigeria and China, countries that, according to Statistics South Africa, attracted 53 000 and 96 000 tourists respectively last year.

The Minister said South Africa’s current share of these large outbound markets was low and that the Department’s efforts would bolster international arrivals to South Africa from China to over 9% of SA’s total international tourist composition. She also eyed increasing tourist arrivals from India by over 7%.

The Department will create and share first-hand information to promote South Africa so that it becomes a destination of choice on the African continent.

“Initiatives will include partnering with online travel agencies, targeting the ‘leisure’ market, partnerships with South African product owners to drive affordable family packages, and delegate boosting at exhibitions, association meetings and business chambers,” said Kubayi-Ngubane.

She said the European market remained important for SA’s tourism sector and that visitors from Europe could easily get visas that allowed them to stay for 90 days.

Visa interventions

The Department will work to remove all obstacles that may stand in the way of tourists who want to travel to South Africa. “In this regard, we are happy to report that recent visa waivers for Russia and Angola had a positive impact on the number of international travellers who graced our shores.

“We are also encouraged by the announcement made by the Minister of Home Affairs, Dr Aron Motsoaledi, that South Africa’s new e-visa system is expected to launch within this financial year.”