23 January 2013

China now SA’s 4th largest overseas tourist market

Tourism Minister Marthinus van Schalkwyk is on a visit to China to build on the excellent tourism relationship between China and South Africa.

Asian tour group in Cape Town An Asian tour group in Cape Town

Since our country took its place alongside Brazil, Russia, India and China in the BRICS in 2011, we have witnessed an increase in trade relations between China and South Africa and a strong increase in Chinese tourist arrivals - Tourism Minister Marthinus van Schalkwyk

The potential and value of China as a major overseas tourist market for South Africa cannot be underestimated.

Tourist arrivals from China achieved phenomenal growth in 2012, increasing 63.5% to 96 747 tourist arrivals from January to September 2012, compared with 59 187 tourists over the same period in 2011.

Van Schalkwyk said the South African government was committed to investing strongly in the Chinese market.

 ‘Since our country took its place alongside Brazil, Russia, India and China in the BRICS in 2011, we have witnessed an increase in trade relations between China and South Africa and a strong increase in Chinese tourist arrivals. There has also been considerable Chinese investment in South Africa,’ he said.

In 2012, South African Tourism entered into joint marketing agreements with seven trade and marketing partners in China. The aim is to educate the Chinese about South Africa, package and promote a larger variety of products and experiences, and make South Africa as affordable and accessible as possible.

With the launch of South African Airways’ non-stop direct flights between Johannesburg and Beijing in January 2012, as part of a code share agreement with Air China, Chinese tourists have had convenient access to South Africa.

‘We are also encouraged by the introduction of two new visa application centres in China, which has considerably enhanced the tourism attractiveness of South Africa for Chinese travellers,’ Van Schalkwyk added.  

Van Schalkwyk and his delegation are on a media road show to Beijing and Shanghai where they is expected to meet more than 80 members of the media.

He is being accompanied by Thulani Nzima, Chief Executive Officer of South African Tourism (SAT); Kingsley Makhubela, the director general of the National Department of Tourism; and Dr Bheki Langa, South Africa’s ambassador to China.

The series of media engagements will include sharing details about SAT’s 2013 marketing plans in China and thanking the Chinese media for their continued support.