South Africa’s Tourism Minister is undertaking a tour of China to celebrate expanding tourism links between the two countries, fuelled by closer trade relations.
Marthinus van Schalkwyk, Tourism Minister of South Africa, is currently touring China making media appearances promoting bilateral tourism, acknowledging the increasing number of Chinese tourists flocking to South Africa, which Schalkwyk claims is attributable to growing economic and investment ties between the countries.
“We have witnessed an increase in trade relations between China and South Africa, with considerable Chinese investment in South Africa and an increase in interest, awareness and understanding between our two countries,” Schalywyk said.
He went on to link this trade growth to tourism activities, noting: “We are confident of continuing our exciting growth in a market set to become one of the world’s most important tourism markets in the future.”
China has become South Africa’s fourth largest source of visitors, with 94,747 Chinese tourists arriving in the country during 2012. This figure displays significant growth on 2011 figures, when 59,187 Chinese tourists visited South Africa.
In excess of 100,000 Chinese visitors are expected to visit South Africa in 2013, as the Chinese government also assists tourism links by promoting the country as a holiday destination – publicity which Schalywyk is expected to express appreciation for during his tour.
South Africa joined the BRICS group of countries in 2010 – which now comprises Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa – with Schalywyk pointing to South Africa’s membership as key to fuelling trade relations with China.
The BRICS group sees the five member states collaborate in efforts to enhance the role of fast-growing developing economies on the global arena.