Local tourism is set to rebound from a downturn caused mainly by the global recession, the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) said on Friday.

Head of IDC Christine Engelbrecht said she was optimistic about South Africa's tourism growth prospects.

“We are still reeling from (the) effects of one of the worst economic downturns, but indications on the ground point to an up-tick in tourism-related activities,” said Engelbrecht.

She said the country's local tourism growth was boosted by the hosting of the 2010 World Cup. Tourist arrivals in 2011 jumped to about 8.3 million from 8.1 million in 2010.

She said the growth patterns were also a good sign of possible job creation.

“The potential for job creation in this industry is massive. In the wake of the recession, the local industry needs to find new growth areas,” she said.

She said the beach resort outside Kwa-Dukuza in KwaZulu-Natal, which was still under construction, would create about 250 direct jobs and another 150 indirect jobs during the development phase.

“Some of the community members will have an opportunity to acquire new skills and expertise,” she said. - Sapa