Cape Town - Tourism Minister Marthinus van Schalkwyk embarked on a media roadshow in Beijing on Wednesday to celebrate the growth in tourism from China to South Africa.
South Africa was visited by 59,187 Chinese tourists in between January and September 2011, by 96,747 during the same period in 2012, and it was thought this number would exceed 100,000 this year.
Van Schalkwyk attributed the growth to stronger trade relations between the two countries since South Africa took its place in Brics - the Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa group of countries - in 2011.
“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,” said Van Schalkwyk.
China had since become South Africa's fourth biggest source market for tourists.
“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,” he said.
Van Schalkwyk travelled to China with senior officials from his department, diplomats and a contingent from SA Tourism (SAT).
He is expected to use the trip to thank the Chinese media for its continued support in marketing South Africa as a holiday and business event destination.
Van Schalkwyk will also share details about SAT's marketing plans for 2013.
“This year, we will increase our efforts in digital marketing, to better communicate with Chinese consumers through online platforms,” he said. - Sapa