Tourism Minister Derek Hanekom speaking at the launch of Tourism Month by SA Tourism and which will have as it focus the tagline #TourismForAll.

Tourism is showing a remarkable bounce back, with international arrivals up 15.4 percent in the first six months of this year, compared to 2015, says Tourism Minister Derek Hanekom.

Speaking at Gariep Dam in the southern Free State on Thursday evening, Hanekom said arrivals from China had shown huge growth, rising by 98% year-on-year.

Arrivals from India grew by 40% in the same period.

Hanekom said things were looking up for the tourism sector and “people are discovering us”.

He said South Africa still had plenty of potential for growing visitor numbers, pointing out that, last year more than 1.2 billion people travelled internationally.

In China alone, 120 million people travelled abroad last year.

Hanekom was speaking at the launch of Tourism Month by SA Tourism and which will have as it focus the tagline #TourismForAll, with special focus on Universal Accessibility, promoting access for people with disabilities, in line with World Tourism Organisation's international campaign on the same lines.

SA Tourism has chosen the Free State - one of the country's less visited provinces - as the focus for the month.

Hanekom said he and his colleagues had been staggered, when they sat down to plan the Free State focus, on how much the province has to offer domestic tourists.