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JOHANNESBURG -  South Africa's fellow member states in the BRICS grouping have made significant inroads in its tourism industry, generating business and economic growth, accounting firm PwC said on Tuesday.

South Africa is hosting the 10th BRICS summit this week, expected to draw hundreds of delegates to its commercial hub of Johannesburg.

PwC said compared to other foreign visitors, visitors from Brazil, Russia, India and China (BRIC) had a lower propensity to visit South Africa for leisure, with more coming for business and investment purposes. Around a third of total tourist expenditure in South Africa is associated with business-related travel, with the remainder being leisure-related.

An economic assessment had shown that visitors from the BRIC nations supported an estimated 26,000 South African jobs in 2016, the accounting firm said.

"South Africa is a much-desired destination among the BRIC nations. Tourism supports more than 1.6 million jobs in South Africa and accounts for more than nine percent of the country’s gross domestic product," said its economist Christie Viljoen.

He said the recent economic and political turmoil in South Africa -- which culminated in former president Jacob Zuma stepping down in February -- had not hindered or affected the influx of foreign visitors into the country.

PwC estimates show that BRIC visitors spend around R3 billion a year while in South Africa,  through activity generated by industries such as hotels, travel agents, airlines, passenger transportation services as well as restaurants and other leisure activities.

Tourist arrivals from the BRIC nations increased by 6.1 percent in 2017, higher than the average of all tourist arrivals to 275, 521 visitors. the easing of visa requirements for several BRIC countries over the past several years have added to increased arrivals.

"The 10th BRICS Summit present a great opportunity for South Africa’s tourism industry, the economy as a whole, and foreign investors,"said PwC.

- African News Agency