Pretoria - China's ambassador to South Africa Lin Songtian on Friday said President Cyril Ramaphosa's dream of doubling tourism figures was highly realistic, but there were fundamentals Pretoria needed to address to unlock the flow of tourists and investors.
"A way that jobs can be created here [in South Africa] is through tourism. When people come here, they enjoy the service and pay. The investors come here to create jobs, they are in business. All those people pay for their visas, they pay the airlines, they pay for local transportation, accommodation and service. If they feel safe in this country, they can go out of their hotels and enjoy. That is the way to create jobs," Lin said in Pretoria.
"South Africa needs to attract more tourists and investors. There are also other African countries in this same drive to attract the visitors, countries like Kenya, Senegal, Malawi, Ghana. You know that there are several African countries which achieved more than five percent economic growth last year. South Africa is competing with the whole world for those investors and tourists."
In a wide-ranging interview with the African News Agency, the Beijing envoy said the large 17-percent decline in Chinese tourists visiting South Africa recorded in 2018 was a serious cause for concern.
Analysts in South Africa have attributed the decline to strict visa requirements and security concerns.