President Cyril Ramaphosa said during the State Of The Nation Address that the country intends to double its tourist arrival to 21 million by 2030. Some of the ways he hopes to achieve this are through the renewal of the country’s brand and a world-class visa regime.
“We will make good on our ambition to more than double international tourist arrivals to 21 million by 2030.
This will be achieved through the renewal of the country’s brand, introducing a world-class visa regime and a significant focus on Chinese and Indian markets and air arrivals from the rest of our continent,” he said.
President Ramaphosa said spatial interventions like special economic zones, reviving local industrial parks, business centres, digital hubs and township and village enterprises will bring economic development to local areas.
“We will also focus on small medium enterprises in our cities, townships and rural areas and create market places where they trade their products.”
He also briefly spoke about safety, stating: “ We are determined to ensure that tourists who come to our country are safe.”
During Africa’s Travel Indaba in Durban this year, Ramaphosa promised to introduce a world-class e-visa system and reduce the red tape that travellers face when visiting the country.
He said: “We must reduce the onerous and often unnecessary bureaucratic red tape that tourists who want to visit our countries face. This requires us to streamline our tourist visa regimes.”
After Ramaphosa's address on Thursday, CEO of Cape Town Tourism Enver Duminy said: “(The president) has reaffirmed his ask of us to double the tourism numbers to SA in the next 10 years, which is possible as long as the current travel barriers are reduced and removed urgently.
"(There are) issues like visa restrictions and looking at liberalizing the air freedom rights between South Africa and other African countries in order to give better effect to free trade agreements currently in place.
"Increases in tourist safety incidents combined with xenophobia in recent years has damaged the SA brand making us less attractive to regional and international tourism and trade opportunities. Therefore we need innovative tourist safety initiatives and swift prosecution of criminals arrested for these crimes against tourists like we had during the FIFA World Cup in 2010," Duminy said.
"These initiatives will need to move beyond speeches of hope to actions that matter and we are willing to roll up our sleeves as the tourism sector to give comfort to tourists that we are a friendly and safe destination to visit, to study in, to invest in, to trade with and an even a better country to live in."