Minister of Tourism Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane. Picture: Thobile Mathonsi/African News Agency/ANA

Pretoria - Tourism Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane is set to visit the People's Republic of China and Japan as South Africa intensifies efforts to grow tourism arrivals from the Asia Pacific region.

"Minister Kubayi-Ngubane will embark on a roadshow to China from Monday until Wednesday, visiting Beijing and Shenzhen. This will be followed by a visit to Japan on Thursday and Friday, where she will also attend the 3rd Japan Tourism Expo in Osaka as well as the G20 Ministers of Tourism meeting in Hokkaido," said the minister's spokesperson Hlengiwe Nhlabathi.
 
"The key objective of Minister Kubayi-Ngubane’s visit is to engage with the trade in order to grow arrivals to South Africa from the region. This will be done by highlighting South Africa’s variety of tourism products and experiences, thereby re-affirming South Africa as a premium destination for both Chinese and Japanese travellers."

During her visit to China, Kubayi-Ngubane will also visit the headquarters of leading tech conglomerate Tencent in Shenzhen, where "she will oversee the signing of a memorandum of understanding between South African Tourism and Tencent with specified commitments to work together to increase South Africa's awareness in the Chinese market and to ensure a superior visitor experience for Chinese travellers when they arrive in South Africa".

Tencent is a leading provider of internet value added services in China. In its vast portfolio, Tencent includes the massively popular app WeChat, which now claims more than a billion monthly active users.

Nhlabathi said South Africa enjoys very healthy diplomatic relations with both China and Japan. She said Kubayi-Ngubane’s upcoming visit is testament to the strong ties, and demonstrates that South Africa is a "must visit now" quality destination.
 
In his state of the nation address earlier this year, President Cyril Ramaphosa re-affirmed the tourism sector as being crucial for the future of South Africa as the country is looking to double its international tourist arrivals from 10,5 million to 21 million by 2030. 

Kubayi-Ngubane said South Africa is an appealing destination for Chinese and Japanese tourists.
 
“South Africa is open for business and remains an appealing destination for both Chinese and Japanese travelers, offering abundant, diverse, world class, accredited attractions supported by transport, services and communications infrastructure that competes with the best in the world,” she said.

The tourism department hopes the visit will be a valuable networking opportunity for creating and consolidating new business and trade opportunities, and will boost confidence in the destination among outbound operators, travel agents and media in that region.

African News Agency (ANA)