SA set for increase in tourist arrivals from India, says tourism minister
Pretoria - South Africa is set for an increase in arrivals of tourists from India, according to Tourism Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane.
Kubayi-Ngubane has hailed as a resounding success her two-day market roadshow to Mumbai in India from January 14 to 16, the tourism department said in a statement.
The roadshow was characterised by "robust engagement" with tour operators, destination management companies, film producers, and potential investors, as South Africa increased its efforts to unlock market opportunities for the realisation of the country’s target of doubling international tourist arrivals from 10.5 million to 21 million by 2030.
“India remains one of our key trading partners and [a] priority market for driving arrival numbers to South Africa. We will continue to invest in our marketing and engagement efforts, both with our trade partners and travellers, while providing diversified tourist products,” Kubayi-Ngubane said in the statement.
South African Tourism, the country’s destination marketing organisation, was "re-engineering" its strategy to tap into the market potential and set new growth benchmarks, with a forecasted 1.3 percent rise in Indian traveller arrivals to South Africa in 2020.
“We are actively promoting our new products, and efforts are being undertaken to educate [the] travel trade of the wide geographical extent of South Africa and unique tourism products in our less visited provinces,” she said.
“The growth in total spend and the average length of stay signifies that Indians travelling to South Africa are staying longer, as well as exploring and experiencing more activities than ever before. This is a positive indicator of the potential growth in the market and gives us the confidence to continue introducing new regions and experiences,” Kubayi-Ngubane said.
With the aim to further stimulate travel and tourism from India, she indicated that the piloting of e-visas for the Indian market was under serious consideration and would be initiated soon.
“As government, we recognise the need for solution-driven policy approaches to address impediments to access our destination for business, leisure, [and] education, among others. We are in the advanced stages of testing and implementing interventions to liberalise our visa regulation to unlock the full potential of arrivals from India. The introduction of various visa options, including electronic visas and waivers, will indeed improve ease of travel,” she said.
She also acknowledged that air connectivity was a key driver for outbound travel for business tourism from India, and said there was a commitment to resume the Mumbai-Johannesburg direct route.
“I am convinced that the delegation of government and trade has through this engagement impressed upon key decision makers to continue considering and making South Africa a tourism, business, and investment destination of choice,” Kubayi-Ngubane said.
African News Agency (ANA), editing by Jacques Keet