South Africa is launching ambitious plans to open up the country as one of the world’s top holiday destinations.
Last Wednesday in parliament, the country’s Minister for Tourism Marthinus van Schalkwyk, detailed his government’s plans to more than double the number of foreign visitors to the country over the next eleven years.
Van Schalkwyk, while presenting the budget for his department, lauded it and the country’s tourism industry for the good work it had done so far to promote new and shared growth.
“By 2020, we aim to boost the number of tourists coming to South Africa to 15 million a year, double the 7 million arrivals we had in 2009,” he said in his speech.
“We also aim to increase the contribution of tourism to the economy, from R189 billion last year to R499 billion in 2020, while creating 225,000 new jobs by that time as well,” the minister added.
Van Schalkwyk told politicians that the tourism sectors’ ambitious plans represent a total commitment to policy formulation and intelligent planning, and have already been approved by the cabinet.
Enhanced visitor experiences, sustainability and good governance in tourism will be the focus of the strategy, Van Schalkwyk explained.
The strategy is important, Van Schalkwyk says, as the country’s economy needs to be prepared for pitfalls including growing oil prices, economic downturns and the volatility of international currencies.
“We are balancing our country’s economic portfolio,” Van Schalkwyk continued, “and so we are planning to expand in all departments of tourism, including leisure, business and events.”
South Africa is already one of the most important tourist destinations in the world and has much to offer.
With the country being home to eight World Heritage Sites and one of the world’s most popular safari destinations, not to mention the fact it offers some of the best surf and beaches on the planet, there’s every reason to think more people may want to come.