South Africa’s Tourism Industry Bounces Back Stronger Than Ever After Covid-19
Patricia de Lille announced that tourism in South Africa is rebounding after being adversely affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. At the World Travel Market (WTM) Africa at the Cape Town International Convention Centre, the minister highlighted that between January and December 2022, 5.7 million tourists visited South Africa, a significant increase of 152% compared to the same period in 2021. Furthermore, de Lille commended the tourism sector for contributing to South Africa’s Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan, which promotes equitable and inclusive growth.
According to Berea Mail, the Tourism Sector Recovery Plan, approved by Cabinet in March 2021, sets out a blueprint for strategically restoring the economy to pre-pandemic levels. Rejuvenating and protecting supply, re-igniting demand, and strengthening enabling capability for long-term sustainability are among the interventions required.
De Lille mentioned that air access is a crucial area that needs attention to meet domestic and international demand. She stated that airlift to and from South Africa is witnessing continuous recovery. The country has welcomed several direct flights from significant source markets, including United Airlines’ direct flight to Newark in the United States from Cape Town. In addition, the LATAM Airlines Group plans to resume a non-stop flight between OR Tambo International Airport and São Paulo International Airport, Brazil, suspended three years ago.
Also read: South African Tourism Board Drops the Axe on R1bn Sponsorship Deal with Spurs
The Department of Tourism has supported 30 small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to attend the WTM Africa and showcase their offerings and products. Of the 30 SMEs, 25 are majority black-owned, 16 are women-owned, and the youth runs two businesses. Half of these enterprises are tour operators, and the remainder is accommodation service providers. In addition, the department has sponsored 577 attendees to attend local travel trade shows for several years and 410 beneficiaries to participate in international trade platforms, which has resulted in an estimated R265m in foreign exchange earnings from the R35m in government spending on these platforms. Furthermore, government support has created 1,000 permanent jobs for SMEs.
De Lille encouraged participants at the WTM Africa to seize the opportunities now that industries are open for business following Covid-19-induced lockdowns. She urged attendees to broaden their horizons, increase travel, trade, investment, and jobs, and increase the economic contribution of tourism to all economies.
Picture: Twitter / thejaxblog