Africa offers a world of opportunity

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Tourism Minister Derek Hanekom says travel and tourism is the fastest growing sector in the world, out-performing other sectors of the global economy.

“Tourism already contributes about 8% to Africa’s Gross Domestic Product and employs 6.5% of the workforce,” Minister Hanekom said.

Speaking at Africa’s Travel Indaba currently underway in Durban, Minister Hanekom said Africa is open for business and offers a world of opportunity.

“A record 62 million people visited Africa in 2017, representing nothing less than 8% year on year growth. This is why we were able to offer 62 million visitors the opportunity to discover the soul of the real Africa, not the false picture sometimes portrayed on news bulletins.

“In Africa, we know how to welcome visitors with warmth and with our own unique flair, and we know how to host them professionally in our own way. We can guarantee a life-changing experience,” Minister Hanekom said.

He said Africa has unique attractions to share and stories to tell, stories of common origins and of early African civilisations.

“We have experiences to offer of sacred sites, of natural wonders, beautiful landscapes, spectacular mountains, wide open deserts, exquisite coastlines of heritage and culture of music and dance and astonishing artistic creativity.

“Together with much visited sites like Mozambique’s Ibo Island and the Slave Market in Stonetown, Zanzibar, these places portray the triumph of the human spirit, and, in the same way as Auschwitz, serve to renew our commitment to never allow the atrocities of history to be repeated,” the Minister said.

Minister Hanekom said these sites become better known around the world, they find their way onto the bucket lists of tourists as iconic attractions, and they become included in itineraries that connect countries, attractions and people.

“And we are of course also proud of our own Kruger National Park and the many other national parks we have in our country.

“Our visitors invariably become our brand ambassadors as they return home with a deeper understanding of Africa’s stories, and they spread the magic of Africa,” the Minister said.

Minister Hanekom emphasised the need to continuously enhance and expand attractions and the need for constant training to professionalise services and to market attractions in the most effective way.

“We need to work together to ensure ease of travel. All this in turn creates the right climate and opportunities for investment which will lead to greater growth,” the Minister said.

More than 7 000 people from 80 countries are attending Africa’s Travel Indaba.

Durban last year won the bid to host the Indaba for five more years, cementing the city’s place as South Africa’s tourism playground.

Previously known as Tourism Indaba, the event is one of the largest tourism marketing events on the African continent.

There are 21 African countries participating at the Indaba. –

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