Durban - South Africa joining the BRICS coalition will impact positively on the local tourism industry, says South African Tourism's Chief Marketing Manager, Roshene Singh.
The recent move underlines the country's growing international role and status, said Singh ahead of the Tourism Indaba 2011, which kicks off on 7 May.
"The potential of the BRICS coalition to drive foreign direct investment and infrastructural development are key benefits that will undoubtedly have a positive impact on the tourism industry locally, as will the increase in awareness of the growing global importance of our country," said Singh.
According to SA Tourism, the BRIC countries show great potential to drive growth in arrivals to the country.
The number of outbound tourists from BRIC markets in 2010 was more than 5.4 million from Brazil (5 497 000), more than 35 million from Russia (35 513 000), more than 12 million from India (12 497 000) and more than 31 million from China (31 664 000).
"China, India and Brazil have been on our market list for some time now, and their growing importance in terms of arrivals growth has been clearly demonstrated throughout 2010," said Singh.
After experiencing exceptional growth in the African market, SA Tourism and will continue to focus on drawing tourists from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Nigeria and Angola.
SA Tourism has also set its sights on entering the Middle East and Latin America.
Singh added, "We cannot discount the important role played by our traditional core markets in Europe, North America and Australia, which showed consistent growth over the 2010 period as well."
Total expenditure in South Africa by tourists who came specifically for the World Cup was more than R3.6 billion. Tourists from Europe contributed almost 25 percent (R954 million) to this figure.
The overall average spend per tourist was R11 800, which is notably higher than the annual average spend in South Africa in 2008 (R8 400) and 2009 (R9 500).
SA Tourism said more than 30 percent of the spend was on shopping, followed by 20 percent on accommodation, 19 percent on food and drink, 16 percent on leisure and 11 percent on transport.
In 2009, international tourists spent R79.4 billion and domestic tourists spent R22.4 billion.
President Jacob Zuma identified tourism as one of the sectors that will assist in creating employment and the recently unveiled National Tourism Sector Strategy (NTSS) presented by the National Department of Tourism will be a key focus for the Indaba.
"Most importantly, the NTSS' vision to amplify job creation opportunities within the tourism sector remains a key priority for SA Tourism and will be driven through Indaba tactics such as the Eteya and Welcome Awards and the GMFO," said Singh.
Tourism employs about 530 000 South Africans in permanent jobs.
"Tourism encompasses many different sectors of the economy, so it can be a major driver of job creation. For every 16 tourists that arrive in South Africa, one job is created," said Singh.