Cape Town - President Jacob Zuma has taken the promotion of the growing South African tourism industry to new heights by signing the "Golden Book", a joint campaign by global pacesetters in that sector.
Zuma became the first African Head of State to make any entry into the book, which is a joint campaign led by UN World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) and the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC).
Among those who attended the signing ceremony were WTTC President David Scowsill, UNWTO Ethics Committee President Dawid de Villiers and Tourism Minister Marthinus van Schalkwyk.
The event, which took place in Tuynhuys, happened on the sidelines of the ongoing World Economic Forum on Africa conference being held at the Cape Town International Convention Centre.
"We take tourism very seriously in this country, given its job creation potential. That is why we have identified tourism as one of the six job drivers in our New Growth Path framework.
"Tourism's contribution to the GDP of our economy has increased from just less than five percent in 1994 to an estimated 7.7 percent in 2010," Zuma said during the press conference.
He said the booming tourism sector was set to address unemployment "especially given its labour intensive nature."
The President said tourism jobs were not only created in the travel and tourism industry alone, but also in the manufacturing, financial services, agriculture, healthcare among many others areas of the economy.
South Africa aims to increase the number of foreign arrivals from 7 million in 2009 to 15 million by 2020.
"We plan to increase tourism's total contribution to the economy from R189 billion in 2009 to R499 billion by 2020.
"Most importantly, we want to create 325 000 new tourism jobs by 2020. We will do everything possible to promote and grow the tourism sector so that we can achieve these developmental goals," he said.