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South Africa sets sights on China's tourism market

2012-07-16 15:00     Web Editor: Li Jing comment

When compared with the other BRICS nations, South Africa is by far the smallest in economic output. But the country's membership in BRICS underlines South Africa's growing international role and status, and is having a positive impact on the local economy, including the tourism sector. The number of Chinese tourists visiting South Africa is also increasing year on year.

The natural diversity of South Africa means that visitors can pursue an array of activities, including diving, hiking, cycling, surfing, sailing and hunting. But according to Brett Hope, chief executive officer of Sun City, the unique selling point of South Africa's tourism is the possibility of experiencing two extremes within one trip:

"I think that the most important thing is that we offer a huge diversity of experiences. You can come across very cosmopolitan city like Cape Town to the middle of the bush very easily; we have, much to people's surprise, very developed infrastructure. So those two things and the combine of sites people can feasibly see in South Africa within one trip: you can see from the desert to the sea, from a small seaside town to big metropolitan city like Johannesburg, which makes a wonderful trip."

According to South Africa's Tourism Bureau, South Africa's BRICS partners show great potential to drive tourism growth in the country. In 2011 alone, South Africa saw the arrival of over 8.3 million tourists, an increase of 3.3 percent compared with 2010. And Chinese travelers to South Africa rose 24 percent.

Bradley Brouwer, the general manager for the Asia Pacific Region with South Africa' Tourism Bureau, says he believes that traveler growth from China will be consistent:

"I believe that South Africa has firm interest in China: Many of our market activities focus on China. Definitely I can see a great potential in the Asian market, specifically in China. The proof is our people, our wonderful food, our wine, our friendliness and our hosting capability… "

The South African embassy in China has eased the visa application process and all visas are delivered within five workdays.

The official says tourism encompasses many different sectors of the economy and can be a major force for job creation. He believes that there will be more tourists coming from China to South Africa as the links between the two nations are becoming ever closer.

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