Pretoria — Tourism Minister Derek Hanekom has condemned the recent spate of violence that erupted in Tshwane and in Johannesburg directed at foreign nationals.
“… This despicable behaviour does not represent the sentiments of the vast majority of our people, who appreciate that the people of Africa are bound together by common origins and common values of humanity,” he said.
Minister Hanekom was speaking at the Meetings Africa 2017 conference currently underway in Johannesburg.
Minister Hanekom said South Africa will always welcome people from all over the world.
The Minister said tourism plays a big part in eradicating prejudice and bringing people together.
He said tourism is experiencing healthy growth in the country and that international tourist arrivals broke through the 10 million mark last year.
“Tourism is a significant economic sector around the world, and it now comprises 30% of all global service exports
“About 1.2 billion international tourists travelled the world in 2016, and this trend is likely to continue in the years to come. If we work together and package our unique African offer more effectively, we could get a very significant share of these travellers to visit our shores.”
In the 2017 Budget Speech delivered on 22 Febraury, Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan announced that the Department of Tourism has been allocated an additional R494 million to promote tourism over the next three years.
“We will use this money wisely and effectively to promote tourism in a way that achieves inclusive, transformative growth,” Minister Hanekom said.
Meetings Africa is an important event in South Africa’s tourism calendar. It is driven by a determination to raise the volumes for business and leisure tourism on our continent.
Meetings Africa is South Africa’s premier business tourism event. It mirrors the success and achievement of the tourism industry in 2016.