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Published on : Monday, April 17, 2017
Speaking at the SANParks Tourism Investment Summit held in Sandton, Minister Molewa said the tourism sector is not just a major contributor towards the country’s Growth Domestic Product (GDP), but it is also a source of investment and job creation, especially in the rural areas.
“We aim to focus our efforts on harnessing the potential of the sector, not only to increase its contribution to GDP growth, but also to enhance and develop the skills of those working in the tourism industry,” the Minister said.
“It goes without saying that as we move forward, one of the major attraction for tourists is our national parks, nature reserves and marine protected areas,” the Minister added.
In the 2016/17 financial year, six million people visited the 19 parks that are managed by SANParks.
Molewa explained that the NDP calls for emphasis to be placed on increasing the number of tourists entering the country.
Earlier this year, the Department of Tourism said the number of tourists arriving in South Africa every month has shot through the one million mark for the first time since 2009.
In January this year, 1 012 641 tourists arrived in South Africa, 15.4% more than January last year. Month-to-month growth in arrivals began improving prospects for the sector in October last year.
Positive growth was recorded from all regions in January 2016, with arrivals from Asia improving by a staggering 45.6% and overseas markets recording a total growth of 16.2%, compared with arrivals in January 2015.