Tourism figures growing, says Van Schalkwyk

The number of foreign visitors to South Africa grew by just under 9% last year, Minister of Environmental Affairs and Tourism Marthinus van Schalkwyk said on Tuesday.

“I am pleased to announce that the overall foreign arrivals increased by 8,6% from January to November 2007,” he told a business tourism conference in Sandton.

He said the growth in African air markets was led by healthy increases out of Kenya at 15,4%, and Nigeria at 14,8%.

Arrivals from the Americas had shown consistent growth since 2002, and now stood at 255 822, making this region the second largest source market for South Africa.

Arrivals out of Europe were up by 2,6%, driven largely by the significant increase of 9,6% out of France.

“We believe that this is due to the turnaround strategy implemented in this market,” Van Schalkwyk said.

“However, air capacity issues may inhibit further growth.”

Growth out of Asia was led by expansion in India at 19,1% and China at 11,8%.—Sapa

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