SA tourism increases in 2012

A total of 7,535,498 tourists arrived in the country during the period, compared to 6,823,517 in 2011, the ministry said in a statement.

Tourism Minister Marthinus van Schalkwyk said he was happy with the continuing interest shown in South Africa.

"Positive growth from the traditional markets in general and Europe in particular gives us confidence that the work we are doing to grow tourist arrivals is paying dividends," Van Schalkwyk said.

"South Africa has every reason to feel confident about the state of its tourism industry going forward."

There was a 12.2% increase in German tourists to South Africa last year. Van Schalkwyk said the German market was important for South Africa and that the growth of arrivals from the country needed to be maintained.

He said tourism was a economic growth engine for the country and had been identified as one of the priority sectors to achieve economic growth and attract investment. Tourism attracts foreign direct spend and created jobs.

A number of targets had been set which included:

attracting 15 million tourists by 2020;to increase the share of tourism in gross domestic product from R189.4 billion in 2009 to R499bn in 2020,and to create more than 225,000 new jobs in the sector.

SA - the Good News via SAPA