THE SOUTH AFRICAN Tourism Minister Mr Marthinus van Schalkwyk, accompanied by Nigeria’s Tourism, Culture and National Orientation Minister, Chief Edem Duke, today officially opened the very first South African Tourism marketing office on the African continent in Lagos, Nigeria.
Addressing the West African travel trade and guests in attendance, Minister Van Schalkwyk said that South African Tourism’s new home in Lagos serves to confirm South Africa’s support for increased economic cooperation between the southern African and western African regions.
“As a nation, we see the special and longstanding relationship between Nigeria and South Africa as pivotal towards maintaining an Africa that is economically vibrant and resilient and an Africa that grows through partnerships between nations,” said Minister van Schalkwyk.
“Key to creating economic vibrancy and resilience is working together to develop industries that have the potential to contribute meaningfully to our GDPs and to job creation on the continent. Tourism is certainly one such industry. Investing in our tourism network on the continent is not only indicative of our commitment to African co-operation, but it also makes good business sense,”Minister van Schalkwyk continued.
“We’ve experienced positive growth figures out of West Africa; a total of 73,282 Nigerian tourists visited South Africa last year marking a 13.8% increase from 2011. At the end of June 2013, Nigerian tourist arrivals had continued to grow on a strong trajectory with 15.9% during the first six months of this year.
“Likewise, tourist arrivals from Ghana to South Africa grew by 23.8% in 2012, when South Africa welcomed 22,953 Ghanaian tourists. Up to end June 2013, arrivals from Ghana were growing at 27.3%, to 13, 663 tourist arrivals for the six-month period. The steady growth in both markets makes this region very valuable to us,” Minister van Schalkwyk said.
The Nigeria office opening comes on the heels of South African Tourism having officially extended an invitation to the rest of Africa to showcase the continent by exhibiting at the annual Tourism INDABA held in Durban in May every year. South African Tourism has also invited more than 500 hosted buyers to INDABA 2014; offering exhibitors the opportunity to promote their destination at the heart of Africa’s biggest, most established and best-attended travel trade exhibition.
In addition, an announcement at the end of last year, of collaboration between INDABA and the bespoke We Are Africa tradeshow (that takes place days before INDABA) exponentially increases the exposure to top-quality buyers for exhibitors at both travel trade shows.