Minister Winde on Announcement of National Tourism Statistics
Following the launch of South Africa's tourist arrival figures for 2012 at an event in Cape Town on Thursday, 25 April 2013, Western Cape Tourism Minister, Alan Winde, issued his congratulations to the province's hospitality sector.
Minister Winde said: "In 2012, the number of international tourists visiting South Africa surpassed the nine million mark. Last year, 9.1 million tourists travelled to the country, up from 8.3 million in 2011. According to these figures, growth of South Africa's tourism sector, at 10.2%, is well ahead of the global average which stands at around 4%. I am confident that the province played a major role in the achievement of this growth and has become a favourite destination for leisure and business tourists."
Speaking on the Western Cape tourism economy, Minister Winde continued: "The Western Cape tourism industry is a major employer and driver of economic growth. In 2011, visitors contributed R18.2 billion to the region's economy. In addition, the industry employs over 150 000 people."
Minister Winde said the Western Cape Government aims to grow the tourism industry's contribution to the region's GDP from 10% to 15% by 2015.
"To expand our reach, the province is investigating the establishment of three direct air routes between Angola, Nigeria and Ghana. We have purposefully selected destinations with high business and leisure tourism opportunities. Through our destination marketing, trade and investment promotion agency, Wesgro, we are also conducting missions to the above three African countries to explore business opportunities for fast-growing industries such as oil and gas, design and ICT," said Minister Winde.
In the year ahead, the Western Cape Government will also focus its efforts on growing tourism to rural areas in the province: "We have and will continue to develop tourism icons outside of the city, including West Coast Tourism products and the creation of a seamless tourist route running through the rural towns between Gordon's Bay and Cape Agulhas, the Southernmost Tip of Africa. We will also increase our collaboration with South African Tourism on marketing campaigns."
Minister Winde added that local tourism landmarks continued to grow each year, with many reporting record highs during the recent peak period. Together, Table Mountain Cableway, Cape Point and Kirstenbosch Gardens welcomed just over 295 000 visitors in December.
"Aside from our attractions, we host some of the country's biggest social and sporting events. The Cape Argus Pick 'n Pay Cycle Tour, the Cape Epic, the Design Indaba and the Cape Town Jazz Festival draw thousands of visitors between February and March."
Spokesperson for Minister Winde
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