More airlift travel, more tourism economy growth: De Lille

More airlift travel, more tourism economy growth: De Lille

Air China’s Flight 867 from Beijing-Shenzhen-Johannesburg is set to arrive at OR Tambo on Wednesday. This flight marks a significant milestone as the first flight for group tours since the pandemic started in 2020, which is of great importance to Chinese arrivals to South Africa as China is the most promising source market for South Africa.

Just before the pandemic, South Africa received nearly 100,000 visitors from China and according to the Minister of Tourism, Patricia De Lille, it is possible to push the number to 1,000,000 by 2030. To make it a reality the minister in her three weeks in office, as already started working with stakeholders to ensure pick in the numbers of air travel.

 “If we reach this target, more than R100billion in Chinese tourism spend could be generated over a five-year period and this could reduce unemployment significantly, and the impact on the economy of South Africa will be positive and sustainable. I will be working hard with our key stakeholders to remove key barriers such as airlift, visa and safety.” said Minister De Lille.

The minister was speaking during the media launch of the Africa Travel Indaba at the Durban ICC in KwaZulu-Natal on Tuesday. Africa’s Travel Indaba is an iconic African leisure trade show, owned by South African Tourism, with the specific objective of creating market access for our vast array of African leisure tourism Products. This 3-day trade show ispreceded by a dedicated Business Opportunity Networking Day (BONDay) which seeks to create a platform for thought-leadership, knowledge sharing and obtaining the latest in global trends and local insights. The BONDay programme is developed in close collaboration with the global tourism organisations, continental experts as well as industry associations.

The trade show exists to provide the ideal platform for African tourism exhibitors to showcase their offerings to international and local buyers, destination marketing companies and leisure tourism services partners. It is the most formidable platform on the continent for you to meet face-to-face with the most influential buyers in the world, and to gain access to Africa’s excellence and its endless possibilities. These are the business opportunities and quality connections that will shape Africa’s tomorrow.

“We are also expecting the LATAM flight from Brazil to OR Tambo International Airport which will also present a boost to the tourism sector and travel of Brazilian tourists to South Africa. With the new route, customers will be able to travel between Johannesburg and Brazil in 9 hours on one of the three direct weekly flights to be carried out on Boeing 787-9 aircraft, which accommodates 300 passengers.

Last year, South African Airways, expanded to various markets across the African continent and caused a major success for the country. According to the minister, such flights contribute to boosting the country’s attractiveness and will contribute to the return to pre-COVID-19 performance levels and beyond.

“I am very thrilled to see that there is indeed collaboration with our airline stakeholders as this is a major part of tourism recovery and beyond. Making trade and travel seamless across our continent and the various other markets is an absolutely crucial component of economic growth.

South Africa will be hosting the BRICS summit and this also forecasts a great potential for travel to Africa by tourists from BRICS countries. The minister referred to South Africa as a gateway to travel for Africa for visitors from BRICS countries. She will convene a SADC Ministerial Dialogue at the Travel Indaba in Durban in May 2023 and regards it an opportune time to showcase South Africa’s tourism offering and how SADC countries can work together.