Tourism Ministry & BARSA commit to increase air access in and out of SA

Tourism Ministry & BARSA commit to increase air access in and out of SA

Newly appointed Minister of Tourism, Patricia De Lille has committed to working with Board of Airline Representatives of South Africa (BARSA) and to find new ways and means to increase air access in and out of South Africa. The minister addressed the Barsa Vulindlela Aviation 2023 Summit on her first week in office in Cape Town on Friday.

“Tourism is a major sector for our country and we have much more to offer the world. We can do a lot more to reach our full potential and create many more jobs for our people. I understand the importance of this sector that must bring more people into our country.” said De Lille.

The Board of Airline Representatives of South Africa (BARSA) represents the interests of its international, regional and local member airlines and ground handlers to government, airport operators and stakeholders in the airline industry. The aim of the board is to facilitate and further develop a safe, efficient and viable aviation industry in South Africa. BARSA provides a single concerted voice on policy and other matters in relation to government and other stakeholders in transport, business and tourism.

The two day BARSA Summit brought together high-level policy makers, captains of industry, thought-leadership and key stakeholders from across aviation and tourism, with the aim to create a clear path into the future of aviation and to celebrate the awakening of the airline industry.

Summit delegates represent domestic and international airline operators, air transport regulatory authorities, airport operators, aviation service providers, aviation and tourism associations, tourism marketing agencies, government departments and agencies, and research institutions.

During her speech Minister De Lille highlighted that people of South Africa are the country’s best Tourism assets with their friendliness.

“I have always said that our best asset is our people and I have heard this from people all over the world, that South Africans are some of the friendliest people. I have just started in this new portfolio so I am grateful for the opportunity to introduce myself to industry representatives here today.” the Minister said.

Despite the covid19 blow between 2019 and 2021, the number of arrivals increased by 152.6% from January to December 2021, making it about 5.7million in total.

“Ladies and gentlemen we are making a great recovery after the devastating blow that was COVID 19, we now have to work and push even harder to get our numbers to higher heights. It is encouraging to see that the biggest number of arrivals was from Africa with an increase compared to 2021.” she said.

Minister De Lille says tourism has always been one of her passions and that she is glad to be born in South Africa as it is full of natural diversity.

 “We are blessed with a good climate, beautiful scenery, beautiful beaches, ranges and mountains and diverse cultures and people and some of the best food and restaurants in the world. It is an absolute blessing to be born in this beautiful country.”

“South Africa is open for business, it is one of the world’s most picturesque playgrounds, it is a melting pot of cultures and people and it is the place to be.” the Minister said.