South Africa, which has suffered a dent on its image over the last two weeks due to Xenophobic attacks on foreigners, plans to grow its tourism revenue to $41 billion by 2020 by attracting 15 million visitors each year, the country’s Tourism Minister told BloombergTV Africa.
The government has set a target of 500 billion rand ($41 billion) by 2020, up from 252 billion rand ($20 billion) in 2011, as it plans to nearly double the number of foreign tourists visiting the “Rainbow Nation”.
Derek Hanekom, South Africa’s Tourism Minister, told BloombergTV Africa in an interview that the sector was likely to outperform other sectors of the economy that have posted dismal performance as due to lethargic labor unrest and a recent electricity crisis caused by an aging power grid.
“A general slowdown in the growth rate does not necessarily mean tourism will be slowing down accordingly. But it does mean that there will be an impact on tourism because it is a combination of both domestic tourism and international arrivals,” Hanekom said.
“In the two decades that have passed we have consistently outperformed other sectors simply because we have such a magnificent offer.”
Tourism, which supports one in 12 jobs in South Africa, is seen creating 225,000 new jobs in a country plagued by 25 percent unemployment. The sector has benefited from a weaker local currency that has made it cheaper for visitors, mostly from Europe, to come and soak up the African sun.