Air travel ‘the ticket for tourism’
By Alan Zale for The New York Times
AVIATION was the key to boosting growth in SA’s tourism industry, Tourism Minister Marthinus van Schalkwyk said yesterday.
A total of 27,6% of all tourists arrived in SA by air, he said in a speech prepared for delivery at his department’s sixth annual tourism conference in Sandton .
“Our key to growth in the tourism industry is aviation. We believe that tourists from air markets could double if we have more flights, the right packaging, the right connectivity, competitive pricing and the right partnership with the aviation industry.”
Van Schalkwyk said there were nine core “air markets”, which accounted for 55% of international tourist arrivals. These were Australia, France, Germany, India, Kenya, Nigeria, Netherlands, the UK and the US .
“What’s interesting is that they spend 61% of the foreign spend in our country.”
Last year, 8,3-million tourists had come to SA . “We have enormous potential to grow our industry as there are over 76-million tourists that have been identified as our potential market.” This was from the nine core air markets alone.
The government’s “airlift strategy” was showing impressive results in terms of attracting tourists . “Between September last year and January this year, rights for almost 1,4-million additional seats per year were secured on the network,” he said. Sap