Leslie Graham, Unravel Travel TV
At the World Travel Market (WTM) London 2023, South Africa’s Minister of Tourism, Patricia De Lille, led a significant delegation to promote and strengthen the country’s tourism industry. The delegation, consisting of 27 exhibitors, highlighted South Africa’s diverse tourism offerings and aimed to foster partnerships crucial for the sector’s recovery and growth. De Lille emphasized the importance of evolving to meet travelers’ needs and the role of public-private partnerships in achieving this goal.
Minister De Lille’s participation at the WTM Ministerial Summit, alongside 40 other tourism ministers, focused on the criticality of education in tourism. Her remarks stressed the mismatch between the skills taught at the moment and the sector’s future needs, advocating for collaborative efforts between the public and private sectors to bridge this gap.
The Minister also highlighted the Department of Tourism’s significant investment in skills and training programs for South African youth, preparing them for careers in tourism. This initiative aligns with her vision for a skilled workforce supporting the sector’s evolution.
A notable development was the impending signing of an Action Plan with Brazil’s Tourism Minister, Celso Sabino, to enhance tourism between South Africa and Brazil. This plan gains momentum from the recent relaunch of direct flights between Cape Town, Johannesburg, and Brazil.
South Africa’s tourism sector has seen a remarkable recovery, with a significant rise in tourist arrivals from various regions. The country welcomed over 6.1 million visitors from January to September 2023, a substantial increase from the previous year. This growth is evident across all markets, with notable surges in arrivals from Africa, Europe, Asia, China, and India.
The country’s tourism appeal has been globally recognized, evidenced by awards such as the ‘Luxury Tourist Board of the Year’ at the Aspire Awards 2023 and being voted the “Best Country in the World” at the Telegraph Travel Awards.
Despite these accolades, Minister De Lille urged continued efforts to position South Africa as a top global destination, highlighting the country’s safety initiatives and affordability. She invited the world to experience South Africa’s summer season, reinforcing the nation’s commitment to being a welcoming and diverse destination.
South African Tourism website: www.southafrica.net
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