Monday, January 28, 2013

► SOUTH KOREA: SA Tourism looks to woo Korean Air as South Africa increasingly looks East to bolster its tourism numbers.

Korean AirIn a bid to woo more Asian tourists, South African Tourism, the South African department responsible for marketing the country as a tourist destination, has said it intends to lobby Korean Air (KE) to start flights between Seoul and Johannesburg and Cape Town.

Table Mountain, Cape Town, South Africa
Table Mountain, Cape Town
At a recent SAT Asia Seminar in Cape Town, Bradley Brouwer, the Regional Manager of the Asia Pacific region of South African Tourism, explained that "inbound travel from this Asian market to SA had rocketed during the first seven months of last year but then started to decline."

He attributed the decline in part to Korean Air's decision to launch flights to Nairobi, Kenya in November last year which however, were operating with just 16% loads.

With the global economic and Eurozone crisis still affecting South Africa's traditional tourist sources in Europe and the US, South Africa has had to look East to bolster its tourism numbers. According to SAT's statistics, the number of Asian visitors visiting South Africa over the period JAN12-JUL12 rose 37.5% on the same period for 2011.

During a recent trip to China, South African Tourism Minister, Marthinus van Schalkwyk, noted that between January and September 2012, 96'747 Chinese tourists had travelled to South Africa, up from the 59,187 over the same period in 2011.
Marthinus van Schalkwyk
van Schalkwyk
"In January, 2012, we also saw the introduction of non-stop flights between Johannesburg and Beijing as part of a code share agreement between South African Airways and Air China, providing Chinese tourists with convenient access to South Africa. We are also encouraged by the introduction of two new visa application centres in China, which has also considerably enhanced the tourism attractiveness of South Africa for Chinese travelers. We are confident of continuing our exciting growth in a market set to become one of the world’s most important tourism markets in the future,” Minister van Schalkwyk said.

The major growth in tourist numbers from China is a strong indicator of the strengthening relations between the two countries.