South Africa is expecting more tourists from China, thanks to the close bilateral ties between the two nations and China's fast developing economy, a South African government organ has said.
"The close bilateral relations between China and South Africa and the increasing business, cultural and political exchanges between the two countries assist it in attracting visitors," Thulani Nzima, chief executive officer of South African Tourism, said ahead of the tourism show INDABA 2013 to be held in South African port city of Durban from May 11 to 14.
"We expect an increase from China because of the non-stop flight between Johannesburg and Beijing launched by South African Airways in January, 2012, which has made travel to South Africa more convenient and appealing," Thulani Nzima said.
"The fast-developing Chinese economy enables more Chinese tourists to choose outbound travel," he said.
Data showed that Chinese tourists traveling to South Africa have been increasing over the years. In 2009 there were over 45, 000 Chinese tourists; in 2010 the number rose to more than 68,000; 2011 saw an increase to near 85,000. Last year witnessed a 55.9 percent increase to more than 132,000 of arrivals from China.
According to the South African Tourism, INDABA is one of the largest tourism marketing events on the African continent and also one of the top three "must visit" events of its kind on the global tourism exhibitions. More than 3,000 local and international visitors and over 1,300 exhibitors from South Africa and other African countries will be attending the event.
"We will use this excellent global marketing platform to maintain South Africa's position as a highly desirable, attractive, accessible and excellent value for holiday destination for the world's travelers," the CEO said.
"South African Tourism is hosting Chinese tour operators and media at INDABA, we expect more Chinese guests to attend the show this year," he said.
South African Tourism also expects some increase from other parts of the world.
On Thursday South Africa's Minister of Tourism Marthinus Van Schalkwyk said that emerging markets have a potential to provide volumes of visitors to South Africa because of their fast developing economy.
In April South Africa's President Jacob Zuma said that over 9 million international tourists visited South Africa in 2012.