Attracting more Indian tourists

2013-02-26 00:00

SOUTH Africa, especially KwaZulu-Natal, could be a gateway to the lucrative Indian tourism market which will have tangible benefits for the Southern African Development Community and the island nations around the Indian Ocean, government leaders said yesterday.

In an interview with The Witness at the opening of the Travel Agents Federation of India convention 2013 at the Inkosi Albert Luthuli Convention Centre, MEC of economic development and tourism, Mike Mabuyakhulu, said India was a subcontinent on its own, with a population of about 1,2 billion people, and was an emerging economy growing at six to seven percent with a rising middle and upper middle class consisting of between 16 and 17 million people.

The event also precedes the Brics (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) Summit set to also take place at the Inkosi Albert Luthuli Convention Centre in March.

He said government would ensure that the market was open for creative and innovative businesses in the industry to take part in business-to-business engagements to understand what the market wants and needs. “Our job is to open up the market, and businesses will have to do it for themselves.

“It has potential to produce about 50 million tourists for the year 2025, and along with China it will become the biggest economy in the world in terms of gross domestic product and consumer spending. We want to be the early bird that catches the worm.”

In his key note address to more than 1 000 delegates from the Indian tourism industry, Tourism Minister Martinus van Schalkwyk said the industry could attract more than 100 000 tourists a year from India by 2014.

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