S. African tourism eyes Chinese tourists for recovery: official

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South Africa is eyeing the populous country China to revive its tourism and economic recovery, said Victor Tharage, Director-General of the National Department of Tourism.

JOHANNESBURG, May 1 (Xinhua) — South Africa is eyeing the populous country China to revive its tourism and economic recovery, said Victor Tharage, Director-General of the National Department of Tourism.

Tharage told Xinhua that the country used to get 100,000 Chinese tourists per annum and that was affected by COVID-19. He expected that the tourist arrival numbers might revert to the pre-COVID-19 level in 2023 or 2024.

“As part of the recovery plan for tourism, China is the key market. We are more than ready for Chinese tourists. We have taken some tour guides to China for acclimatization and to learn the culture so that they serve the clientele a lot better. We have trained the frontline office employees to be conversant with Chinese language,” he said.

“South African friendship with China will help. We want to reach the pre-COVID numbers and then push for more numbers. We want to improve our capacity and multi-connectivity in terms of our centers in Beijing and places like Shanghai,” Thararge said.

He pointed out that they are fast-tracking the e-visa so that Chinese tourists and other target markets like India and Nigeria would easily visit the country.

In order to attract more international tourists, South Africa has launched a safety program to improve security, Tharage said, adding that the tourism sector has introduced COVID-19 protocols and the country has a recovery rate of over 95 percent.

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