South Africa has zeroed in on India as a crucial market and decided to aggressively promote tourism here.
Announcing this at the INDABA Tourism Fair in Durban, Derek Hanekom, South African Tourism Minister, said that the country played host to more than 80,000 tourists from India in 2015, causing his ministry allocate a considerable portion of its $8 million tourism budget for advertising this year with the intention of attracting more Indian tourists.
Hanekom is quoted as saying to Business Standard that India has a massive potential and their ministry’s test was to see what they needed to do in a bid to make this market grow by luring a large number of Indian tourists.
Indian travellers felt at home in the Rainbow Nation as it has a substantial population of people tracing their origins to India, particularly in Durban.
Citing Mahatma Gandhi’s stay stint in Durban, Hanekom stated that their country too, like India, had people of diverse culture and different religions living together in harmony.
Although this African nation does not have the Taj Mahal, it allows you to see the Big five, which include elephants, lions, buffaloes, leopards and rhinos, in a single safari, said Hanekom.
The tourism sector in Africa had been adversely affected owing to fears of Ebola epidemic striking the West African nations of Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia. However, the market has begun to show signs of recovery now that the epidemic has abated.
Hanekom is also pinning his hopes of an increased number of Indian arrivals to South Africa on the fact that South Africa has eased visa rules on tourists from India.
Many Indians are of the opinion that South Africa is as expensive as European nations, but its currency, Rand, has been weakening allowing more Indians to visit South Africa.
With a lot of vegetarian eateries dishing out Indian fare opening in South Africa, increasing numbers of Indians could make this country their next tourist destination.