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Over 60,000 Chinese tourists visit South Africa in first half of 2012: minister
2012/10/15

JOHANNESBURG, Oct. 14 (Xinhua) -- South African Minister of Tourism Marthinus van Schalkwyk on Sunday commended the trade relations between South Africa and China following a record 60,000 Chinese visiting South Africa in the first half of 2012.

The minister said South Africa's tourism sector has performed exceptionally well in its drive to attract more tourists to the country.

"A total of 60,272 Chinese visitors came to South Africa in the first half of 2012, representing a massive 68 percent growth compared to the first six months of 2011 and overtaking France as the country's fourth-largest overseas source market," Schalkwyk said.

The minister associated the increase to the introduction of the South African Airways' direct flights between the South African largest city of Johannesburg and the Chinese capital of Beijing. The flights started in January this year.

Visitors from other BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) partners also increased. Tourist arrivals from Brazil shot up beyond 68 percent, while Indian visitors increased by 21 percent.

From January to June 2012, South Africa received a total of over 4.4 million tourists, a 10.5 percent increase when compared with over 3.9 million tourists who visited the country during the same period in 2011.

The minister said he is hopeful that the country will continue performing well in the second half of the year despite the United Nations Tourism Organization's prediction of a global slowdown in tourist arrivals.

Tourism is the third largest contributor to job creation in South Africa. In the first quarter of 2012, travel receipts netted 10 billion U.S. dollars.

Domestic tourism recorded positive increases, with 5.5 million domestic trips undertaken in the first quarter of 2012, contributing over 590 million U.S. dollars to the economy in South Africa.

South Africa prides itself on a number of tourist attractions, ranging from wildlife, beaches, coastal landscapes, lakes to historical cultural heritages.

Editor: yan
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