Development in the tourism sector must be accelerated to diversify South Africa's economy and contribute towards job creation, says Minister in the Presidency Collins Chabane.
South Africa declared 2011 as the year of job creation and has since put in place measures to achieve economic growth and create employment opportunities.
"Tourism is an important driver of both domestic and consumer spending and foreign exchange earnings, underpinned by labour intensive activities and relatively low barriers to entry by entrepreneurs," said the minister in the Presidency Collins Chabane at the KwaZulu-Natal Tourism Activation Excursion event. The New Growth Path sees tourism as an important jobs driver, which is capable of creating large scale employment.
"The target is to create about 225 000 new employment opportunities by 2015," said Chabane. The tourism activation excursion - between South Africa, Swaziland and Mozambique - is one such initiative that is envisaged to stimulate regional integration and boost tourist numbers. The event was attended by the tourism ministers of Swaziland and Mozambique, and KZN's tourism MEC.
It is aimed at increasing tourism arrivals and coordination between the three countries, promoting heritage and celebrating the commonalities between the people of the region.
Last year, South Africa had over one million tourists and 600 000 from Mozambique and Swaziland respectively. He also touched on attacks of foreigners, saying the perpetrators of these acts were criminal elements trying to take advantage of fellow Africans with vulnerable circumstances.
"We condemn such acts in the strongest possible terms and reject any justification for such acts or any suggestion that the South African people are xenophobic."
"We call upon the law enforcement agencies to act decisively and do everything in their power to put these criminal elements behind bars and away from our humble society."