JOHANNESBURG, Sept. 27 (Xinhua) -- South Africa's tourism industry continues to grow faster than expected and is close to surpassing the pre-COVID-19 levels, a government official said on Wednesday.
From January to July 2023, a total of 4.8 million international visitors visited the country, which is a 70-percent increase compared to the same period in 2022, said Fish Mahlalela, South Africa's deputy minister of tourism, during the World Tourism Day commemorations in North West Province.
"While this resurgence is undoubtedly encouraging, it's important to note that these figures still lag behind the pre-pandemic levels of 2019 by a 19-percent shortfall. These significant numbers paint a vibrant picture of South Africa's continued allure, an epitome of the global trend steering towards a post-pandemic recovery in travel," said Mahlalela.
Mahlalela noted that South Africa would like to host 21 million visitors by 2030 and called on role players in the tourism sector to invest in green technologies and protect the environment.
"Our vision is clear: to foster a tourism ecosystem where every investment is green, every endeavor nurtures our environment, and every step brings us closer to the Sustainable Development Goals outlined for 2030," Mahlalela said, adding that South Africa is on an aggressive marketing to invite tourists to visit the country.
World Tourism Day is commemorated every year on Sept. 27.