CAPE TOWN, Oct. 24 (Xinhua) -- South Africa called on BRICS countries to make joint efforts to achieve a sustainable recovery in the tourism industry during a high-level meeting held on Tuesday in Cape Town, the country's legislative capital.
"It is an opportunity for BRICS members to reach a consensus on key policy priorities for a more just and sustainable tourism recovery," said South African Tourism Minister Patricia de Lille during the opening session of the BRICS Tourism Ministers Meeting. The meeting, themed "Sustainable and Inclusive Tourism Recovery," is scheduled to run until Thursday.
BRICS is the acronym for an emerging-market cooperative mechanism that includes Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. During the group's summit held in August in South Africa, BRICS leaders agreed to invite six countries, namely Argentina, Egypt, Ethiopia, Iran, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates to join the group. Their full membership will take effect on Jan. 1, 2024.
In her speech, De Lille noted that in the declaration of the BRICS summit held in August, BRICS heads of state acknowledged the urgent need for recovery in the tourism industry and the importance of increasing mutual tourist flows.
"We are here today to agree on a way forward and an action plan," De Lille said. "This is reason enough for BRICS tourism ministers and countries to come together and collaborate to grow our sectors and economies."
Citing the United Nations World Tourism Organization, De Lille said that international arrivals could reach 80 to 95 percent of pre-pandemic levels in 2023.
"This recovery provides an opportunity to implement transformational shifts as the travel and tourism sector creates a more resilient and inclusive future," she said.
The South African tourism minister also called on BRICS members to align tourism strategies with the six lines of action, which include public health, social inclusion, biodiversity conservation, combating climate change, ensuring a circular economy that empowers all, and a commitment to fair and transparent governance and finance.
"Our collective recovery of tourism must be measured beyond economic impacts," she stressed. "A fairer development model is called for."