Cape Town – While one particular US lawyer considers South Africa a failed and lawless country, the number of tourists visiting reflects a different opinion.
The lawyer, Alan Dershowitz, raised this opinion during a Piers Morgan show on CNN about the current Oscar Pistorius trial – with both Morgan and South African legal analyst Kelly Phelp taking him on regarding the sweeping statement. Watch Piers Morgan call Soweto one of the most inspiring places in the world in response.
Gov.org.za reports acting Government Communications CEO Phumla Williams says South Africa is a better place to live in and remains a destination of choice. “In 1993, South Africa received a mere three million foreign visitors. By 2012, the figure had grown to 13 million visitors,” said Williams.
The second quarter of 2013 saw just over 2.1 million tourist arrivals to South Africa, an increase of 1.5%, compared to the same period in 2012.
As South Africa celebrates 20 years of freedom and democracy, Williams said the country had reached many milestones that were indicative of a stable, maturing democracy.
Williams also raised the issue of sexual exploitation of children in the travel and tourism sector by higlighting a report produced by the international organisation – End Child Prostitution, Child Pornography and Trafficking of Children – which was released at one of the world’s leading travel trade shows, ITB, currently underway in Berlin, Germany.
It highlighted the successful arrests and prosecutions made in reported incidents and Williams said Government would not allow these criminals to deter the country’s progression.
South Africa’s Minister of Tourism, Marthinus van Schalkwyk is also attending ITB, to share South Africa’s tourism industry’s success story with the German travel trade.
“Since 1994 German arrivals to South Africa have grown from a total of 105 000 in 1994 to over 266 000 tourists in 2012, representing a growth of 153% in less than 20 years. Importantly in 2012 we recorded more German tourists to South Africa than ever before,” Van Schalkwyk said.
Germany remains a very important market in terms of overseas arrivals for South Africa, tourist arrivals reached an all-time high of 266 333 tourists, showing a 13% growth on the 2011 figures the Minister said.
“This also far exceeds the 6.2% average growth for Europe. Germany is our third largest source of overseas tourists. It’s been an incredible journey in which South Africa has emerged from a wildlife destination, serving primarily a domestic market, to one of the most visible, exciting, culturally diverse and varied global tourist destinations in the world today,” said Van Schalkwyk.
In total, nearly 50 companies are represented on the South African Tourism stand at this year’s ITB event.