SOUTH African Tourism has set its sights on the Arabian market as part of strategies to fast-track the sector’s recovery. It will participate in the Arabian Travel Market (ATM), to be held at the Dubai World Trade Centre from May 1 to 4. ATM, now in its 30th year, brings together global tourism decision-makers, industry experts and thought leaders to unlock the sector’s potential.
Zinhle Nzama, the Acting Chief Convention Bureau Officer at SA Tourism, believes South Africa’s presence at the ATM marks a significant milestone in South Africa’s journey towards economic revival and tourism
rebound.“Participating at this trade show is a great opportunity that cannot be
missed,” Nzama said.
“It was critical for us to return to ATM again because last year was a huge success for the exhibitors that attended, and ultimately a big win for South Africa’s tourism sector.” Last year, the South African delegation came back with over 37 leads, most of which were converted into business.
As part of ATM last year, SA Tourism entered into a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Emirates Airlines which has, among others, seen the airline flying 49 weekly flights into South Africa. These numbers are at pre-pandemic levels.
This year, South African Tourism is taking 19 exhibitors to ATM, including 14 products and experiences and five SMMEs. “Our exhibitors are carefully selected to ensure that they specifically meet the needs and preferences of the Middle Eastern travellers looking to come and explore South Africa,” Nzama added.
Tourism is a vital part of the South African Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan.SA Tourism has set a target of 21 million arrivals by 2030 as per the National Development Plan’s (NDP) injunction In 2022, tourism contributed 3,7 percent towards South Africa’s GDP, surpassing agriculture, utilities and construction contributions.
South Africa attracted 5,7 million incoming international visitors between January and December 2022.
From the Middle East, Israel was the most significant source market, with 17 427 visitors, followed by Saudi Arabia with 11 464 and the United Arab Emirates with 3 100. Other countries in the region contributed a healthy 8 637 visitors. As per the 2021 employment statistics, the travel and tourism sector in South Africa employed nearly 1,08 million people.