from MTHULISI SIBANDA in Durban
DURBAN, (CAJ News) – THE pace of the recovery of the tourism sector, following recent years of COVID-19, is dependent upon addressing barriers such as xenophobia, immigration regulations and limited direct airlift.
This is according to the South African Minister of Tourism, Lindiwe Sisulu, who officially opened Africa’s Travel Indaba in Durban, on Tuesday.
“Since my appointment as the Minister of Tourism, I have had several engagements with my fellow cabinet members in related departments, in a bid to partner and address these challenges as we together work towards our sectors’ recovery,” she said.
Sisulu has been tourism minister since August 2021.
“We have already seen positive developments around the roll-out of the e-visa regime for some our key source markets. This is not only important for South Africa’s tourism sector recovery, but also for the greater continent’s intra-trade activities,” she added.
“I am committed to continue with these engagements in addressing the barriers that continue to plague our destination and hinder us from becoming and even more appealing destination for more tourist and with that realising much-needed growth,” Sisulu assured.
Africa’s Travel Indaba came as the province of KwaZulu-Natal recovers from the devastation of the recent torrential rains.
More than 430 people died.
“In reflecting on these catastrophes, we must be cognizant that we are experiencing warning signs of climate change, therefore our sector must be part of the united global response to the challenge of reducing carbon emissions,” Sisulu said.
She said responsible tourism had to be the way of the future.
“Practicing tourism that minimises carbon footprints, conserves energy and water, reduces waste and plastic consumption, and ensures that fair benefits accrue to communities and employees, is not just an option – it is vitally important.”
Some 18 African countries are represented at this year’s Indaba.
There are 625 buyers, from various parts of the world.
Some 634 exhibitors from across the continent are showcasing.
The Indaba is returning after COVID-19’s outbreak in 2020 led to postponements.
– CAJ News