The Minister of Tourism Marthinus van Schalkwyk announced that the G20 of Tourism Ministers will meet from 22 – 24 February, when he addressed the National Tourism Conference in Johannesburg last week. The theme of the G20 meeting will be “Travel and Tourism: stimuli for G20 economies”.
Minister van Schalkwyk stated that this country’s tourism industry had better withstood the global economic crisis, compared to such sectors as construction, real estate and car manufacturing. He announced that in 2008 South Africa had received 9,5 million arrivals, a 5,5 % increase compared to the year before. The global tourism growth average has been 2 % for the same period. The 2009 tourism growth may be under pressure, the Minister said, and therefore a co-ordinated international response to the tourism downturn was needed.
The Minister also announced that South Africa has been elected to the executive council of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation. The Organisation recognises the role that tourism plays in creating jobs – 75 million worldwide – and is an important generator of small and medium businesses.
Linked to the G20 meeting of Tourism Ministers, South Africa will also host the United Nations World Tourism Organisation/South Africa Summit on Tourism, Sport and Mega-events, from 24 – 26 February next year, in Sandton. It will help South Africa to plan for the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio : www.whalecottage.com