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S.Africa aims to double foreign tourist numbers: minister

South Africa aims to boost arrivals by foreign tourists to 15 million annually and will target new markets in Asia, Africa and South America, the tourism minister said Wednesday.

“We aim to increase the number of foreign tourist arrivals in South Africa from seven million in 2009 to 15 million by 2020,” Marthinus van Schalkwyk said in his budget speech to lawmakers.

“We will also be fostering new growth by accessing markets unlocked by the World Cup,” he added.

By 2020, the government wants tourism to contribute 499 billion rands ($74 bln, 51 bln euros) up from 189 bln rands in 2009, to create 225,000 new jobs and for domestic tourists to reach 18 million people.

“Our traditional markets in North America and Europe will remain important, particularly in terms of arrivals and spend, and these markets will certainly not be neglected,” Van Schalkwyk said.

“We will also aggressively pursue the long term growth opportunities in amongst others China, India, South America and our own continent,” he noted.