Remarks by Ambassador Malefane at the opening of the South Africa Tourism Seminar in Istanbul, 13 September 2017
Thanks very much Mr Programme Director.
Mr President, allow me to register my sincere gratitude to you personally and to the noble organisations that you so brilliantly lead, TURSAB. The professional display and Organisation we see today is no surprise as all, this is what we know your Organisation for. We also appreciated the fact that your Organisation and indeed the Republic of Turkey takes South Africa very serious as indicated by your willingness to organize this forum at such short notice, no because of lack of planning but because of a need to accelerate our relationship towards the attainment of our mutually beneficial goals in this important economic sector.
The presentation that is going to be delivered today will indicate that South Africa remains one of the most preferred destinations for tourism activities across the world. It will also highlight information that is essential to the industry and accurately point to the fact that if done in synchrony the economies of our two countries can benefit immensely from each other.
South Africa was in a technical recession for the past two months as it experienced negative growth consecutively but I am excited to inform you that my country has successfully recovered from the negative growth as we registered a 2.7 percent positive growth recently. We are out of the recession, most importantly CNN reported today that there is a general growth of tourists to Africa as a whole and that 70 percent of these new tourists all travel to the Republic of South Africa.
This is an indication that we are doing something right as a country but we cannot stop there as there is a need to always improve. We see Turkey as an important and strategic partner in what we seek to achieve in the Tourism industry. We aim to make Istanbul, Mersin, Antalya and Johannesburg, Durban, Cape Town synonymous with travelling as we continue to strive for inter-dependence in the Tourism sector.
Mr Friends, we must continue to learn from each other, assist each other, critic each other and most of all move forward together as we try through tourism to improve the lives of our common people.
We still, as South Africa firmly believe that tourism is one of the most important drivers of development and job creation. Revenue brought in by tourism will continue to assist both countries to collect more taxes which in turn will assist with our mutually ambitions infrastructure development programmes.
Mr President, South Africa will be hosting the South Africa-Turkey Joint Economic Commission from 3 to 5 October in Pretoria. The Event will be co-chaired by the South African Minister of Trade and Industry and the Turkish Minister of Education. This forum will investigate ways in which the two countries can increase trade between them, of course tourism I believe will pay a major role in the project.
In conclusion; please take this interaction today as a critical catalyst for better things to come in the tourism sector as we await matching orders from our political principals after their consultations in Pretoria.
I thank you once again.