South Africa and Africa are expecting an increase in visitors from BRICS countries following the lifting of restrictions that had been put in place to tackle COVID-19, according to South African Tourism Minister Patricia De Lille.
De Lille made the remarks at the African Dialogue on Tourism, a side event on the sidelines of African Travel Indaba, a trade show which kicked off Monday, addressing African ministers and other tourism leaders in a hotel in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, Monday night.
“And while these visitors are from traditional markets like the UK, Europe and the USA, important markets like the resumption of travel from China are a critical focus. Countries like China, India and Brazil have a massive emerging middle class ready to explore South Africa and the continent. Growing tourism is one of the focus areas for BRICS,” said De Lille. BRICS is the acronym for an emerging-market bloc that groups Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa.
She explained that Brazil showed the highest increase in volume for the first three months of 2023, more than any other Central and South American country. De Lille welcomed the resumption of the Brazilian airline LATAM direct flight between Johannesburg and Sao Paulo. She stated that BRICS is growing and have the potential to increase trade with African countries.
“The BRICS countries constitute the largest trading partners of Africa and the most significant new investors. This year, the BRICS countries overtook the G7 countries as the most significant combined economy. Together BRICS contribute nearly 31.5 percent of the global gross domestic product. Let us rethink and sharpen our focus for a better Africa that attracts visitors to the continent and create sustainable industries, infrastructure and employment for our citizens,” she said.
De Lille told African ministers and delegates that South Africa will host the BRICS summit in August. She said South Africa’s involvement in the BRICS is to develop Africa and build a better world.
South Africa assumed the BRICS presidency on Jan. 1, 2023, taking over from China.