SA sees increase in Saudi Arabia tourists

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Pretoria – The number of Saudi Arabia tourists visiting South Africa has increased steadily over the past few years with about 6 000 tourists per annum visiting the country, the Department of Tourism says.

“Tourist arrivals from the Gulf Corporation Council [GCC] region into South Africa has shown steady growth since 2010, with Saudi Arabia making up 63 percent of the total GCC tourists visiting South Africa in 2014,” the department said.

Minister of Tourism Derek Hanekom recently visited Saudi Arabia for bilateral discussions with his counterpart, Prince Sultan bin Salman bin Abdulaziz, President of the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH).

The meeting presented a platform to enhance the relationship between South Africa and Saudi Arabia.

“There is great potential to strengthen our co-operation with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and to increase the visitor numbers to South Africa.

“The feedback we received from tour operators was very positive about South Africa as an attractive holiday destination for Saudi Arabians, especially during their hot summer months, which falls during our slower winter months,” Minister Hanekom said.

The department said the exchange of tourism related expertise was identified as an area for cooperation between the two countries.

“Saudi Arabia is looking to South Africa for assistance in developing unique tourism experiences related to heritage sites and game parks.

“Included in this would be route development, desert camps development and management as well as development of culture and heritage tourism,” the department said.