Home / Asia / South African tourism eyes ‘untapped’ Korean market
South African tourism eyes 'untapped' Korean market

South African tourism eyes ‘untapped’ Korean market

Participants in the annual “South African Tourism Trade Workshop” at a reception at Westin Chosun Seoul in central Seoul, July 1. / Korea Times photo by Yi Whan-woo
By Yi Whan-woo

More than 30 travel agencies, airlines and travel arms of South Africa’s central and provincial governments joined hands in Korea last week to promote South Africa as a travel destination.

The annual promotional campaign, titled “South African Tourism Trade Workshop,” aims to attract Asian tourists in line with South Africa’s National Development Plan initiated in 2013.

The plan recognizes tourism as a main driver of employment and economic growth.

The Seoul campaign included hotels in the southwestern coastal city of Cape Town, safaris at Kruger National Park — one of Africa’s largest game reserves — wine tasting in Winelands and the unspoiled Wild Coast.

Charge d’Affaires Gert du Preez at the South African Embassy in Korea was joined by the head of the Asia Pacific Hub of South African Tourism Mansoor Mohamed and Hanneli Slabber, regional general manager of South African Tourism in Asia, Australasia and the Middle East.

Among the participating companies were Best Western Fountains Hotel Cape Town, Holiday Inn Cape Town, Rainbow Tourism Group, Wilderness Safaris, Springbokatlas Tours and Safaris, Singapore Airlines, South African Airways and Qatar Airways.

“While we await the arrival of our new ambassador to the Republic of Korea, it is a privilege and an honor for me to extend a very warm welcome to all of you,” the charge d’affaires said during a reception at the Westin Chosun Seoul in central Seoul, on July 1.

He referred to the workshop as “an important occasion” in the annual calendar of South African Tourism and the South African Embassy in Korea.

For South Africa, Korea remains an almost untapped market. Only 22,000 out of 15 million Koreans who traveled abroad last year visited South Africa.

“While the distance between the two countries is significant, South Africa certainly has all the attractions to entice more South Korean travelers to choose it as their next destination,” said the charge d’affaires. “I am convinced that today’s workshop will make a positive contribution in that direction and thank all the participants for taking the time to be here today.”

Tourism contributed around $10 billion or about 2.9 percent of South Africa’s gross domestic product (GDP) in 2017.

Tourism directly and indirectly supported about 1.5 million jobs in 2017 or 9.5 percent of the total employment.

The embassy said there was potential to increase employment in the sector to 2.1 million jobs by 2028.