Pretoria:Tourism Minister Marthinus van Schalkwyk says South Africa’s partnership with Italy is bearing positive results as more and more Italians are now visiting South Africa.
According to van Schalkwyk, Italian arrivals last year were at exactly the same levels as they were in 2010 and that close to 55 000 Italian tourists travelled to South Africa in 2011.
Speaking at an award-giving ceremony held in Milan, Italy, last night, van Schalkwyk said: “So clearly the partnerships we have built with you over the years are bearing fruit and we are very optimistic about the future.
“We need to open the eyes of the Italian consumer to see South Africa as more than just a wildlife and adventure destination”.
He told the audience that South Africa is a country with many cultures, home to a warm and welcoming people, a rapidly emerging food and wine destination, a country of art, music and design, and importantly a leader in responsible tourism.
“We are very excited that our collective efforts with you in the Italian market is paying off, but we also know we still have much to do.
“It is heartening to see the work that many of you are doing to contribute to the sustainability of our tourism industry, clearly illustrating the positive impact the Italian traveler seeks to have on the destinations you travel to,” he said.
Van Schalkwyk said the tourism market remains competitive and look forward to working with the Italians going forward to making South Africa a tourism destination.
“Because when you as tourism business do well, we all do well,” he said.