He made this remark during the Tourism Month media launch at Maboneng Precinct this week.
Domestic tourists contributed R24.3bn to the economy, up from the R21.8bn spent by domestic tourists in 2012.
“In total, 12 million domestic tourists took 25.1 million trips last year, which is flat on our 2012 figures. In fact, our domestic market, unlike our international arrivals which have seen good growth in recent years, has remained under pressure since the 2008-2009 global financial crisis.
This can be ascribed to the continued pressure on South African consumers given the slower growth of the national economy,” says Hanekom, who took over the baton from Marthinus Van Schalkwyk better known as “Kortbroek”.
The Minister also called on South Africans to mark tourism month by celebrating former president Nelson Mandela’s legacy.
“This Tourism Month, the first without our beloved Tata Madiba in our presence, we call on all South Africans to take the time to visit the sites and attractions around the country associated with his life, as we look to celebrate and honour his legacy,” continued Hanekom.
Says Hanekom: “To make it as easy as to do this, South African Tourism has developed Madiba-Inspired Tourist Attractions, a map that highlights these attractions and provides all the information necessary to plan your visit.
To access this interactive map electronically visit: mandela.southafrica.net
Tourism Month focuses its efforts on domestic tourism in particular, using the period as an opportunity to encourage all South Africans to get out and explore this unique, beautiful and diverse country of ours.
The South African Tourism, (SAT) the government agency tasked with marketing and promoting tourism locally and internationally, has been bolstered to market local tourism marketing efforts through projects such as ‘Nothing’s More Fun than a Sho’t Left campaign’, amongst others.
This year’s tourism month will be celebrated under the theme ‘tourism transforming lives’ and will be held in Northern Cape on September 27.