Nigeria and South Africa re-visited their cooperation in tourism agreement signed in 2008 when the two countries' tourism ministers and other officials met in Pretoria recently. The meeting came after an invitation from South Africa's Tourism Minister, Marthinus van Schalkwyk, to his Nigerian counterpart, Edem Duke, for an official four-day visit to South Africa.
The tourism agreement between South Africa and Nigeria covers interactions between tourism and travel trade officials, the exchange of tourism research and statistics and human resource development. It also includes investment, exchange programmes, joint marketing, the establishment of a joint commission, entry formalities and environmental matters between the two countries.
Rich potential for both countries
"It is our sincere aim to continue to forge partnerships and working relationships between Nigeria and South Africa to further boost and grow our tourism sectors to provide employment opportunities, as well as to contribute a significant percentage to the economies of our nations," said Duke.
"Both Nigeria and South Africa have seen a tremendous partnership and significant engagements in areas such as telecommunications, media, tourism and aviation. This has led to more than US$3 billion in trade volume between South Africa and Nigeria. And there is further rich potential for both countries not only to maintain this mutual and symbiotic relationship, but to up the ante too," he added.
A major growth market
Van Schalkwyk said South Africa's relationship with Nigeria is one of deep friendship, a strong partnership and a united determination to grow tourist arrivals not only to the two destinations, but to the entire African region. "Nigeria is a major growth market for our destination. We saw monumental tourist arrivals growth of 37.5% from Nigeria in 2011 and arrivals from Nigeria grew a further 28.7% in the first four months of this year."
The Nigerian Tourism Minister joined Van Schalkwyk at the launch of South Africa's Tourism Month which is celebrated annually in South Africa every September and was officially launched this year at the Getaway Show on 31 August in Johannesburg. This year's Tourism Month agenda will focus on encouraging South Africans to travel their own country and to get a better understanding of the affordable and exciting leisure travel attractions available to them on their own doorstep.
As part of his itinerary, the Nigerian Tourism Minister and his delegation also visited Cape Town where they were treated to a host of leisure activities, including a visit to Table Mountain, a tour of the city and the winelands.