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SAA Direct flights to China

SAA direct to China

SAA direct to China

Pretoria – Tourism Minister Marthinus van Schalkwyk says direct flights from South Africa to China, which started this week, will go a long way in boosting trade between the two countries.

SAA’s inaugural non-stop flight to China landed in Beijing on Tuesday, and promises to facilitate both business and leisure travel between the two countries as well as to all the Southern African Development Community (SADC) countries.

“The Chinese economy continues to grow despite difficult global economic conditions, bringing with it an increasing outbound travel market. This underscores the fact that airlift certainly forms a critical link between trading nations and tourism markets,” Van Schalkwyk said.

The move also comes at a time when China is emerging as a strong trade partner and an important tourism market for South Africa, he said.

Official figures show that more than 42 000 Chinese tourists visited South Africa in 2009 and in 2010, that number increased by 62.3% to 68 309. The statistics to date for Chinese visitors to South Africa from January to September 2011 show that just under 60 000 visited the country.

“China has been identified as a viable source market for international tourist arrivals to South Africa. The majority of travellers are between the ages of 25 and 44,” said Van Schalkwyk.

Business travel was also showing great improvement, growing by 18.4% between 2007 and 2010. In 2010, the average length of stay grew to 14.9 nights. – BuaNews

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