Earlier this month, the President of the Republic of South Africa, Cyril Ramaphosa announced changes to the National Executive in order to strengthen government capacity and effectively deliver on its mandate. As part of these alterations, Lindiwe Sisulu took on her new role as the new Minister of Tourism, while previous Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane heads the Ministry of Human Settlements.
With vast bureaucratic experience, Lindiwe Sisulu will bring her diverse skillset and strategic prowess to the role, even as South Africa firms up plans for international tourism recovery. Tourism is the backbone of the South African economy, contributing to a whopping 6.9 per cent of the national GDP in 2019 and about 1.5 million jobs. While the nation has largely been focused on promoting domestic and intercontinental travel in recent times, the easing up of border restrictions has brought back international traveller appetite and confidence, encouraging South African Tourism to kick-start their global travel recovery plans. India is one of the top markets that the tourism board is investing in as they execute their plans, given that the country was South Africa’s 8th largest international source market prior to the pandemic.
Having served as a member of parliament since 1994, Lindiwe was also the Minister of Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation from 30 May 2019 to 5 August 2021. Prior to that, she helmed the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation portfolio from 27 February 2018 to 25 May 2019. She has also served as the Minister of Public Service and Administration and the Deputy Minister of Home Affairs, Minister of Intelligence, Housing and Defence.
Commenting on the new appointment, Neliswa Nkani, Hub Head – MEISEA, South African Tourism said, “We are excited to welcome and work closely with Ms. Lindiwe Sisulu in her new capacity as Minister of Tourism, especially for the India market. Her expertise and core competencies will be crucial as we create safe experiences for the outbound Indian traveller. After a year and a half under lockdown, Indian travellers are raring to explore, contingent to strong safety measures and ease of travel. India has always been a huge market for South Africa, and this is our chance to pay back by crafting the safest holidays for those seeking to travel.”
As revenge travel picks up in India, travel agents across the country are witnessing huge demand for destinations that are safe and allow for experiential, memorable holidays. South Africa, with its wide range of immersive socially distanced experiences within close proximities as well as breathtaking self-drive routes, continues to be an Indian traveller favorite. The fact that there are a variety of experiences within driving range and that Indian driver licenses are valid in the country, only makes the deal sweeter.