IATA Regional Vice President for the Middle East & Africa Muhammad Ali Albakri says efforts must be “re-doubled” to promote South Africa as a destination open to trade and tourism.
Albakri’s comments come following an IATA study that highlighted the immense value of the air transport industry in South Africa.
Aviation supports some 490,000 jobs in the country, including tourism-related employment.
Affordable, safe and reliable air transport is crucial to economic growth
The sector also contributes $US12 billion to South Africa’s GDP—the equivalent of 3.5% of total GDP.
“The study confirms the vital role of air transport in facilitating over US$110 billion in exports, some US$140 billion in foreign direct investment and around US$9.2 billion in inbound leisure and business tourism for South Africa,” Alkbari said.
“Now with the country in recession it’s time to re-double efforts to promote South Africa as a destination for business, trade and tourism.”
Executives surveyed by the World Economic Forum rated South Africa’s status regarding three key areas for the air transport industry.
Thirty-seven African countries in all were rated, out of these South Africa ranked:
• 1st for infrastructure
• 19th for visa openness
• 17th for cost competitiveness
Alkbari has urged the South African government to recognize the benefits of aviation, and remove barriers affecting air connectivity and trade.
We urge the South African government to remove any impediments
“Affordable, safe and reliable air transport is crucial to economic growth,” he added.
“It promotes skills development and is a catalyst for jobs. We urge the South African government to remove any impediments, including unnecessary red-tape and policies that hinder air connectivity and the trade, investment, tourism and job opportunities it facilitates and stimulates.”