South Africa remains a popular destination for international tourists, according to new figures.

South Africa remains a popular destination for international tourists, according to new figures.

Marthinus van Schalkwyk, South Africa tourism minister, confirmed that 2010 was a strong year for people taking flights to South Africa, with the country welcoming over eight million arrivals, compared to seven million in 2009.

He added: “Figures from the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) show that global tourism arrivals [are] estimated to have grown by 6.7 per cent in 2010, which means that South Africa outperformed the global market by more than eight per cent.”

The minister also explained that the hosting of the FIFA World Cup had also played a key part in attracting foreign visitors, with around 309,000 people visiting South Africa specifically for the football competition.

Mr van Schalkwyk called on the South Africa tourism sector to ensure that it works hard to build on the opportunities of the World Cup and continues to attract overseas visitors to help boost the local economy.

The UNWTO represents 154 countries and focus on tourism issues, especially in developing countries.

Written by Ruth Norris.

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