Ahead of the BRICS Summit, which officially kicks off tomorrow from the 22nd to 24 August 2023, South African Tourism (SA Tourism) hosted delegates at the welcome event of the 10th Anniversary of the BRICS Business Council yesterday afternoon.
The BRICS Business Council was established during the Fifth BRICS Summit held on 26th – 27th March 2013 in Durban, South Africa. The objective of creating the council was to constitute a platform that promotes and strengthens business, trade, and investment ties amongst the business communities of the five BRICS countries. It was also formed to ensure that there is regular dialogue between the business communities of the BRICS nations and the governments of the BRICS countries. This year, therefore, South African Tourism, along with the BRICS Business Council, is celebrating a decade of cooperation and partnership.
“Over the years, we have seen growing enthusiasm for travel among the people of BRICS countries. We can all agree that tourism serves as a bridge that connects cultures and opens avenues of dialogue that transcend language barriers and political boundaries. Tourism is also a contributor to economic growth. Tourism is a force that unites people in their pursuit of discovery, adventure, and shared experiences. Therefore, tourism has a profound impact on strengthening bilateral relations,” said Nomasonto Ndlovu, Acting CEO of South African Tourism speaking at the welcome event,
“South Africa was the birthplace of the BRICS Business Council and we brought together our respective business communities with the objective of creating a platform to strengthen business, trade, investment ties, travel and connections amongst business communities across the borders of our respective countries”, said BRICS Business Council Chairperson, Ms. Busi Mabuza.
In highlighting South Africa’s essence through arts, culture, and storytelling, the guests had the pleasure of enjoying a performance by Lebo Mashile, an award-winning poet, author, presenter, actress, and producer. The globally-acclaimed Ndlovu Youth Choir delivered a captivating performance that brought South Africa’s spirit to the stage with a harmonious fusion of talent, culture, resonant voices and vibrant rhythms that echo the nation’s heartbeat.
“Hosting events such as the BRICS Summit showcases South Africa’s hosting capacity and capability and contributes to our tourism sector recovery. Through MICE [Meetings Incentives Conferences and Exhibitions] events such as the BRICS Summit, we are enhancing collaboration, spurring economic growth, and deepening cross-cultural exchanges among our various nations. Of course, in the process, we stimulate innovation and drive progress that extends far beyond borders. I invite you to explore our many MICE facilities and venues not only here in Gauteng but the rest of South Africa too,” added Ndlovu.
Attending the event were the big business minds and captains of the tourism industry whom Ndlovu encouraged to not only attend the meetings as part of the BRICS summit but to also take time to explore beyond the summit’s corridors.
South African Tourism also brought the sustainability village to the event. Designed to support and boost emerging local businesses, the sustainability village is a collection of vendors selling authentically and uniquely South African arts and crafts and fashion items. It offered the guests an opportunity to shop and buy items thus symbolically taking a piece of South Africa back home with them.
Between January and June 2023, South Africa welcomed 9 118 tourists from Brazil up by 60.3% when compared to the same period in 2022. South Africa received 13 806 tourists from Russia up by 146.3% when compared to January to June 2022. The country welcomed 41 668 Indian tourists up by 82.5 % when compared to the same period last year and 16 290 Chinese tourists came to South Africa in the first half of 2023 marking a 266.9% increase when compared to the first half of 2022.