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Pretoria Considers Changing the Way it Attracts Visitors from China

South Africa is a prime destination for international tourists, but industry experts say the government needs to work on attracting more visitors from one massive market: China. Arrivals from China were up in the first 11 months of 2023 thanks to the Asian giant’s reopening and new direct flight routes, said Thandiwe Mathibela, a spokeswoman for South African Tourism, the tourism marketing arm of the South African government. But Chinese visitors to South Africa still make up a very small share of overall foreign arrivals. From January of last year until November, around 8 million tourists traveled to South Africa, according to government figures. Tourists from the United States, United Kingdom and Germany accounted for the most visitors. Industry experts as well as the government acknowledge that South Africa’s visa system remains a major hindrance. Chinese who want to visit the country have to apply for a visa in advance and critics say the process is time-consuming and opaque.