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South Africa seeks greater tourism growth through BRICS summit

By Lu Duobao, Zhu Shaobin and Christine Lagat JOHANNESBURG (Xinhua) -- The tranquil July weather in South Africa’s commercial capital Johannesburg is attracting foreign visitors to stroll on its bustling streets, where brightly colored banners of the ongoing 10th BRICS summit catch much attention.

Passersby could be seen taking selfies with the colorful signs that are hoisted on the sides of streets around the Sandton International Convention Centre, where the event is being hosted on July 25-27.

It is no secret that hosting the 10th edition of the summit of emerging markets of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS) has elevated the image and prestige of the “Rainbow Nation”.

Foreign delegates are thrilled by the prospect of riding on Johannesburg’s electric tram and visiting the classy shopping malls where posh restaurants and clothing lines compete for space.

The Apartheid Museum in Johannesburg was the most prized destination among delegates to BRICS summit given the fact that it bears all the hallmarks of South Africa’s struggle to free itself from the shackles of colonial rule and racial discrimination.

“For to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.” The immortal words of late South African President and liberation icon, Nelson Mandela, are inscribed at the entrance of Apartheid Museum whose elegant interior and exterior designs have always mesmerized visitors.

The Apartheid Museum opens a window into South Africa’s past struggle with colonial domination, injustices and racial segregation while spotlighting the dawn of an independence era marked with racial integration and just rule.

A tour to Apartheid museum offers rich history lessons to foreign visitors who have mainly read about the country’s struggle with Apartheid rule in text books.

The invocation of Mandela’s rallying call for a just and racially integrated South Africa always remind visitors that a second tour to the Apartheid museum is an imperative.

South Africa has more to offer in the Mother City, Cape Town. The balmy weather here coupled with its picturesque scenery like the world-renowned Table Mountain has lured a large number of foreign tourists during the BRICS summit.

Fernando Cardoso, a Brazilian national, was in exuberant mood at the foot of Table Mountain as he gathered his family to take selfies.

The young lawyer said he has always felt a strong attachment to South Africa given its rich culture, cuisine and scenic attractions.

“As citizens of the BRICS countries, it is important to travel to the other country, which can deepen the understanding of each other’s history and culture,” said Fernando.

The meet of the Atlantic and Indian Oceans at Cape Point which creates a magnificent spectacle is visible at a lighthouse near Cape Town.

Tang Qing, a Chinese national from Shandong province who was in a 42-person choir that participated in an international singing competition in South Africa, said the country’s scenic attractions were very uplifting.

“South Africa is far away from China, but her beauty has attracted many Chinese people. Moreover, the tourism experience in South Africa is great,” Tang Qing told Xinhua.

The number of Chinese tourists visiting South Africa has surged in recent time as the two countries strengthen their bilateral cooperation.

Likewise, South Africa is currently an attractive destination for tourists from other BRICS member states based on a recent study from the multinational auditing firm, Price Water House Coopers (PWC).

The PWC study revealed that tourist arrivals from BRICS nations increased by 6.1 percent in 2017 which was higher than the average of all tourist arrivals in the country.

Pundits said that this week’s BRICS summit in South Africa will inject new vigor for the country’s tourism sector. 

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