The New Growth Path sees tourism as an important jobs driver, which is capable of creating large scale employment.
“The target is to create about 225 000 new employment opportunities by 2015,” said Chabane.
The tourism activation excursion - between South Africa, Swaziland and Mozambique - is one such initiative that is envisaged to stimulate regional integration and boost tourist numbers. The event was also attended by the tourism ministers of Swaziland and Mozambique, and KZN’s tourism MEC.
It is aimed at increasing tourism arrivals and coordination between the three countries, promoting heritage and celebrating the commonalities between the people of the region.
Chabane said tourism provides an opportunity for people to interact and experience other cultures in a relaxed environment; it also makes it easier to learn the local languages, which are critical for breaking the barriers for integration.
Last year, South Africa had over one million tourists and 600 000 from Mozambique and Swaziland respectively.
“These figures are encouraging but a lot still needs to be done to increase these numbers but also encourage South Africans to also travel to Mozambique and Swaziland,” said the minister.
He also touched on attacks of foreigners, saying the perpetrators of these acts were criminal elements trying to take advantage of fellow Africans with vulnerable circumstances.
He said they must be brought to book. “We condemn such acts in the strongest possible terms and reject any justification for such acts or any suggestion that the South African people are xenophobic.”
Chabane said South Africans were a loving nation and welcomed every visitor into the country’s shores with open arms and humility in the spirit of Ubuntu.
“We call upon the law enforcement agencies to act decisively and do everything in their power to put these criminal elements behind bars and away from our humble society.”
Such acts or behaviour, he said, hampered efforts to attract more visitors and investments into the country.