We are furthermore facing similar challenges and opportunities in our respective regions, such as increasing competition from other tourist destinations in the region, but at the same time also opportunities for closer co-operation in regional context.
According to the World Tourism Organisation, Africain a global contextregistered the highest growth rate of tourist arrivals of all regions, boosted by the buoyant results in South Africa and Morocco.
Supported by assertive black empowerment strategiesspearheaded by black leaders themselvesthis feature of the emerging social structure of South African society also augurs well for the contribution of the private sector to economic development.
RECONSTRUCTION AND DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMME (RDP)Underpinning the macroeconomic policies of the new South African government is the Reconstruction and Development Programme.
In the regional context, there has accordingly been significant progress towards South Africa's political and economic integration into the Southern African region within the framework of SADC (Southern African Development Community).
- Developments around the ANC leadership: over the first three years of post-apartheid South Africa, local and foreign observers repeatedly expressed fears about the process of succession, and uncertainty about the country's prospects thereafter during the so-called "post-Mandela era".
Economic policy reform, greater political stability and co-operation, and joint participation in global trade and tourism, are now common items on the development agenda of South Africa and its neighbours.
The South African Deputy President Thabo Mbeki, who is a respected advocate of peace and stability on the continent, refers to this development as the "African Renaissance".
TOURISMTourism provides another potential area for closer co-operation between South Africa and Greece, since our industries are not in competition, but, rather, complement each other due to the difference in seasons.
Southern Africa displayed the second highest growth rate of arrivals (+ 9.5 percent), largely determined by the healthy growth of international tourism in South Africa which accounted for 77.5 percent of the total increase in arrivals.
The large Hellenic community in South Africa also contributes to a healthy two-way flow of tourists between South Africa and Greece because of family ties.
As government funding for conservation across the world continues to decline and pressure to identify explicit economic rationales for protected areas increases, various forms of tourism have been developed in protected areas to generate revenue for conservation and to provide an economic justification for the continued existence of protected areas.
Let me mention a few examples:a) Large and longstanding investments by leading European companies and increasingly also from the USA, guarantee the continued interest and involvement in developments in South Africa by the international community.
Tourism in protected areas has therefore attracted attention from governments of many developing countries looking at maximising economic benefits from tourism development.
The most recent paradigm of protected area management recognises the link between protected areas and local development and acknowledges the role of local communities in protected areas.