South Africa seeks to enhance cooperation with Saudi Arabia on tourism, including the possibility of easing visa requirements for Saudi citizens.
This is according to Derek Hanekom, South Africa’s tourism minister, who said that he recently met with Prince Sultan bin Salman, president of the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage, whom he has invited to visit South Africa. The purpose of the invitation would be to finalize various aspects of the memorandum of understanding on tourism signed by the Kingdom and South Africa two years ago, which includes visa issues, said Hanekom at a seminar on the tourism industry at the residence of the country’s consul general in Jeddah Shoaib Caso on Monday.
Hanekom said he and Prince Sultan discussed aspects of the memorandum including investment, development of tourist sites, training and human resource development, research and managing nature reserves. Hanekom said the meeting was useful and several areas where South Africa could assist the Kingdom would include protecting endangered species, and exchanging expertise in the management of natural resources.
He said the Kingdom has a beautiful landscape, rich heritage and hospitable people that welcomed him with “grace and generosity.” He said the hospitality of the Kingdom was “a big asset” for the country. He had also visited museums and a photographic exhibition in Riyadh where he had seen images of the country’s scenery, people, culture and heritage and “wonderful people.”
He said South Africa was a beautiful country with climate and cultural diversity, with different types of landscapes, religious tolerance, world-class safaris, halal food availability, and beautiful waterfronts. A major attraction for tourists was Cape Town’s Table Mountain and Robben Island where the late Nelson Mandela had been imprisoned for 27 years.