Environmental Affairs and Tourism Minister Marthinus van Schalkwyk yesterday lambasted "the arrogance of South African Airways" for being obstructionist and failing to work with local industry to grow tourism.
"We need a national airline but if they cannot do what the industry needs them to do we'll look at other airlines," he said.
Van Schalkwyk wants better integration between the strategies of the tourism industry and South African Airways, to allow for more effective planning and working together.
Speaking at a presentation of tourism data yesterday, he said Angola was the highest per capita spender in South Africa - more so than the UK. But there are significant restrictions on air travel between the two countries.
SA Tourism said there was an increase of 5,5percent of foreign arrivals to South Africa last year, outperforming the global growth rate of 1,3percent.
Growth was driven by all regions except Asia and Europe, which fell 7,6percent and 0,5percent respectively.
African land markets were the major drivers of growth last year, showing seven percent growth over 2007 levels, contributing 460000 arrivals.