Mpumalanga a huge hit with foreign visitors

Alfred Moselakgomo

Alfred Moselakgomo

Mpumalanga raked in R4,5billion from 1175419 international tourists in 2006, compared to 2005's R4,1billion where 1105 311 visited the province.

According to foreign visitors' information released by South African Tourism yesterday, the most popular activities undertaken were leisure, 41percent, shopping, 34,6percent, and visiting friends, 12percent.

The information shows that about 82percent of tourists visited the Kruger National Park via Skukuza, Numbi and Malelane.

About 43,7percent visited the Blyde River Canyon and God's Window while about 31,4percent visited Mpumalanga's private game reserves.

Last year' s tourism statistics have not been announced yet.

Spokesman for the provincial department of economics and planning, Tom Msiza, said Mpumalanga had "challenges in attracting domestic tourists".

There were 1,4million domestic visitors in 2006 compared to two million in 2005.

"To ensure the province takes advantage of its tourism potential, both international and domestic, MEC Craig Padayachee has established the Tourism Forum," he said.

It comprises government and private tourism business associations and will be officially launched at the end of the month or early next month.