The South African tourism Indaba should expand its platform by attracting even more exhibitors and buyers from the African continent, Tourism Minister Marthinus Van Schalkwyk said on Sunday.
"As part of our growth and expansion plans, we will be gradually increasing African participation at the Indaba in 2014," said Van Schalkwyk.
"We can do more to tangibly strengthen the African tourism industry through mutually beneficial ‘co-opetition' – which brings out the best in all of us through co-operation and healthy competition on our continent," he said.
Van Schalkwyk was speaking at the four-day trade event taking place in Durban.
The event attracts nearly 13,000 delegates in the travel and tourism industry.
Van Schalkwyk said it was time Africans learnt from each other's successes instead of resenting one another.
"To achieve this we are willing to invest even more to transform Indaba into a pan-African trade platform."
He said in line with SA Tourism's global strategy, it had identified key markets that could boost growth even further.
He said new SA Tourism (Sat) at offices would be opened in Brazil, Angola, Kenya and Nigeria.
In the mean time he said Sat would intensify its marketing presence in South Korea, Russia, Scandinavia, China, Uganda, Ghana and Tanzania.
He said Sat would continue focusing on domestic tourism by addressing cost and information barriers.
"We have to create the conditions that render the tourism experience and the treasures of our country accessible and affordable to a much greater share of our population."
He said an audit of under-utilised state assets and properties that was recently commissioned would reveal areas that could be transformed into tourist attractions.
"We have also commissioned a feasibility study for a pilot budget resort chain, which could in some or other way be de-risked through partnership approaches."
He said this project was aimed at the market of would-be travellers earning less than R5000 a month.
"The time has come...to fully unlock our country's tourism treasures and the intrinsic value of travel for all South Africans, thereby bolstering our contribution to job creation and poverty alleviation."