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Chinese Interest in South Africa Grows

From VOA Learning English, this is the Economics Report. The number of people visiting South Africa grew by almost 10 percent last year. One country making that number grow is China. Chinese investment has been increasing in South Africa. So has the number of Chinese visitors to the country. China sends the fourth largest number of tourists to South Africa.

More than 130,000 Chinese tourists went there last year. Europeans remain the biggest tourism group. But the percentage of Chinese tourists grew by 56 percent from 2011 to 2012. Beverly Schafer is a member of Cape Town's city government. She represents an area that is home to a famous soccer stadium. She says the number of visitors to the country increased after South Africa hosted the World Cup soccer championship in 2010.

South Africa's travel industry has been noting the growing number of Chinese tourists. Mariette Du Toit-Helmbold has worked with Cape Town Tourism. She says the industry is looking for Chinese-speaking guides and has started providing information in Mandarin Chinese. There are several reasons for the increase in Chinese tourists.

One could be South Africa's inclusion in the BRICS economic group, which also includes China. Also, South Africa recently added visa application centers in Beijing and Shanghai. And last year, South African Airways added direct flights between Beijing and Johannesburg. Traditionally, Cape Town's tourism industry has been directed toward Europeans and Americans, who often travel in smaller groups or as couples. However, Chinese tourists often prefer to travel in larger groups.

For VOA Learning English, I'm Mario Ritter. (Adapted from a radio program broadcast 17May2013)

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