Virtual international forum on South Africa-China Tourism Cooperation

On Wednesday 4 August 2021, the UJCI, in collaboration with the Centre for Africa-China Studies and the UJ School of Tourism and Hospitality (STH), hosted a Virtual International Forum titled ‘South Africa-China Tourism Cooperation: Opening New horizons’.


The Forum was supported by the following institutions:

  • Sun Yat-sen University (China)
  • Nanjing Tech University (China)
  • Embassy of the PRC to South Africa
  • The South African National Department of Tourism
  • The Ministry of Culture and Tourism of the PRC
  • The World Tourism Alliance
  • The China Tourism Academy of Ministry of Culture and Tourism of the PRC
  • University of Cape Town Confucius Institute
  • The Zhejiang Provincial Tourism Association
  • The Tourism Business Council of South Africa
  • China Telecom South Africa (Pty) Ltd


The Forum was co-chaired by:

  • Prof Peng Yi, Co-Director, UJCI and CACS
  • Prof Kelvin Bwalya, Vice Dean, College of Business & Economics, UJ
  • Prof Diane Abrahams, Director, School of Tourism and Hospitality , UJ
  • Prof Luo Qiuju, Deputy Dean, School of Tourism Management, Sun Yat-sen University
  • Prof Tembi Tichaawa, Academic Head: Tourism, School of Tourism and Hospitality, UJ
  • Dr David Monyae, Co-Director, UJCI and CACS
  • Prof Chris Rogerson, Distinguished Research Professor, School of Tourism and Hospitality, UJ


  • Prof Tshilidzi Marwala, Vice-Chancellor and Principal, University of Johannesburg
  • The Hon. Mr Amos ‘Fish’ Mahlalela, South African Deputy Minister of Tourism
  • The Hon. Mr Li Zhigang, Minister in the Embassy of the PRC in South Africa
  • Mr Xie Jinying, Director General, Bureau for International Exchanges and Cooperation, Ministry of Culture and Tourism, PRC
  • Mr Liu Shijun, Secretary General, World Tourism Alliance


  • Mr Victor Tharage, Director-General, National Department of Tourism, South Africa
  • Ms Anita Mendiratta, Special Advisor to the UNWTO, Founder and President of Anita Mendiratta & Associates
  • Mr Tshifhiwa Tshivhengwa, CEO, Tourism Business Council of South Africa
  • Prof Ylva Rodny-Gumede, Head of the Division for Internationalisation, University of Johannesburg


  • Prof Li Shina, Sun Yat-sen University
  • Prof Huang Zhuowei, Sun Yat-Sen University
  • Prof Robin Nunkoo, Associate Professor, Faculty of Law and Management, University of
  • Mauritius and Distinguished Visiting Professor, UJ STH
  • Prof Yang Jinsong, Director, International Institute of China Tourism Academy (Data
  • Centre of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism)
  • Dr He Liehui, Zhejiang Provincial Tourism Association
  • Prof Wang Chunting, Vice-Dean, School of Public Administration and Law, Nanjing Tech
  • University
  • Dr Albert Kimbu, Senior Lecturer, School of Hospitality and Tourism Management,
  • University of Surrey, and Senior Research Associate, UJ STH


The Covid-19 pandemic has had a profound impact on the global tourism sector. The impact of the Coronavirus on different regions of the world affected several variables in the global tourism value chain, including business sustainability, the generation of value, employment, domestic and international movements, the ability to service costs, and the transfer of foreign exchange. To mitigate the impact of the spread of the Coronavirus, institutions across the world had to take necessary measures to ensure sustainability and growth. Moreover, international travel restrictions adversely affected the tourism sector and directly impacted on tourism capacity utilisation.

The virtual international forum titled ‘South Africa-China Tourism Cooperation: Opening New Horizons’ has been devised with the central goal of enhancing tourism collaboration, to facilitate an exchange of knowledge, and to discuss the strategic alliance between South Africa and China amid a global pandemic.

China and South Africa have enjoyed diplomatic relations for 23 years, and the two countries have signed numerous MoUs in the field of tourism. Since 2007, Sino-South African relations have become progressively closer, featuring growing trade, policy and political ties. The heads of state of both countries have expressed desire for further collaboration in the field of tourism. On 16 March 2021, the South African Tourism Ministry and H.E Ambassador Chen Xiaodong, Ambassador of the PRC to South Africa, reached an agreement to collaborate through virtual meetings to share their experiences and to drive the recovery process of the tourism sector post the global pandemic.

Over the past few years, South Africa has embarked on various initiatives to develop the Chinese tourism market. The South African Department of Tourism has formulated a ‘China Ready Strategy’ for attracting Chinese tourists by enhancing collaboration, improving service quality, and ensuring that there is business sustainability in the sector. These efforts of sharing not only resources but self-sufficient means to drive growth amid a global pandemic will help lay a solid foundation for the eradication of poverty and unemployment as well as aid the revitalisation of the tourism sector.

Highly esteemed scholars and partners predominantly from South Africa and China were invited to weigh in on the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the tourism sector and the drive towards recovery on the African continent. This high-level conversation on 4 August 2021 provided a holistic perspective on post-Covid economic recovery strategies, sustainable development, and how to open new horizons for the tourism sector.


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