Last Friday, the national minister of Tourism in South Africa Marthinus Van Schalkwyk and his counterpart from Nigeria the gargantuan-oak Minister of Tourism, Culture and National Orientation of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Chief Edem Duke, launched the tourism month activities at the Dome, during the Getaway Exhibition.
The purpose of the launch was two-fold: conscientious South Africans to travel their own country, and create sustainable jobs.
Eastern Cape and other five provinces are the least visited, and this allows them the opportunity to market themselves aggressively to the locals and international visitors.
With over 2,5m discount travel vouchers made available through South African Tourism, the marketing agency for the national department and other stakeholders, EC and other provinces should see more locals visiting and learning about other nations cultures, tradition and of course, having a bit of FUN…
It is reported that domestic tourists are the lifeblood of SA’s booming industry which accounts for an enormous R20bn into the national growth in 2011.
The cool as a cucumber Van Schalkwyk says, that almost 5,5 million domestic trips were taken in the first quarter of 2012, which contributed R5,2 billion into the economy.
This is over R600 million, or 13%, more than last year’s economic contribution over the same period.
“When domestic tourism grows, we create a nation of tourism ambassadors who are knowledgeable and speak positively about our destination, who warmly welcome foreign tourists, and are helpful when they meet visitors.
Well-travelled locals can easily and confidently recommend to both foreign tourists and fellow South Africans the best places to visit in South Africa for the best local experiences,” he says.
The minister said tourism was the fastest growing sector of the economy at the moment and September would allow South Africa to showcase what it can offer.
Eddie Marafane, executive director at Eastern Cape Tourism Board, says theirs is to make sure all available products within the province should be known to the citizens.
“We’re excited and honoured for being allowed once again to host this important event in our province. Our province has myriads of activities to indulge with from coast-coast travel to adventure and of course, culture and wildlife.
This is what makes us unique and we’re the cheapest by the way,” says the bespectacled Marafane, who also pointed out that, the event would also put the province on the global map.
Chief Edem Duke whom some members of the press were impressed with his Queens Language, was appointed by the Minister to the Tourism Ambassadorial role.
“It is our sincere aim to use this visit to continue to forge partnership and bilateral relations between Nigeria and South Africa to boost and grow our tourism sectors even further, to provide employment opportunities for our people, as well as to contribute a significant percentage to the economies of both our dear nations,” said Chief Duke.
Nigeria and SA bilateral partnership would also untap the bulk of business opportunities which Nigerian’s possess.
“Ours is to provide necessary skills and capabilities to those provincial tourism agencies which lack the human expertise, says CE at SAT Thulani Nzima.
“Obviously, we’re not happy with the way things are but we can promise that we’re engaging extensively to help market themselves. Yes, budget-wise could be detriment to oversee all projects are well executed, however, this should not be an excuse.”
We hope the turn around strategies implemented would be fruitful to those least visited provinces, says Nzima.
The United Nations World Travel Organisation’s World Tourism Day takes place on 27 September this year, and will be themed “Tourism and Sustainable Energy: Powering Sustainable Development”.
South Africa’s World Tourism Day celebrations will take place on the same day in the Eastern Cape, while all nine provinces will mark Tourism Month with a range of activities during September.