VISA, Air access and Travel Week take center stage at Tourism Indaba

DURBAN- SOUTH AFRICA continues to enhance ease of access for tourism priority markets.

This was the address by the national Tourism minister Patricia De Lille, at the opening of the 2024 Tourism Indaba, today, at the Inkosi Albert Luthuli ICC, Durban.

The three-day Africa gathering brings local and international delegates under one roof, to discuss Africa’s tourism emancipation.

“Recent visa exemptions resulting in visa-free travel for Kenyans and South Africans between the two countries, as well as targeted destination marketing efforts, are on going,” says De Lille.

Between January and December 2023, arrivals from Kenya recorded a remarkable 99% increase compared to 2022, reaching 42,403 arrivals.

South Africa continues to enhance ease of access for tourism priority markets.

“We are also starting to witness a similar growth trend with Ghana since South Africa and Ghana announced a visa-waiver scheme on 1 November 2023, allowing citizens to travel freely between them.”

“The visa-waiver allows for travel for periods of up to 90 days within a calendar year, for purposes of business or tourism, and the improvement included the addition into the visa waiver regime of travellers from countries such as Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, New Zealand, Tunisia, Ghana and Cuba.

Last year, the e-Visa system was expanded to 34 countries including India and China, says De De Lille, who was accompanied by the Premier of KwaZulu-Natal, Nomusa Dube-Ncube.

On air access, the minister hinted that while our continent tourism’s sector is looking really good and progressing, we still need to work on certain areas that inhibit us from growing exponentially.

Image SLM (Swaziland Tourism is part of thousands of delegates attending annual Tourism Indaba).

“Africa’s tourism sector is open and thriving, offering various products and experiences catering to travellers’ needs and preferences. Air access in one of such critical area where a significant amount of work is needed urgently to improve air access in Africa and for the rest of the world to connect with us,” she noted, following the dialogue around improving Air Access in the African Ministers’ Dialogue held on Monday.

According to World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), SA created 1.3million jobs in 2023 – 8.7% of all jobs, and contributed 6.8% to the country’s GDP worth R458,9billion.

The Africa’s Travel Indaba in 2023 to the South African economy is projected at R408.6 million; and an additional R776.4 million is projected to be generated through indirect and induced impacts, resulting in a total contribution to the South African economy of R1.2

In 2023, ATI resulted in the creation and/or sustainment of around 2 295 jobs, 1 374 direct, 186 indirect and 735 induced temporary jobs in the South African economy.
Talk of economical spin-offs, the exuberant Mashoto Mokgethi, head of Domestic Tourism at SAT, responsible for Sho’t Left campaign, says the Travel Week, speaks directly with the people of Mzansi to visit their own, from establishments in dorpies to hotels.

“Travel Week is our annual campaign. The purpose of it is for us to create discounts for South Africans. It is the ‘Black Friday’ of travel. We have it in the first week of September, every year.

You can book your travel anytime in that particular week but travel anytime,” she said, during interview at Indaba.

Image SAT (Infectious smile. Mashoto Mokgethi, head of Domestic Tourism at SAT, responsible for Sho’t Left campaign).

“Sho’t Left Travel Week is a major tourism marketing event in South Africa. It is the biggest local travel sale, and it is supported by a significant investment in media and marketing. The event is designed to connect trade partners with annual domestic travellers,” says Mokgethi, in her designer Sho’tLeft spotie, accompanied by that infectious smile.

The ATI that began May 13 wraps up on 16.

Image SAT (Minister of Tourism Patricia De Lille, SAT CE Nombulelo Guliwe, KZN Premier Nomusa Dube- Ncube and Mabeka Makola, SAT GM: Comm & Marketing, posing for a photo during a Walk About’ at the opening of the Tourism Indaba, on Tuesday morning, Durban).

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