28 August 2009
With domestic tourism forming the backbone of tourism in the country, the Department of Tourism has partnered with a number of private sector players to offer affordable tourism packages to South Africans.
This follows the successful Sho’t Left campaign and partnerships with Kulula.com, Thompsons Tours and Southern Sun.
“[Our] new partners Peermont Hotel Group, Flight Centre and Computicket Travel will make domestic travel exciting, accessible and affordable to more South Africans,” Tourism Minister Marthinus van Schalkwyk said at the launch of Tourism Month in Johannesburg this week.
Out of the 42.5-million tourists in South Africa in 2008, only 9.5-million were foreign arrivals, making majority, at 77%, domestic tourists. Over the three-year period from 2006 to 2008, domestic tourists accounted for an average of 79.6% of all tourists in South Africa.
According to a statement by the department, Tourism Month aims to remind South African residents of the country’s exciting holiday destinations, as well as showcase offerings available in the lesser visited provinces of the country.
World Cup boost
South African Tourism acting CEO Didi Moyle pointed out that South Africa was on the brink of one of the most significant events in its history, the 2010 Fifa World Cup, which would could draw about 450 000 fans to South Africa – bringing the total number of visitors next year to 10-million.
“We have a rare opportunity over the next 12 months to show these millions of people just how friendly and welcoming we are,” Moyle said. “It’s an opportunity to show our country off to the world, and to make our very best impression.”
“We are all responsible for driving the 2010 legacy and for industry competitiveness long after the fans have left to go home.”
While South Africa’s natural beauty and diversity have long been acknowledged as significant traveller drawcards, Moyle said, it was the responsibility of every citizen to adopt a warm attitude towards visitors, in order to establish South Africa as the most welcoming destination on earth.
Moyle explained that it simply meant that everyone should do their bit, greeting visitors, helping them with directions, and making recommendations about good places to experience in their town or city.
“By travelling at home, South Africans contribute meaningfully to the tourism industry and its competitiveness as well as local economic growth and job creation,” Van Schalkwyk said. “As you travel in your own country, you learn more about its diversity and tourism offerings.”
Last year, South Africa welcomed just over 9.5-million foreign visitors. Fourteen million adult South Africans undertook a trip in South Africa over the same period, contributing R25.8-billion to the economy. In total, tourism has contributed R356-billion to the national economy since 2003.
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