29 August 2008
South African Tourism has broadened the focus of its Sho’t Left campaign, which encourages South Africans to travel more within the country, to target up-and-coming youngsters from Botswana and Mozambique.
“Thousands of Mozambicans visit South Africa every year to trade and so business,” South African Tourism CEO Moeketsi Mosola told BuaNews in Johannesburg this week.
“We have broadened our focus to emphasise tourism and leisure to the people of Mozambique.”
He said that travellers from Botswana were among the biggest spenders in South Africa, adding that the new campaign would help refocus visitor spending toward the local tourism and hospitality industry.
South Africa is visited by 4.5-million travellers from the Southern African Development Community a year, injecting massive amounts of capital into the economy, creating thousands of employment opportunities.
Tourism, meanwhile, is one of the biggest growing sectors of the South African economy and is set to grow massively in the build up to the 2009 Fifa Confederations Cup and 2010 Fifa World Cup.
Mosola said that one of the fundamental aims of the campaign was to make was to make travel and tourism affordable to ordinary South Africans, pointing out, for example, that the high cost of visiting areas like the Eastern Cape or Mpumalanga provinces discouraged South Africans from travelling within their own country.
It was important for South Africans to visit various attractions around the country because travelling had the ability to break down barriers, Mosola said, adding that it allowed a person to learn something about themselves, their friends, and family.
“That is why we emphasise travelling must not be done alone, but must be done with friends.”
Packages put together by South African Tourism go from as cheap as R180 to whatever a person’s pocket can afford, Mosola said.
As part of the campaign, television advertisements featuring the travel experiences of groups of friends from South Africa, Botswana and Mozambique in South Africa, are being broadcast on South African Broadcasting Corporation’s SABC 2 channel.
Brad Harrison, 26, from Johannesburg, featured on one the TV advertisements. He told BuaNews that he was a nutritionist who was roped into being an ambassador for the campaign by one of his friends.
Harrison, who travelled to Mpumalanga with two of his friends, embarked on a series of blood-pumping activities including quad biking, bungee jumping and gorge swinging, game drives and canopy tours.
“It was one of those experiences which opened up my eyes to the experiences available out there,” he said, adding that by being a nutritionist, he was able to identify the problem with a lot of South African kids.
He said they were watching too much TV or playing electronic games and not getting out enough. “Youngsters out there need to get off the couch and travel this country of ours.”
Harrison further said it was important that this campaign spread Botswana and Mozambique as “we are all part of Africa and we need to unite”.