By Masilo Malakwane
Golden Gate – The Free State MEC for Economic Development, Small Business Development, Environment and Tourism (Destea) Makalo Mohale and Acting CEO of South African Tourism, Sthembiso Dlamini, have launched Tourism Month which aims to rediscover and explore the country’s tourism through the ‘Sho’t Left’ initiative.
Speaking at the launch at Golden Gate National Park near Clarens on Friday 27 August, Mohale said the province is honoured to host the celebration of this year’s launch in the aftermath of the pandemic.
“This is an opportunity to once again take an unwavering shot at radical transformation of the tourism sector. In the midst of adversity, we must ensure that our small businesses are resilient and agile where possible, and start thinking of constructive approaches in the SMME sector.
“We have put together a programme for the month, which will reflect the beauty and offerings of our province, but it is this programme that should make everyone want to visit our province; Tourism Month is the perfect opportunity to achieve all this.”
South Africa celebrates Tourism Month annually in September with focus on and advocacy for the centrality and contribution of the tourism sector towards the attainment of the global development goals for sustainable development and the fight against poverty. This year’s theme is “Tourism for inclusive growth”.
This year, SA Tourism Month also includes the unveiling of the 2021 Sho’t Left Travel Week which is aimed at promoting cheaper and affordable travel, while providing product owners and tourism trade an opportunity to re-attract South Africans back into the culture of traveling.
“Through the Sho’t Left Travel Week, which will run from 6-12 September, we call upon South Africans to book these massively discounted packages, and use them for the year ahead,” said Dlamini.
Speaking at the Tourism launch of the Free State as the feature province for the 2021 national celebrations, the Director General, Victor Tharage stated that the choice of the Free State was well aligned with the adopted global theme of “tourism for inclusive growth”.
“We could not have chosen a better host than this province as we navigate the economic and social wrath of the Covid-19 pandemic and, importantly, as we begin our voyage to recovery and rebuilding our sector to its acclaimed glory and development impact,” said Tharage.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Department of Tourism as well as South African Tourism were not able to host the 2021 editions of the MICE-focused Meetings Africa and leisure-focused Africa’s Travel Indaba which usually take place in February and May annually.