By Staff Reporter
CAPE TOWN Tourism minister Lindiwe Sisulu has encouraged South Africans to travel their own country and must be the first in line to show what the country can offer.
Sisulu said this during the launch of tourism month on 4 ,September ,2022, in Cape Town under the theme ‘rethinking tourism’.
Tourism month is celebrated annually in September, to highlight and bring to the fore the importance of the tourism sector, its contribution to the South African economy and the potential it has to transform the trajectory of the country and 27 September has been set aside by the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) as World Tourism Day.
“This is also the month that we host our annual domestic campaign, Sho’t Left Travel Week, to encourage South Africans to travel and explore their country at discounted rates. We do this by partnering with tourism trade, to negotiate the best rates for South Africans, making tourism accessible to them. We are encouraging South Africans to travel domestically to get a better understanding of the affordable, exciting and world class attractions that are available on their own doorstep. It also serves as an opportunity to promote domestic tourism and create a culture of travel amongst South Africans,” Sisulu said.
She said tourism month is in line with country’s vision to ignite inclusive economic growth, sustainable job creation, and transformation, which are all critical for our industry and the need to aim to continue with our collective efforts in driving this.
According to Sisulu this year’s theme is also symbolic because as a sector, the pandemic required them to step back, relook the industry as they know it, and ultimately, see how they rebuild it.
“This is part of the National Development Plan, which recognises tourism as one of the main drivers of the economy. Tourism month aims to generate awareness of the enormous contribution that the tourism industry makes to provincial and national economic growth and job creation.”
She also revealed that her department is working on the framework for community participation in tourism of which the draft is already out for public comments .
Sisulu further expressed satisfaction on the resilience tourism has shown.
“Following the easing of travel restrictions from our key source markets, we are seeing steady growth in our international arrivals. US and European carriers are also upping their frequencies to Johannesburg and Cape Town as demand to come to South Africa increases. In the first half of the year, South Africa recorded year-to-date international arrivals of 2.3 million. This is an increase of 147 percent when compared to the same period in 2021. Africa land markets are still the key driver of arrivals into South Africa, having contributed over 1.7 million tourist arrivals between January and June 2022.”