Be a tourist in your own country

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Copy of nt ushaka marien world INDEPENDENT NEWSPAPERS 'Air arrivals and total passenger movements at King Shaka International Airport have decreased again.' Picture: Puri Devjee

Whatever you are looking for, it’s right here in SA. That’s the message from SA Tourism, which launched its domestic tourism growth strategy recently.

The message came as South Africans everywhere were glued to their TV screens this week to watch the British celebrate their heritage and culture with Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee.

South Africans should explore their own country and be the envy of the world, according to Tourism Minister Marthinus van Schalkwyk.

He called on South Africans to be tourists in their own country and to experience what millions of international tourists are drawn to annually – the sheer beauty of their land, its rich culture and heritage, and the warmth and hospitality of their fellow citizens.

Van Schalkwyk said domestic tourism made up 76 percent of SA’s total last year and contributed R20 billion to the economy.

It made a substantial contribution to creating and sustaining much-needed jobs.

“Here in South Africa, we have breathtakingly beautiful scenery, a treasure trove of cultures to explore, and fascinating people to meet.

“The rest of the world comes to enjoy what we have to offer and which is available to us on our doorstep.

“Our message to South Africans who seek world-class destinations to explore or in which to relax is that they will find what they are looking for right here in South Africa.”

The minister said the central message, and key driver, of the new domestic tourism campaign was to invest in oneself and one’s relationship with family, friends and loved ones, and take advantage of all the destinations SA has to offer.

“In South Africa, you are able to experience one of the most beautiful, capable, friendly and desirable destinations in the world – it’s right here.”

The new campaign has widened its scope beyond the young, up-and-coming segment of the population, which was the chief focus of SA Tourism’s successful Sho’t Left campaign.

It now addresses a wider range of target consumers, either to stimulate the desire for travel among groups who do not have a holidaying culture or to encourage those who travel overseas to take their leisure trips in the country.

Spending

The minister said 26.4 million trips were undertaken last year compared with 29.7 million in 2010.

However, the number of adult South Africans who travelled locally grew to 13.9 million – three percent more than the 13.5 million who took domestic trips in 2010.

In 2011, the average spending on a domestic trip grew to R780 a trip (from an average of R710 a trip in 2010).

“The domestic tourism growth strategy and the campaign have taken into account that consumers are increasingly cautious about how they spend their money.

“They seek and demand exceptional value, and that is what the sector intends to offer,” the minister concluded. - The Star

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