Tourism yesterday received a timely lifeline as SA Tourism and Netflix SA, the world’s leading streaming service, announced that they had formed a collaboration to showcase South Africa and help promote visitors to the country. Photo: REUTERS/Mike Blake.
Tourism yesterday received a timely lifeline as SA Tourism and Netflix SA, the world’s leading streaming service, announced that they had formed a collaboration to showcase South Africa and help promote visitors to the country. Photo: REUTERS/Mike Blake.

SA Tourism, Netflix deal to help struggling sector

By Philippa Larkin Time of article published Mar 30, 2021

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JOHANNESBURG - TOURISM yesterday received a timely lifeline as SA Tourism and Netflix SA, the world’s leading streaming service, announced that they had formed a collaboration to showcase South Africa and help promote visitors to the country.

The partnership will also see SA Tourism working closely with Netflix in promoting the country’s must-visit sights through its locally-produced series to international markets.

SA Tourism chief executive Sisa Ntshona said the partnership would use non-traditional tourism methods to drive arrivals into the country

“Netflix reaches millions of eyeballs globally, and by working closely with Netflix we are able to latch onto a massive opportunity to influence the audience to think more closely about South Africa and thus convince them to visit our country,” Ntshona said.

“We have 11 global country offices and there will always be opportunities for our international offices in key source markets to latch onto opportunities to showcase South Africa through the title Netflix launch.”

Tourism has been one of the hardest-hit sectors amid the Covid-19 pandemic that saw South Africa enter a series of national lockdowns from March last year.

Statistics SA (StatsSA) said its traveller movements showed that arrivals for foreign travellers plummeted a massive 82.1 percent in December compared to the prior year from more than 1.5 million to about 280 000.

StatsSA said the tourist accommodation industry tumbled 57.7 percent in December compared to the previous year. About 935 085 local and foreign travellers passed through the count

Ben Amadasun, Netflix director of content in Africa, said: “This past year, when entertainment mattered more than ever, our 204 million members around the world connected with new worlds and, most importantly, with each other through stories from South Africa and across the globe.

“Storytelling is a powerful tool that can foster connection ... We value this important collaboration with SA Tourism as it will help us create more opportunities to support local creatives as they showcase the beauty of South Africa through their stories delivered to millions of entertainment fans around the world on Netflix,” said Amadasun.

The deal also comes hot on the heels of another collaboration by Netflix in South Africa.

Netflix announced earlier this month that it and the National Film and Video Foundation had formed a new partnership aimed at funding the production of South African “micro-budget” feature films, which would see both partners contributing R14 million each in support of the production of local films.

They said the deal would allow for exploration and collaboration on projects both in South Africa and in key source markets that drive international arrivals to the country through Netflix viewership.

Netflix has released original series like Queen Sono, Blood & Water, How To Ruin Christmas: The Wedding, Kings of Joburg; films like Seriously Single, Catching Feelings, Santana, Baby Mamas, Keeping up with the Kandasamys and, most recently, the Oscar-nominated nature documentary My Octopus Teacher and Netflix’s first original stand-up show, Loyiso Gola’s Unlearning, which has boosted the local industry.

“Each production resulted in support for local businesses and entrepreneurs - the full supply chain of creating a show includes local stylists, make-up artists, etc - which ultimately leads to a positive economic impact in the country,” the statement said.

The deals also come as South Africa's Department of Communications and Digital Technologies is working to enforce 30 percent local content on video-on-demand services, including Netflix and Showmax, in order to promote local content and languages.

In a recently drafted White Paper presented to Parliament, streaming platforms will be mandated to offer at least 30 percent South African content.

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