Tourism council confirms talks with Trevor Noah

Trevor Noah. Picture: David Ritchie, African News Agency (ANA).

Trevor Noah. Picture: David Ritchie, African News Agency (ANA).

Published Sep 8, 2023


The Tourism Business Council of South Africa (TBCSA) has confirmed talks with South African-born, US-based stand-up comedian Trevor Noah and other local superstars to market South Africa in key source markets.

However, the council has not divulged how much the international star will be paid for this campaign.

This comes after Parliament’s portfolio committee on tourism revealed yesterday that Noah was set to be paid R33 million for a 5-minute video advert promoting South Africa to key international markets.

Speaking on the final day of the Tourism Leadership Conference in Sun City this morning, TBCSA CEO Tshifhiwa Tshivhengwa said this was part of their campaign to ramp up tourist arrivals to more than 15 million by 2030.

“TBCSA has been in talks with renowned comedian Trevor Noah and other personalities, to collaborate with us on campaigns that will create a wider presence for destination South Africa to international markets,” Tshivhengwa said.

“This is in line with the sector’s ambition to grow tourism arrivals in the country to 15.6 million over the next decade. If and when the parties ultimately agree on a common strategy, the deal will be wholly funded by TBCSA.”

In response to the Noah issue, Minister of Tourism Patricia de Lille clarified that the R33m was a contribution from TBCSA and that no government money would be spent on the venture.

TBCSA is the umbrella organisation representing the unified voice of business in the hospitality, travel, and tourism sector.

However, committee chairperson Tandi Mahambehlala compared the Noah deal with the controversial R1 billion plan to sponsor an advertising campaign linked to the Tottenham Hotspur football team, and called for a stop to the plan.

Mahambehlala warned South African Tourism (SAT) that the levies paid by the TBCSA to SAT should not be used as a slush fund to commit financial malfeasance.

The committee discovered that there was no consultation between De Lille and Springboks captain Siya Kolisi to feature in promotions on international platforms despite him being the New Global Brand Advocate for South African Tourism, although the contract is not fraudulent.

Meanwhile, Tshivhengwa insisted that there were initiatives that the Council will be funding into the future.

Tshivhengwa said there were many projects in the pipeline, including marketing projects, to harness local talent across the globe to lift the brand of South Africa to the next level.

“And those are the projects that we are proud of, whether it's sports stars, whether it's comedians, whether it's musicians, we will embark on a project that will make things better for us and would market ourselves overseas,” he said.

“So we'll be doing a lot more projects, we are determined to complete them. We will be funding those projects from our side, and we'll make sure that they succeed.

“And those projects are aimed at stimulating demand in those markets, and it is something that we'll continue to do working together with our partners from the department, the minister, and the provinces.

“That is something that we're going to continue to do. So there's going to be a lot of noise about things. Let's ignore the noise. Let's focus on the work at hand.”