WATCH: Mzansi reacts to controversial ‘R34m’ Trevor Noah ad inviting tourist to ‘Come to SA’

South African comedian Trevor Noah. Picture: Instagram

South African comedian Trevor Noah. Picture: Instagram

Published Nov 12, 2023


“Welcome to South Africa”. Well, that’s according to South African international export and comedian, Trevor Noah.

The controversial advert, created in collaboration with the Tourism Business Council of South Africa (TBCSA) and Tourism Marketing South Africa (TOMSA), went live on Friday morning.

It features Noah comically answering questions on why tourists should choose Mzansi as a travel destination.

“Hi, I’m Trevor Noah and I’m South African. And because I’m South African people from all over the world insist on asking me questions about South Africa. So...I decided to make an ad to answer some of those fascinating questions,” said Noah.

Noah goes on to humorously provide reasons on why travellers should visit South Africa.

The video ad also highlights Mzansi’s beautiful landscape, activities to do and the best the country has to offer, including its weather and wildlife.

The marketing campaign was created to sell South Africa as a tourist destination to foreign markets but it has since received mixed reactions as a result of its alleged R34m price tag.

The advert trended on X on Friday morning with Tweeps sharing their views on the matter.

Acclaimed South African media personality Anele Mdoda, who is also a close friend of Noah’s, took to the social media platform to post the ad with the caption: “Come to South Africa”.

By mid-morning on Friday, it received around 873K views.

Some of the reactions on X included a comment by @MR__NT__QS, who posted: “Was all this for R34m?”

@MonwabisiKete added: “We are surrounded with so much beauty! 🇿🇦❤️🌻.”

@unclescrooch wrote: “The Best Country in the World!😊💯🇿🇦.”

— 𝗢𝗳𝗲𝗻𝘁𝘀𝗲 𝗠𝘄𝗮𝘀𝗲 🔥🚀 (@unclescrooch) November 9, 2023

Meanwhile, South African entrepreneur and seasoned traveller Mark Sham also took to X to call for the feedback on the controversial ad.

“I'd love to hear your thoughts. Do you think this ad will help bring more foreign tourists to South Africa?,” a part of his post read.

He added that he stood behind “any entity that wishes to activate South Africa as a tourist destination.”

“I have been quite vocal that the money could be better spent creating a more consistent campaign over an entire year, rather than a single blast.

“But I also don't want to be sour. I want to see the ad succeed in which case more tourists visit our shores. But again, I'd love to hear your thoughts.”

— Mark Sham (@MarkSham) November 10, 2023

Tourism Business Council CEO, Tshifhiwa Tshivhengwa, rubbished claims that R34 million rand was used on the advert and maintained that as the celebrity face for the campaign or the talent, Noah received far less.

He said the advert is part of an ongoing “Best of Us” media campaign to attract international travellers into the country and that in the grand scheme of things, the advert is not meant for the South African market or domestic consumption.

Tshivhengwa said he does not know where the hefty price tag originated from and thus far, they have paid for the talent (including Noah), creatives and writers, film production and media buy when it comes to the advert which is less than rumoured.

He said the campaign is still costing them as the next step on this campaign trail is to buy distribution for the advert in international markets which is far more expensive and calculated in dollars, pounds and euros.

Tshivhengwa also highlighted that his organisation is a private organisation that reports to shareholders and that the funding of the campaign is private with no use of the public or taxpayers money.

He pointed out that the use of Noah as the talent also exposes the advert and campaign to international travellers.

“Trevor Noah is a true South African at heart and having him as the voice of the South African tourism sector will have great benefits for the sector.

“He is a global brand loved by people all over the world, and his partnership with the TBCSA is a major coup. I am confident that Trevor will help us to position South Africa as the destination of choice for global travellers,” said Tshivhengwa.

He also stated that in their goal of attracting 21 million visitors to South Africa, this campaign is one of many campaigns as they hope to do more in the future