Pic: David Burstein

The United Nations has designated 2017 the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development. In South Africa and the Northern Cape, the theme adopted is “We do tourism sustainably”. This provides an enormous opportunity for the destination to harness the contribution of tourism to economic growth, social inclusion, cultural and environmental preservation, mutual understanding and an ongoing contribution to job creation and the well-being of all communities within the Northern Cape.

The Northern Cape Tourism Authority (NCTA) further sees this period as a time for reflection. We need to consider the state of tourism within our province, look at our strategic approach to tourism, and evaluate the quality and the diversity of our tourism experiences. We further need to consider global tourism trends and find opportunities to leverage those to encourage the continued growth of visitor arrivals and spend by both our domestic and international target markets.

The statistics provided by the national ‘We Do Tourism’ road shows, highlighted that international arrivals to our country have exceeded 10 million visitors, who spent in excess R75,5 billion. While this is encouraging, we need to work hard to achieve the goal of an additional 5 million in the next 5 years, as recently announced by our National Minister of Tourism. Not only must we keep pace with the rest of the world consistently, we must aim to out-grow the rest of the world.

In order to achieve this, to remain competitive and realise our vision of positioning the Northern Cape as a desirable year-round destination for both domestic and international visitors, we must combine the efforts of all stakeholders: the public- and private sector, those who contributed directly and those who contribute indirectly, those directly employed in the tourism sector, as well as every single person living within the Northern Cape, because tourism is everyone's business.

Our future successes will depend on strong collaboration with our tourism trade industry partners, our local government partners and strong support from the provincial and national tourism departments. It is through our combined efforts that we can assure that tourism benefits all communities within the Northern Cape.

"The Northern Cape is the perfect destination to celebrate Tourism Month. We invite families and friends to take advantage of our special offers, discover and enjoy our unique tourism experiences, explore our off-the-beaten track towns, hidden gems and events for true Northern Cape flavour and warm hospitality", says Mr Colin Fortune, Chairperson of the Northern Cape Tourism Authority.