An event at the Vulintaba Country Estate to celebrate the Zulu kingdom. Pictures: MOTSHWARI MOFOKENG.

Inspiring visitors to travel around South Africa and encouraging their families and friends to do the same is driving Dream Hotels & Resorts’ efforts to contribute to South Africa’s #WeDoTourism campaign.

Launched earlier this year, the #WeDoTourism campaign aims to encourage tourism industry stakeholders in South Africa to create an inclusive environment and nationwide awareness and support for the tourism sector, which contributes 9.4% to South Africa’s GDP and employs some 1.6 million people.

“We have over 1000 staff members whose livelihood we support, but we also feel it is important that people who work in the tourism and hospitality sector are given an opportunity to travel and, as the campaign suggests, ‘do tourism’,” explains Sharmila Ragunanan, Group Marketing Manager for Dream Hotels & Resorts.

“We are therefore introducing a programme providing opportunities for our employees to take their families on holiday. This allows them to explore South Africa and experience first-hand what their guests are experiencing.”

Despite the tough economic environment, Dream believes it is essential that South Africans continue to travel domestically. “South African families must continue to explore the country so that we are not so heavily reliant on international visitors to reach our goal of 4% GDP growth every year.

“For every successful tourism destination in the world, we see a robust culture of domestic travel and this is key for the success of our tourism industry and its efforts to grow and create jobs,” says Ragunanan.

Vredefort Dome is the world’s largest and oldest known meteorite-impact site.

According to Ragunanan, Dream has a special focus on promoting affordable travel throughout South Africa. “We want to play an active role in promoting and stimulating travel and tourism to support the growth of South Africa’s economy. People from all walks of life experience the joy of travel through our properties and our main objective is to send as many people on a South African holiday as possible every year.”

As part of its initiative to participate in the #WeDoTourism campaign, Dream Hotels & Resorts has encouraged all its properties to contribute to the TOMSA levy. This is in addition to its ongoing contributions to Cape Town-based Christel House to transform the lives of impoverished children and efforts to encourage aspiring students to join the tourism and hospitality sector through studying at Dream Hotel School, an initiative between Sondela Academy and Dream Hotels & Resorts.

“Tourism is an important economic driver in South Africa. Not only is it one of the fastest-growing industries in the country, it has the potential to bring people together and foster mutual understanding. We want to encourage South Africans to take pride in their country and explore its diversity,” says Ragunanan.