South African Tourism looks to fashion as carrier of SA flag
As fashion emerges as the next frontier in tourism, South Africa looks within the country’s fashions and fashion week events as allies in boosting the country’s tourism profile.
Fashion, a long-standing and vocal element of a country’s cultural heritage and identity, has been given a boost as one of the most important aspects of tourism, following sports, music and leisure.
Earlier this year, Thandiwe January-McLean, Chief Executive Officer of South African Tourism said that it makes perfect sense for South African Tourism to support the various exciting fashion initiatives:
“South Africans have recently shown that we are world leaders in engineering, construction, event organisation, technological advancement and innovation and now it’s the turn of our fashion industry to showcase its world-class qualities. We, at South African Tourism, are committed to supporting our fashion industry in its attempts to rival the likes of Paris, Milan and New York in the global fashion stakes. That is why in 2011 we will be supporting the Joburg, Cape Town and Africa Fashion Weeks.”
Given this national support and recognition by the country’s leading body in tourism, African Fashion International (AFI), owners and organisers of the country’s premium fashion weeks (Joburg Fashion Week, Cape Town Fashion Week and Africa Fashion Week) have keenly responded to the massive support by South African Tourism.
This past February, with the incredible support and assistance from South African Tourism and the Joburg Tourism Company, AFI took to the city centre to host one of the largest fashion weeks by far. Various locations around the City of Joburg were used as fashion week venues, exposing attendees, some of which were non-South Africans, to the hidden gems of Jo’burg.
“Joburg Fashion Week 2011 proved to be a successful exercise of highlighting our city’s tourist attractions. Starting with the media launch at Randlords, where a 360 view of the city exposed people to a dazzling galaxy of its skyline. As our fashion week venues, we used the vibrant Fashion Kapitol, the historical Bus Factory, the artistic Joburg Art Gallery, the architectural Rand Club and the quintessentially iconic Nelson Mandela Bridge, all of which enjoyed immense media coverage,” says Dr. Precious Moloi-Motsepe, Chairperson of African Fashion International.
Believing that fashion tourism can be just the beacon Africa needs to promote the beauty of the continent and its cosmopolitan cities, Dr. Moloi-Motsepe further said:
“If we look at Africa Fashion Week alone, we bring in a creative influx of fashion people. Designers come with their crews and we also bring in media and buyers from other parts of the world so that they could come and witness the beauty of our continent and its creative spirit. We expose them to an Africa they’ve never imagined, changing the misperception of an antiquated continent.”
It is reported that in the past five years since the inception of African Fashion International, the 250 000 visitors who have attended AFI fashion weeks account for an over R45m spend.
The number above attests to the value and significant input fashion weeks contribute to the overall tourism industry.
This July, African Fashion International will continue in the spirit of fashion tourism as they host the 2011 Spring/Summer collections at select locations around a city that’s renowned as one of the top travel destinations around the world: Cape Town.
From July 9 and 12-16, Cape Town will play host to an influx of fashion people as they descend upon the Mother City to witness local fashions against a majestic backdrop.
For more information on African Fashion International and Joburg, Cape Town and Africa Fashion Weeks, pls visit www.afi.za.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
For information on South African Tourism, please visit www.southafrica.net and for information on Joburg Tourism, log on to www.joburgtourism.com and for Cape Tourism, visit www.tourismcapetown.co.za