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8 May 2013

South Africa’s heritage and culture tourist attractions take centre stage at INDABA 2013 with launch of exciting new Heritage Pavilion

South Africa’s iconic attractions such as Robben Island, Table Mountain, the Apartheid Museum, Soweto’s Vilakazi Street and the wide expanse of the Kruger National Park were huge attractions on the ‘must-do’ list for the well over nine million international tourists who visited South Africa last year.

Thulani Nzima, South African Tourism CEO Thulani Nzima, South African Tourism CEO

“INDABA 2013 is going to be the INDABA that unlocks the enormous potential of our richly diverse, fascinating and warm hospitable culture; our intriguing stories; our history; and that unique combination of people and place that makes South Africa such an extraordinary and unique destination,” Thulani Nzima, South African Tourism Chief Executive Officer.

South Africa’s iconic attractions such as Robben Island, Table Mountain, the Apartheid Museum, Soweto’s Vilakazi Street and the wide expanse of the Kruger National Park were huge attractions on the ‘must-do’ list for the well over nine million international tourists who visited South Africa last year.

This country’s beauty, abundant wildlife, fascinating history, and culture are major tourist attractions that have grown globally to become iconic, ‘must do’ places and experiences. Tourist arrivals to South Africa last year grew by more than ten percent, making South Africa one of the most successful destinations in the world.

At INDABA 2013, South Africa’s rich heritage and culture tourist offering, and the people and the stories behind these attractions, will be brought into the mainstream of the country’s tourism value proposition with the ‘South Africa Heritage and Culture Pavilion’ making its debut at the show this year.

The Pavilion is a collaboration between the National Department of Tourism and South African Tourism; in partnership with the Moja Heritage Collection, who have joined forces to make lifestyle, heritage and culture tourism experiences more easily accessible to the global traveler.

A sampling of 20 Moja Heritage Collection products will be represented in the Heritage and Culture Pavilion, which will be located at the Durban Exhibition Centre. The area will importantly be a working space, giving international buyers (a record number of whom are expected at INDABA this year) a place to meet and do business with the cream of South Africa’s heritage and culture tourism products.

Moja has more than 100 heritage and culture experiences on its database and is the single richest representation of the wealth of these kinds of experiences available for tourists in South Africa. A first at INDABA, the Pavilion is set to be every delegate’s one-stop destination for the best kaleidoscope of heritage and culture experiences, products and offerings in South Africa.

“The rationale behind the aesthetic and vivid spectacle of the ‘South Africa Heritage Pavilion’ is informed by a set of policy positions and strategy frameworks of the National Department of Tourism, particularly the National Tourism Sector Strategy (2011), National Heritage and Cultural Tourism Strategy (2012), as well as the National Rural Tourism Strategy (2012). Collectively, these policies and strategies continue to create an enabling environment to unlock the tourism potential of a diverse range of products and offerings, which set South Africa apart as a globally competitive destination,” said Leonore Beukes, the Chief Director: Southern Regions at the National Department of Tourism.

“INDABA 2013 is going to be the INDABA that unlocks the enormous potential of our richly diverse, fascinating and warm hospitable culture; our intriguing stories; our history; and that unique combination of people and place that makes South Africa such an extraordinary and unique destination, and one of the fastest growing and most popular holiday destinations in the world today,” says South African Tourism Chief Executive Officer, Thulani Nzima.

The Pavilion will be a celebration of South Africa’s eight UNESCO World Heritage sites and will epitomise the wealth of lifestyle and culture experiences that South Africa offers. It will give a rich peek into the soul of the destination: its design; food; warm and typically welcoming hospitality; uniquely South African laid back yet elegant sense of style; and its unique heritage and culture attractions that wait to be explored.

It will also bring to vivid, colourful life the mandate of the National Department of Tourism’s Heritage and Culture Strategy, that was launched last year, and which gave the South African travel and tourism industry direction to unlock the immense economic potential of heritage and culture tourism.

“The unique majestic setting and physical location of the World Heritage Sites, chiefly in untapped prime rural and semi-urban economies, resonates with the strategic choices of the NDT of initiating programmes and projects that seek to respond to the national outcomes and priorities of Government, namely economic development and job creation, rural development and regional Integration. In this context, it is crucial that tourism serves as a catalyst to unlock the socio-economic potential of heritage and cultural tourism products for sustainable livelihood at local community level,” said Beukes.

Currently, the United Nations World Tourism Organisation estimates that about 40 percent of all global tourists are people in search of culture and heritage experiences. And it’s a number that grows steadily all the time making it an extremely potent economic engine providing for a wide range of entrepreneurial opportunities for people in the arts and crafts industries; in the promotion (and protection) of the cultural landscape; in culture festivals and in heritage sites; in design and in a plethora of other leisure tourism experiences and pursuits.

The INDABA 2013 Heritage and Culture Pavilion will reflect the rich and fascinating way of doing things in South Africa: from a huge tree under which exhibitors and buyers will gather to meet and enjoy a sample of this country’s fantastic food and wine; to work by some of our country’s most celebrated fashion designers and up and coming students, showcasing designs inspired by South Africa’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites. South African artists will also be present at the Pavilion, working interactively on pieces inspired by the destination.

Delegates entering the Pavilion will be met first with street and beach art sculpture that resonates with the spirit of the destination.

South Africa’s eight UNESCO World Heritage Sites are:

Cradle of Humankind (bestowed its status in 1999), Mapungubwe Cultural Landscape (2003), Robben Island (1999), Cape Floral Region (2004), Isimangaliso Wetland Park (1999), Vredefort Dome (2005) and the uKhahlamba/Drakensberg Park (2000) and the Richtersveld Cultural and Botanical Landscape (2007).

The Moja Heritage Collection is a booklet and website which features the widest possible variety of heritage and culture experiences, which is distributed around the world to the global travel trade in each of South African Tourism’s 16 key markets.