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11 May 2013

Tourism minister announces plans to transform INDABA and grow tourism

Minister of Tourism Marthinus van Schalkwyk announced plans to grow and expand INDABA into a pan-African trade platform at the opening ceremony of INDABA 2013.

Minister of Tourism Marthinus van Schalkwyk Minister of Tourism Marthinus van Schalkwyk speaking at the INDABA 2013 opening ceremony.

To truly deliver on tourism’s promise, conditions have to be created that make the tourism experience and the country’s treasures accessible and affordable to a much greater share of South Africa’s population. – South African Minister of Tourism Marthinus van Schalkwyk.

Van Schalkwyk said developing South African Tourism's premier tourism trade event, INDABA, into a pan-African trade platform would ensure more exhibitors and more buyers at INDABA, which would be good for South Africa and the African continent. 

'As part of our growth and expansion plans, we will gradually be increasing African participation at INDABA in 2014 and beyond. We can tangibly strengthen the African tourism industry through mutually beneficial 'coopetition',  which brings out the best in all of us through cooperation and healthy competition on our continent. As Africans, let’s not resent each other's success, but instead, let's grow from each other's success,' he said. 

The 2013/2014 financial year will also see South African Tourism (SAT) roll out a global hub strategy, created to effectively delivery the destination marketing message, with a wider reach than ever before.

‘To further bolster growth, we have identified core markets, investment markets and tactical markets across regional Africa, the Americas, Europe, Asia and Australia. In the coming year, South African Tourism will open offices in Brazil, Angola, Kenya and Nigeria, while also expanding its marketing presence and partnerships with the trade in South Korea, Russia, Scandinavia, Shanghai in China, Uganda, Ghana and Tanzania,’ he said.

Van Schalkwyk emphasised the importance of the domestic tourism market, which contributed R101-billion to the South African economy in 2011, and made up three-quarters of all tourists in the country.

He also highlighted two key objectives of the National Tourism Sector Strategy: the need to increase domestic tourism’s contribution to GDP and to promote a culture of travel among South Africans.

To this end, SAT will launch a new domestic tourism marketing campaign in September, that will target a broad cross-section of the South African population.

‘To truly deliver on tourism's promise, conditions have to be created that make the tourism experience and the country’s treasures accessible and affordable to a much greater share of South Africa’s population,’ he said.

Van Schalkwyk also announced that in partnership with the Industrial Development Corporation, an audit of under-utilised state assets and properties had been commissioned, that could be developed into tourist attractions and facilities. A feasibility study for a pilot budget resort chain has also been commissioned that will be aimed at the under-served market segment of would-be travellers earning less than R5000 per month.

‘The time has come to remove the final barriers to fully unlock our country’s tourism treasures and the intrinsic value of travel for all South Africans, thereby bolstering our contribution to job creation and poverty alleviation,’ he commented.

He concluded by announcing that South Africa would celebrate 20 years of tourism in South Africa alongside the celebration of 20 years of freedom and democracy in the country in the months leading up to Freedom Day on 27 April 2014.

‘At next year’s Tourism INDABA, we will recognise South Africa’s top 200 trade partners for their contribution to our industry over the past 20 years. We will also honour the winners of the Emerging Tourism Entrepreneur of the Year Award over the years, with a focus on learning from what they continue to achieve,' he concluded.