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7 August 2012

Limpopo Tourism rolls out regional domestic tourism campaign

The aim of the Limpopo Tourism Agency’s marketing campaign, ‘It’s Here With Us ... Limpopo’ is to instill a culture of travel in the inhabitants of Limpopo and thereby grow domestic tourism.

At the 'Tour with Us' launch, from left: Seipati Tlaka (acting CEO, Limpopo Tourism), Pinky Kekana (Limpopo Tourism MEC), Tokozile Xasa (Deputy Tourism Minister) and Clr Lois Hardy (Polokwane municipality) at the Tour with Us launch. At the 'Tour with Us' launch: Seipati Tlaka, Pinky Kekana, Tokozile Xasa and Lois Hardy.

Lulama Tshabalala, LTA executive: tourism marketing, The campaign has been designed to grow domestic tourism and instil a love of travel among Limpopo’s inhabitants.

In response to South African Tourism’s domestic tourism campaign, ‘Whatever You Are Looking For, It’s Here’, the Limpopo Tourism Agency (LTA) rolled out its regional domestic tourism campaign, 'It’s Here With Us … Limpopo’.

Kickstarted in Polokwane on 6 August 2012, the campaign has 3 key elements. ‘Tour with Us’, encourages inhabits of Limpopo, South Africa and neighbouring countries to experience the province. ‘Celebrate with Us’ invites the people of Limpopo to celebrate various provincial events such as the Marula Festival, and the Mapungubwe Arts and Culture Festival. ‘Play with Us’ calls on people to support provincial sports activities to grow sports tourism.

Lulama Tshabalala, LTA executive: tourism marketing, said the campaign had specifically been designed as a way to grow domestic tourism and instill a love of travel among Limpopo’s inhabitants.

This year, LTA’s 2012 edition of the Limpopo Wildlife Resorts Women’s Expedition, which is held annually in Women’s Month (August) to celebrate National Women’s Day (9 August), chose the theme, ‘From Classroom to Bush’. LTA invited tourism teachers from Limpopo schools to tour the province with them. They were joined by the national deputy minister of tourism, Tokozile Xasa.

Tshabalala said the idea is to enable tourism teachers in Limpopo to experience the varied products and adventures Limpopo has to offer. ‘Nothing beats 1st-hand knowledge when you’re a tourism educator. We also want them to take their tourism experiences back to their families and communities so that they can motivate others to go exploring and seek out tourism experiences,’ she commented.

The 10 teachers from Limpopo’s 5 districts learnt how to manoeuvre 4-wheel drive vehicles over hilly terrain at the Polokwane 4x4 training site. They went tree-canopying in Magoebaskloof, and visited the Lekgalametsi Nature Reserve where they sought out game. At Flag Boshielo Dam at Schuinsdraai they were taught to fish. They enjoyed bird watching in the famous Nylsvlei Nature Reserve, and learnt to play golf at Euphoria Golf Estate, where they also enjoyed a rejuvenating massage.

The group stayed in government-owned Limpopo Wildlife Resorts accommodation. The resorts are 2 and 3-star establishments complete with adventure activities and conference facilities. ‘These resorts are ideal for those on a tight budget who seek to explore the wonders of the province or host meetings and events,’ said Tshabalala.

LTA acting CEO, Seipati Tlaka, said the domestic tourism campaign would be rolled out over 3 years so that the campaign’s return on investment can be measured. As a next step the LTA is taking school kids on tours throughout the province.

The launch of the women’s expedition coincided with the roll-out of the domestic tourism campaign and Polokwane’s hop on-hop-off bus ‘Tour with Us’. The bus will operate 2 routes through Polokwane, the capital city of Limpopo, from Monday to Friday, stopping at various places of interest in city.

Xasa joined tourist stakeholders on an inaugural bus tour of the city. For the remainder of the week, Polokwane’s residents, from schoolchildren to the elderly, will be given the opportunity to hop on and off the bus and explore the city’s attractions for free.

Reflecting on the role of women in tourism, Xasa told a packed conference venue at the Peter Mokaba Stadium in Polokwane: ‘We have a responsibility to increase awareness about the important economic role that women play in the tourism industry.

‘The tourism sector provides various entry points for women’s employment and opportunities for creating self employment in small and medium-sized income generating activities. We therefore need to equip them with necessary knowledge and skills so that the industry may continue to flourish and produce more entrepreneurs,’ she said.

She added that it was government’s dream to see women graduating from SMME status, owning internationally renowned luxury hotels and operating major inbound and outbound tour operator businesses.