3 September 2012

South Africans encouraged to take a break

South Africa’s National Tourism Month was officially launched this morning at the Getaway Show by Tourism Minister Marthinus van Schalkwyk.

Minister Marthinus van Schalkwyk Minister Marthinus van Schalkwyk at the launch of Tourism Month 2012.

When domestic tourism grows, we create a nation of tourism ambassadors who are knowledgeable and speak positively about our destination, who warmly welcome foreign tourists, and are helpful when they meet visitors.

Well-travelled locals can easily and confidently recommend to both foreign tourists and fellow South Africans the best places to visit in South Africa for the best local experiences.

Tourism Month 2012 was launched at The Getaway Show in Johannesburg earlier today, and the message from Minister of Tourism Marthinus van Schalkwyk is clear – South Africans must be encouraged to travel their own country to get a better understanding of the incredible (and affordable) experiences on their doorstep.

Van Schalkwyk pointed out that domestic tourism is a major driver of South Africa’s economic growth and contributed R20,2-billion to the national economy last year.

'When domestic tourism grows, we create a nation of tourism ambassadors who are knowledgeable and speak positively about our destination, who warmly welcome foreign tourists, and are helpful when they meet visitors. Well-travelled locals can easily and confidently recommend to both foreign tourists and fellow South Africans the best places to visit in South Africa for the best local experiences,' he said.

At the launch, the minister announced the release of nearly 2,5-million special offers available to the South African public during September – aimed at making local holidays affordable and accessible.

Thulani Nzima, CEO of South African Tourism, is thrilled at the variety of the special offer travel vouchers available to South Africans and said the industry had certainly come to the party in terms of giving substantial discounts on attractions and activities during Tourism Month.

In an interview with a local radio station, Nzima said: 'It’s very important that we encourage South Africans to travel South Africa like tourists in their own country. It is also important that we extend the very same experiences that millions who come to South Africa for, year in and year out. We want to show that South Africa is affordable for them to go to on holiday without having to take a plane and go elsewhere.'

The special offer vouchers will be handed out to the thousands of visitors expected at the Getaway Show at the Coca-Cola Dome in Northgate, Johannesburg from 31 August to 2 September 2012.

An additional 4 400 vouchers will be distributed on South African Tourism’s VayaMzansi Facebook page, www.facebook.com/vayamzansi, as part of the organisation’s “VayaMzansi, It’s Here” domestic tourism campaign.

The United Nations World Travel Organisation's World Tourism Day takes place on 27 September 2012. South Africa's World Tourism Day celebrations will take place on the same day in the Eastern Cape, while all nine provinces will mark Tourism Month with a range of activities and events throughout the month of September.