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UUpington wins bid to host the 4th “Pride of Mzansi LGBT+ Masterclass”

Upington is the third small town to win the bid to host a National Association meeting” as part of the National Association Meeting Framework

South Africa National Conventions Bureau (SANCB) is proud to announce the town of Upington as the host of the fourth Pride of Mzansi LGBT+ Masterclass taking place from 15 to 20 November at Upington Protea Hotel. Upington is located on the banks of the Orange River and is sometimes referred to as the Northern Cape’s “river city and has an International Airport with daily flights between Johannesburg and Cape Town. It is a contrasting sight of lush emerald green vineyards against the semi desert reds of the Kalahari Desert. As the closest major centre to the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, the town is seen as the gateway to the Kalahari Desert, a region that is home to a number of Khoi, San and Nama people.


This is the third conference to be hosted under the recently launched National Association Project which aims to Spread the Economic Benefits of hosting, conferences and meetings in smaller towns and villages. Through this project, the SANCB has identified 27 villages, townships and small dorpies (VTSDs), three places in each of the nine provinces, to host National Association meetings and conferences.


So far, the National Association Project has successfully hosted the 10th Annual Girls and Bafana Friendly Society (GBFS) conference which took place in Xhariep District Municipality in the Free State Province from 30 September to 2 October 2021; and this was followed by the Environmental Assessment Practitioners Association of South Africa (EAPASA) Strategic Conference which took place from 28 to 29 October at the Royal Marang Hotel in Phokeng, Rustenburg. 


We launched the National Association Project because we want to encourage local based associations, federations and societies to look deeper into our beautiful country and consider rotating their national meetings and conferences across all nine provinces of South Africa, thereby spreading the economic impact of local meetings and conferences to villages, townships and small dorpies. This will usher in new opportunities for entrepreneurs and any tourism business owners in the area.” Said Ms Amanda Kotze-Nhlapo, Chief Convention Bureau Officer of the SANCB


LGBTQ tourism isn’t just growing at an incredible pace – it is expanding outwards, too. This niche segment can be a powerful vehicle for economic development, social inclusion and the competitiveness of tourism destinations.


Industry players have a lot to gain by catering to the LGBTQ community. Aside from the economic advantages of the pink dollar, creating a more inclusive tourism sector has broader social benefits.


South Africa is regarded as the gay capital of Africa, this year marks 31 years since the first-ever pride march in Mzansi. On October 15,1990, South Africa's first Lesbian and Gay Pride march was held in Joburg.


It was the first Pride march on the continent and acted as both a gay pride event and an anti-apartheid march. Ever since then, South Africa made a pledge to continue to welcome all diverse travelers while positioning the country as a travel destination of choice for the LGBT+ Community.


It is for this reason that South Africa National Convention Bureau (SANCB) together with the Northern Cape Tourism Authority are proud to partner with the Ntsako Travel Africa to host the fourth Pride of Mzansi LGBT+ Masterclass and Campaigns, which precedes the LGBT+ Travel Symposium which is set to take place in Krugersdorp in March 2022. 


The Masterclass is taking place in November to coincide with the anniversary of the month in which the same-sex bill was passed into Law. It will take place in a hybrid format and the number of delegates allowed into the venue will be limited to ensure strict adherence to COVID-19 protocols.


The programme is jam packed and promises to be very educational. Delegates will be engaged on interesting topics such as;

  • Understanding Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity & Expression (SOGGIE): Addressing Implicit and Unconscious Bias.
  • Tourism being an equality marker in the persecution of LGBT People Globally (Related to rise in LGBT Migrants)
  • Economic impact of Pride events and case study on South Africa


The Masterclass seeks to;

  • Augment LGBT+ in-destination efforts in the LGBT+ Tourism space
  • Educate in-destination trade, media and enable sectors on the advent of the LGBT+ travel niche locally, how to create a compelling value proposition, manage and retain the LGBT+ travel niche in the destination.
  • Showcase host city through in-person experience and ensuring locals benefit from the pink rand
  • Creating strategic alliances for the destination players and relevant international LGBT+ trade specialists.
  • To provide latest results from post-COVID-19 traveler ready surveys on LGBT+ travel.
  • To discuss ways and means on how trade and media need to embrace diversity and inclusion in order to be LGBT+ market ready
  • Creating the media marketing content collateral through the curation campaign in the destination
  • Quantify the value of LGBT+ travel into the destination based the global value of annual travel of the segment set at US$215 billion.


The Northern Cape Province is delighted to host 75 delegates in the town of Upington. Already established as a same-sex couple friendly destination, South Africa was the first country in the world to safeguard sexual orientation as a human right in its Constitution. It was also the fifth country in the world and the first in Africa to legalise same-sex marriage. Many the country’s cities have plenty of clubs, pubs, venues and establishments that cater for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer community.


The Managing Director of Ntsako Travel Africa, Lipian Bongani Mtandabari said, “we are proud to steer this campaign to change attitudes and address the topic of Diversity and Inclusion in the Rainbow Nation as we reflect on the evolution of our society and our World, a world that Madiba envisioned and worked so hard to achieve.


Celebrating our identity and reserving the right to live in our truth is the essence behind this campaign and we look forward to a time when the tourism and hospitality sector is LGBT+ diverse, inclusive and LGBT+ ready” Mtandabari concludes.


Note to editors


The South Africa National Convention Bureau is a business unit of SA Tourism and is mandated to market South Africa as a preferred destination to host meetings, conventions, conferences and trade exhibitions- big or small.

About Ntsako Travel Africa:

Ntsako Travel Africa is a Pan African LGBT+ Travel and Tourism Specialist with extensive market footprint in North and South America, Europe and beyond. The primary focus and objectives of the company is to showcase, enhance and promote Africa as a destination of choice to the valuable LGBT+ market locally, regionally and internationally. South Africa has the established infrastructure and social maturity for this niche based on the trends and milestones the country has achieved since the adoption of the current constitution.

Ntsako Travel Africa is the brand owner of the ‘#PrideOfMzansi’ LGBT+ tourism campaign. This includes the Pride of Mzansi LGBT+ Travel Masterclass. The company has three business units that specialize in the full range of traditional travel services; Diversity & Inclusion and Research, Business development and Quality Assurance. The latter being the MICE business unit that is responsible for all lobbying, bidding and organization of International business and association meetings, conferences and events in South Africa.



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