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TThe art of storytelling has infiltrated the tourism business space and allowed organisations to use interesting and engaging stories to boost economic impact. Travel stories created a space for businesses to entice international and local tourists to South Africa. If there is one thing people from the African continent are known for, it is the art of storytelling. Storytelling serves to keep history, culture, and the lineages of a people alive. It is an oral documentation of life, which could involve elements of stories, poetry, music and dance. 

In the African tradition, storytelling was a designated role for certain individuals, which was carried through in certain families from generation to generation. Well-known South African actress, poet and storyteller Gcina Mhlophe said storytelling brought about many opportunities for businesses.

“Travellers are searching for interesting stories and facts that will stay etched in their minds for a long time. Therefore, it is our duty to tell stories that people want to hear and ones that will make them want to pack their bags and visit South Africa,” she said.

Mhlophe said there was a big boost to domestic tourism due to the use of compelling storytelling through marketing campaigns.

Did You Know?
IIn the African tradition, storytelling was a designated role for certain individuals, which was carried through in certain families from generation to generation.

SShe said travellers were now saving their money to go on local getaways after hearing about the hidden gems certain places had to offer. “Storytelling has the opportunity to become a great economic tool for our country if more tourism businesses use it in their marketing initiatives,” she said.

EEntrepreneur and media consultant Kojo Baffoe agreed. He said storytelling - and its context - was important in today’s marketing space. “Whether it is a marketing or social perspective, storytelling is still at the heart of everything. While it is still evolving, storytelling has the potential to showcase our tourism offerings and its unique stories.

Baffoe said social media and the use of influencers has also played a great part in enhancing business opportunities for stakeholders.

Former Chief marketing officer for South African Tourism Margie Whitehouse, said their storytelling campaign, “Meet Bheki - the Mbhaco Maker”, has been a huge success.

The story follows Bheki, a designer from the Eastern Cape, as he makes his way through South Africa for inspiration for a wedding dress. On his journey, he enjoys many adventures with people from all walks of life. Whitehouse said the campaign helped to position South Africa as an attractive destination using ordinary people with extraordinary stories.

On his journey, he enjoys many adventures with people from all walks of life. Whitehouse said the campaign helped to position South Africa as an attractive destination using ordinary people with extraordinary stories

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