South Africa’s dedication of the month of September to observe and promote the culture of travel under the campaign of Tourism Month (TM) was historically initiated by the travel and tourism private sector. This was initiated as a means to drive domestic tourism awareness and inculcate a culture of holiday/leisure travel amongst South Africans. 

This concept was later infused with the annual World Tourism Day (WTD) celebrations by the UN World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO). This particular event by the UNWTO takes place in a different country each year on the 27 September, and its objective is to shine the spotlight on the social, cultural, political and economic value of tourism globally.  The various member countries of the UNWTO are also encouraged to celebrate the event in their own countries, which is what South Africa does annually.

Incorporating WTD celebrations, the main objectives of TM is to foster a greater level of awareness amongst South Africans about the importance of domestic tourism, to showcase the country’s key tourism offerings and to encourage locals to travel their own country.  This is in a bid by the travel and tourism industry to address key sector imperatives of geographic spread, seasonality, increased length of stay and tourism spend. On Wednesday, 26 July, Minister of Tourism, Mme. Thokozile Xasa officially launched the 2017 Tourism Month campaign in the town of Dullstroom, Mpumalanga.

Here are some of the key highlights from the Minister’s speech:

  • The revised NDT 2020 strategy will go to Cabinet for approval at the end of August 2017. It aims to achieve over 200% growth in direct contribution to the 2015 GDP figure of R118bn, to R302bn in 2026.
  • The modest NDT budget of R2.1bn will mainly be used for marketing (53%). The remaining budget of R1.1bn will be distributed amongst Tourism Incentives, Expanded Public Works Programme, Destination Development and Enterprise Development programmes within the NDT.
  • Against the backdrop of the slow growth of the South African economy this year, increased unemployment figures and downgrade threats, the tourism sector is the solution to bringing about economic growth and employment creation.
  • To boost Domestic Tourism, NDT will work with key national and provincial partners and stakeholders to expose underprivileged South Africans to the country’s tourism offering. Click here to read the full speech.

Find out more about our Tourism Month activities in upcoming editions of the TBCSA This Travel & Tourism Week

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