Amapiano contributes to tourism in the country
Dj Maphorisa & Kabza De Small in Johannesburg in October 2021. Photo: Oupa Bopape/Gallo Images via Getty Images
The only way tourism can be sustained in South Africa is if it must first meet the needs of the domestic market and the African regional market.
However, when Covid-19 hit, the tourism industry in South Africa realized that it was too dependent on the overseas market and needed to restructure the way it did as international travel was banned.
Strengthening domestic tourism, making tourism accessible and cost structure are some of the things that will be discussed at a meeting with tourism businesses and government next week, according to SA Tourism Acting CEO Themba Khumalo.
Speaking to City Press on the sidelines of the launch of World Tourism Month at !Khwa ttu on the west coast, Western Cape on Sunday, Khumalo said one of the things that was missing was that there had been no of deliberate effort to educate the South African traveler on tips on how to travel and “get your rand stretched”.
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He noted that this might be one of the things that discourages ordinary locals from traveling as they might be put off by the prices.
However, the meeting aims to discuss how to attract more locals to start traveling and find affordable spaces to travel.
Khumalo also said the previous month that SA Tourism was going to major radio platforms to educate people in their language and in a context they could understand about travel. He told City Press that the agency will also partner with community media to spread the domestic tourism message.
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This year, World Tourism Day, which falls on September 27, is celebrated under the theme “Rethinking Tourism”. Speaking at the launch, Minister of Tourism Lindiwe Sisulu said the theme was fitting as the tourism industry was being overhauled following the harsh impact the pandemic has had on the sector:
This theme is also symbolic because as an industry, the pandemic has forced us to step back, rethink the industry as we know it, and ultimately, see how we are rebuilding it.
She said international and domestic figures were increasing and the sector was on the road to recovery, and the forecast was that the tourism sector would return to pre-Covid levels of activity in 2024.
According to Sisulu, American and European carriers are increasing their frequencies to Johannesburg and Cape Town as demand to come to South Africa increases. Between January and June, there was a 147% increase in international travel compared to 2021.
According to a tourism report from SA Tourism, the United States accounted for the bulk of arrivals with an increase of 321%.
Khumalo told City Press that the United States is “our fastest growing market, starting from international markets.” However, he said the UK and Germany remained the most important. Khumalo added that he believes, however, that in the coming years the United States will “become the biggest market” traveling to South Africa.
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He credited the amapiano musical genre as one of the reasons the country was seeing an influx, primarily, of the African-American community who he believed came to the country for the culture:
One of the reasons people travel to a destination is because they are drawn to the lifestyle there. And, they want to go to that place to find the source of that culture that they perceive from a distance. One of our biggest exports right now is amapiano music.
“So when your music and your fashion influences the world, the world goes to that country to find the source and why this country is so special and how they have innovated in terms of music and culture. And right now, l “South Africa is hot in terms of influence in the world. And that’s why we find every African-American music producer and filmmaker traveling to South Africa to come and experience the amapiano movement,” Khumalo said.
Sisulu and Khumalo also encouraged people to take advantage of the travel week, which runs from September 5 to September 11, where people will get a 50 percent discount on tourism products.
“It’s like the Black Friday of travel. It’s really about lowering prices so that we can ensure that during the festive season and even early next year, tourism becomes accessible to most of our fellow citizens. So we’re partnering with the private sector to make sure the prices have been lowered, and if people can go to the Shot’left website during that time, the prices are good. Now is the time to buy travel,” Khumalo said.