South Africa Celebrates World Tourism Day with a Commitment to reignite Domestic Travel
South Africa joined the globe in celebrating World Tourism Day today with festivities at Maropeng’s Cradle of Humankind in the western corridor of the Gauteng Province.
World Tourism Day is a United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) initiative observed annually on 27 September to highlight the sector’s contribution to the socio–economic development of nations, and the advancement of the global Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).
Themed ‘Rural Development and Tourism,’ the celebrations highlighted the significant role the domestic tourism market will play in reigniting the sector, especially in spearheading tourism in lesser-visited rural communities in all nine provinces.
“Today’s celebration is a testament that the tourism industry is able to host an event in a safe manner under the current Covid- 19 pandemic.”
“As we navigate a path to recovery, and gradually re-open our borders to safely welcome international visitors, we urge South Africans to travel and explore their country responsibly,” said Tourism Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane.
The tourism industry is one of the largest economic sectors in the world – creating jobs, driving exports and generating prosperous local economies. According to the UNWTO, the industry contributed 10.4% to the global GDP and created 319 million jobs in 2018.
The UNWTO’s May 2020 extended scenarios on tourism growth predict that the market will rebound in mid-2021 based on assumptions of a reversal in the evolution of the Covid-19 Pandemic. Minister Kubayi-Ngubane said she remains hopeful that South Africa’s domestic market would have gained strides in recovery, providing an amicable environment for inclusive and sustainable growth.
“Our authentic heritage and cultural experiences have been a draw card for international visitors for many years. Although a large number of employment opportunities have in the past been driven by international tourist arrivals, we believe that these jobs, and those yet to be created, will be sustained by the renewed strength of our domestic tourism markets.”
“As we work towards rebuilding the sector, we will pursue increased marketing efforts to encourage South Africans to explore the country so we can grow sustainable local economies.”
“Our industry is also laden with the potential to re-ignite opportunities for new entrants. We are confident that through the Tourism Recovery Plan, we will pave a way to realising those opportunities for many South Africans”
“I encourage you to explore your country, embrace your heritage and help us re-build our local economies to usher in the benefits we envisioned when we fought for our democracy,” concluded Minister Kubayi-Ngubane.
The Cradle of Humankind hosted a day-long global event that featured internationally-acclaimed and award-winning DJ, Black Coffee, who entertained global fans with a unique two-hour set from the Sterkfontein Caves that was broadcast live on DSTV Channel O. The electrifying Busiswa and Master KG concluded the celebrations in style inspiring attendees to hit the dance floor in response to President Cyril Ramphasa’s call to join the #JerusalemaDanceChallenge.