'There's no way SA will be allowed to fail' - SA ambassador to Germany

There is no way SA will be allowed to fail, SA ambassador to Germany Stone Sizani said as he encouraged small businesses and key stakeholders of the tourism sector in their efforts to promote the country at a travel trade show which kicks off this week.

The ambassador was speaking at an event hosted by the SA embassy ahead of the 53rd edition Internationale Tourisms-Borse (ITB) world trade show, which starts on Wednesday in Berlin, Germany.

A total of 50 tourism products and services including small businesses and key stakeholders in SA's tourism industry will showcase what the country has to offer at the trade show. About 10 000 exhibitors from 180 countries will be represented at ITB this year, which will run from March 6 to March 10, 2018.

"Talk to them and tell them SA is a very beautiful country to come to, SA is a beautiful country to work in, South Africa is the place of opportunities to make money," Sizani told exhibitors.

As the ambassador Sizani said that team SA promotes South Africa as a safe place and which is beautiful and service orientated. "We also tell them service in SA is very good and available for free," he said.

"I tell everyone everyday that SA is good."

A total of 630 German companies operate in SA, and this number is growing with more knocking on SA's door following the investment conference last year Sizani said. "There is no way SA will be allowed to fail."

Speaking to journalists after his address, Sizani explained that having South Africans participate on a global platform like ITB was important to communicate the message that the country can sort out its problems.

"I believe SA is a place where if a common danger approaches us - despite our differences - we come together and join forces," he said.

"Many other countries would have swept the problems we are experiencing under the carpet, we are not doing that," Sizani added.

Similarly SA tourism CEO Sisa Ntshona encouraged exhibitors to "hold hands" and "deliver" because the tourism industry is competitive.

International tourist arrivals to SA grew by 1.8% in 2018 and reached 10.5 million. Ntshona said that the drought in Cape Town had significantly impacted the amount of tourist from Europe in the first six months of 2018, but the sector "fought back".

Ntshona joked that in his state of the nation address President Cyril Ramaphosa, doubled his key performance targets – as the president set a target to grow tourist arrivals to 21 million by 2030, and to have direct employees grow from 700 000 to 1.4 million.

"We need to keep an eye on the prize and put our best foot forward," he said.

*Fin24 is a guest of SA Tourism which is exhibiting in Berlin, Germany.

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