SA to celebrate 20 years of democracy

2013-05-13 08:34
Pretoria - In an effort to mark 20 years of freedom and democracy, the Tourism industry is planning a celebration of 20 years of tourism in the months leading up to Freedom Day on April 27, 2014.

The announcement was made by Tourism Minister Marthinus van Schalkwyk at the opening of the 2013 Tourism Indaba in Durban on Saturday.

“We have gained recognition across the globe as a capable, warm, friendly and accessible global mega-events destination.

“Therefore, we are planning a celebration of 20 years of tourism in the months leading up to Freedom Day on 27 April 2014,” he said.

Freedom Day is an annual celebration of South Africa's first non-racial democratic elections of 1994 and since the dawn of democracy, the country has been commemorating Freedom Day on 27 April every year.

Minister Van Schalkwyk said at next year’s Tourism Indaba, they will recognise South Africa’s top 200 trade partners for their contribution to the industry over the past 20 years.

“We will also honour all the Emerging Tourism Entrepreneur of the Year Award (ETEYA) winners over the years, with a focus on learning from what they continue to achieve.

“I look forward to continue taking the hands of all our partners as we celebrate 20 years of freedom and democracy and 20 years of tourism, and as we put our heads together to lay the foundation for another 20 years of new opportunities and fulfilling experiences,” he said.

The minister said tourism has taken its place as a vital contributor to economic growth, catapulting South Africa from a pariah prior to 1994, to one of the fastest-growing and most desired leisure holiday destinations in the world today.

In 1993, according to the minister, the country received just over 3.4 million international arrivals. “In 2012, we witnessed over 13 million international arrivals, of which some nine million were international tourists visiting our shores,” he said.

Van Schalkwyk also announced that the South African Tourism (SAT) will next year roll out a global hub strategy created to effectively deliver the destination marketing
message, with a wider reach than ever before.

“In the coming year, SAT will open fully-fledged offices in Brazil, Angola, Kenya and Nigeria, whilst also expanding its marketing presence and partnerships with the trade in South Korea, Russia, Scandinavia, and Shanghai in China, Uganda, Ghana and Tanzania,” he said.

To further bolster growth, he said government has identified core markets, investment markets and tactical markets across regional Africa, the Americas, Asia and Australasia, as well as in Europe.

In positioning South Africa as a globally competitive and responsible tourism destination, the minister said government will be raising the profile of the country’s heritage and cultural tourism assets.

This year, the Heritage and Cultural Pavilion at the Tourism Indaba aims to profile and promote the eight world heritage sites in South Africa.
Read more on:    south african tourism  |  durban  |  good news  |  travel south africa

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