Amapiano contributes to tourism in the country

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Dj Maphorisa & Kabza De Small at in Johannesburg in October 2021. Photo: Oupa Bopape/Gallo Images via Getty Images
Dj Maphorisa & Kabza De Small at in Johannesburg in October 2021. Photo: Oupa Bopape/Gallo Images via Getty Images

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The only way tourism can be sustained in South Africa is that it needs to cater to the domestic market first, and the African regional market.

However, when Covid-19 hit, the tourism industry in South Africa realised that it was over-reliant on the overseas market, and it needed to restructure the way it did things as international travel was banned.

The strengthening of domestic tourism, making tourism accessible and the 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 in !Khwa ttu in the west coast, Western Cape, on Sunday, Khumalo said one of the things that had been missing was that there had not been a deliberate effort to educate the South African traveller on tips on how to travel and “make your rand stretch”.

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He noted this might be one of the things that discourage ordinary locals from travelling as they might be put off by the pricing.

However, the meeting is meant to discuss how to attract more locals to start travelling and find affordable spaces to travel to.

Khumalo also said in the previous month, SA Tourism was going on major radio platforms to educate people in their language and in a context that they could understand about travelling. He told City Press that the agency would also partner with community media to spread the message about domestic tourism.

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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, Tourism Minister Lindiwe Sisulu said the theme was fitting as the tourism industry was being reimagined following the hard impact the pandemic had on the sector:

This theme is also symbolic because as a sector, the pandemic required us to step back, relook at the industry as we know it and ultimately, see how we rebuild it.

She said international and domestic numbers were picking up and that the sector was on its way to recovery, and predictions were that the tourism sector would return to pre-Covid levels of activity in 2024.

According to Sisulu, the US and European carriers are upping their frequencies to Johannesburg and Cape Town as demand to come to South Africa increases. Between January and June, there has been a 147% increase in international travel compared to 2021.

According to a tourism report by SA Tourism, the US represented the bulk of arrivals with a 321% increase.

Khumalo told City Press that the US was “our fastest-growing market, from the international markets”. He, however, said the UK and Germany remained the biggest. Khumalo added he believed, though, that in the next coming years, the US “would become the biggest market” travelling into South Africa.

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He credited the amapiano music genre as one of the reasons the country was seeing an influx of, mostly, the African American community whom he said were coming into the country for the culture:

One of the reasons people travel to a destination is they are attracted to the way of life of that place. And, they want to go to that place to find the source of that culture that they are perceiving from a distance. One of our greatest exports right now is amapiano music.

“So, when your music and your fashion influences the world, then the world travels to that country to find the source and why that country is so special and how they innovated in terms of the music and the culture. And right now, South Africa is red hot in terms of influence in the world. And that is why we find all the African American music producers and filmmakers travelling into South Africa to come and experience the amapiano movement,” said Khumalo.

Sisulu and Khumalo also encouraged people to take advantage of the travel week, which runs from September 5 to 11, where people will get a 50% discount on tourism products.

“It’s like the black Friday of travel. It is really slashing prices so that we can actually make sure that into the festive season and even into early next year, tourism becomes accessible to most of our people. So, we partner with the private sector to make sure that the pricing has been pushed down, and if people can go on to the Shot’left website over this period, there is great pricing. This is the time to buy travel,” said Khumalo.


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