The Eastern Cape Parks and Tourism Agency together with the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality stood tall on day one of the Tourism Indaba trade show in Durban as they launched the province as an adventure destination.
Indaba, held at the Durban International Convention Centre, is one of the largest and most important tourism marketing events on the African tourism and travel calendar.
Nelson Mandela Bay Tourism chief executive Mandlakazi Skefile said they were at Indaba 2017 to harness the relationship between tourism and trade.
“We’re launching the Nelson Mandela Bay Travel Guide app to the trade Indaba and we’re also remarketing our pass because we find that people aren’t aware that there is a pass in Nelson Mandela Bay and how convenient it is to use,” Skefile said.
She was referring to the tourism pass that grants holders access to activities such as the Addo Elephant Park and the Mandela Route, which includes the Donkin Reserve.
In a first for the province, the Eastern Cape Parks and Tourism Agency (ECPTA) has collaborated to uniformly showcase the best the Eastern Cape has to offer as an adventure province, and has given 28 SMMEs the opportunity to attend Indaba through a variety of programmes.
ECPTA chief executive Vuyani Dayimani said tourism was important in terms of job creation.
Two of three jobs created were from tourism “so your priorities and focus should include tourism”.
B&B owner Fanele Sonjica said this was the first time he was attending the Indaba as an exhibitor and business owner and he was grateful to the ECPTA for allowing them the opportunity to be there, exhibit and learn from the event.
“I see this as a huge opportunity for my business because there are a lot of investors,” Sonjica said.
During the official opening of the event, President Jacob Zuma announced that Durban would host the Indaba for the next five years.
Zuma also announced a new national campaign‚ called We Do Tourism‚ which challenges every South African to do their part for tourism.
“With this campaigning people will appreciate the immense value of tourism in their lives. The total contribution of tourism to our economy in 2015 was about R375-billion,” he said.
“Tourism now supports about 1.5million jobs. We want it to support 2.2-million jobs by 2026. Our aim is to make South Africa one of the top 20 tourist destinations in the world.
“To achieve these goals we are strengthening existing markets while developing and investing in new international source markets such as the Middle East and Asia.
“Transformation will be another form of growth. Black entrepreneurs will be targeted to be the leaders in growing these markets.”