The tourism industry has been urged to help build Brand Gauteng, and a strategy has been drafted to make the province the leading destination on the continent.
A TOURISM strategy which aims to position Gauteng as a globally competitive tourism region has been launched, and every industry role player has been urged to help promote Brand Gauteng.
Premier Nomvula MokonyanePremier Nomvula Mokonyane: there is need to promote tourism in GautengThe draft tourism strategy was promulgated on the first day of a two-day Gauteng tourism summit at Turbine Hall in Newtown; it is running from 21 to 22 July. The strategy is an adaption of the national tourism sector strategy, but with a particular slant on Gauteng.
It envisages creating about 225 000 sustainable jobs in the sector by 2015 and positioning Gauteng as the prime tourist destination in Africa by 2020.
The objective of the summit is to get all stakeholders actively involved in the vision by sharing ideas and reaching a cohesive conclusion, which will help establish Gauteng as the leading tourism economy on the continent.
In her keynote address, Gauteng Premier Nomvula Mokonyane said the provincial government was conscious of a need to invest in and promote the travel and tourism industry. Although the sector had experienced some hardships during the global economic meltdown, “the slow recovery indications observed in the industry are a reason for optimism”.
Tourism was a critical economic sector worldwide, with the potential to provide sustainable economic growth and development. However, Mokonyane noted that because Gauteng was in increasing competition with coastal cities, it was important for the province to re-strategise.
“We need again to lead by example and use innovative formats and technologies to ensure that we create optimal value for the industry both in terms of content and substance but also in terms of innovative meeting architecture, which is a discipline that focuses on the content side of meetings,” she explained.
To achieve its strategy, the province would need to improve its use of technology and be innovative in the creative design of event formats. She noted that Gauteng would use soccer World Cup statistics to leverage a proportion of the market it had benefited from the football competition.
Delegates at the Gauteng Tourism SummitDelegates at the Gauteng Tourism SummitWorld Cup figures from South African Tourism show that out of the people who visited Gauteng during the football showpiece, 478 768 came primarily for other purposes, while 223 039 came for the tournament. Tourists who visited Gauteng spent their money on shopping, nightlife, attending and watching football, visiting tourism attractions and on social activities.
Of the 327 428 people who attended matches in stadiums, the most commonly attended venue was FNB Stadium in Nasrec, in the southwest of Joburg. The estimated spend by soccer tourists to Gauteng was R1,61-billion, translating to R7 218,63 per visitor.
Dawn Robertson, the chief executive of the Gauteng Tourism Authority, spoke about building a globally competitive tourism economy, noting that it was important for existing tourism structures to be expanded and refreshed, to meet stipulations in the strategy. There was also a need to engage with creative industries and leverage this, she said.
Robertson said the ultimate aim of the strategy was to create jobs in the sector, bolster safety and security for tourists and market Gauteng as an innovative and smart province.
The MEC for economic development, Qedani Mahlangu, said the province’s tourism sector was an important driver of economic growth and prosperity. “Within the new growth strategy tourism has been recognised as a fundamental pillar and job creator, which also has the capacity to be a major contributor to South Africa’s global competitiveness,” she said.
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