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March 22, 2014 by admin

“The passing of South Africa’s first democratically elected president, Nelson Mandela, in December 2013 sparked a global outpouring of grief. The world paused as we collectively reflected on the life of this phenomenal man and celebrated what he had achieved, not only for South Africa, but for mankind. Most of the places associated with his life’s journey teemed with visitors who dedicated private notes and flowers as tokens of respect and remembrance as South Africans and, indeed, the world tried to come to terms with the loss of the founding father of the nation,” Minister Van Schalkwyk said as he spoke today at an event at Drakenstein Correctional Centre (formerly Victor Verster Prison) in Cape Town – the last place where Nelson Mandela was held captive before he took his first steps to freedom on February 11, 1990.

South Africa’s Minister of Tourism, Marthinus van Schalkwyk, today launched “Madiba-inspired tourist attractions” – a travel map that encourages tourists from around the world to come to South Africa to walk in former president Nelson Mandela’s footsteps.

“To make it as easy as possible for people to personally experience Mandela’s story, we have developed the ‘Madiba-inspired tourist attractions’ map, which encapsulates the key points on his life’s journey,” Van Schalkwyk said.

Developed by South African Tourism in partnership with the Nelson Mandela Foundation, the map highlights tourist sites as well as general places of interest in the four main provinces that defined Mandela’s life. These include the Eastern Cape, where he was born, grew up and attended Fort Hare University; Gauteng, where he worked as a human-rights lawyer and became instrumental in South Africa’s political struggle; KwaZulu-Natal, where he was captured, and the Western Cape, where he was imprisoned and ultimately freed.

Since Mandela’s release from prison in February 1990, a number of world-class museums, monuments and precincts have been developed to bring his story to life and to cater for the demand to better understand South Africa’s history.

The “Madiba-inspired tourist attractions” map includes well-known attractions such as the UNESCO world heritage site Robben Island, where Mandela was imprisoned, and Mandela’s house on Vilakazi Street in Soweto, which is the only street in the world to have had two Nobel peace prize winners, Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu, as residents. It also features some of the lesser-known attractions, such as the Kliptown open-air museum, also in Soweto, which marks the spot where the Freedom Charter was adopted by the Congress of the People, as well as the Nelson Mandela youth and heritage center in Mandela’s childhood home, Qunu, where he was of course buried as well.

“Mandela’s integrity and spirit of hope, reconciliation and love have touched the lives of millions of people. This year, we celebrate 20 years of democracy and freedom, and we look forward to welcoming many tourists from around the world to share the South African story and Mandela’s legacy with us. Not only was Nelson Mandela an incredible man and leader, but he remains a truly global icon. Since 1994, visitors from all corners of the globe have come to South Africa to seek out the places that shaped his remarkable life. His name alone put South Africa on the map; today, we are returning the favor in a literal sense.”

In 1993, the year before Nelson Mandela became South Africa’s first democratically elected president, South Africa had 3.4 million international arrivals. In 2012, South Africa welcomed 13.5 million people to the country, of whom close to 9.2 million were tourists (people who spent one or more nights here).

“The numbers aside, though, what has perhaps been the greatest legacy for tourism is that Mandela has encouraged people from all corners of the globe to come and experience South Africa for themselves. It is thanks to his vision and principles that our tourism industry has grown as much as it has since our first democratic elections 20 years ago when he was elected president of South Africa,” Van Schalkwyk added.

“It is also thanks to him that the world now knows South Africa for more than just our incredible wildlife, amazing scenic beauty and excellent value for money. Since 1994, the world has come to realize that what really sets this country apart is Mandela’s people, whose warmth and hospitality leave all who visit us touched by the ‘Madiba magic,’” the Minister concluded.

The “Madiba-inspired tourist attractions” map has been made available to trade partners in South Africa and around the world to make it as easy as possible to package Madiba-inspired itineraries. The map is also available online at www.southafrica.net


Aug 25, 2014

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. and JOHANNESBURG: South African Airways (SAA), Africa's most awarded airline, and South Africa-based event specialist, On Show Solutions, have raised the bar this year for their popular trade show with an increase in exhibitor numbers and an enhancement to the format. The Africa Showcase features suppliers from across Southern and East Africa that represent hotels, safari lodges, destination tourism organizations and other attractions that are popular with travelers from North America. The Africa Showcase will be held this year in San Francisco, CA.; Denver, CO; Fort Lauderdale, FL.; and Stamford, CT.

The Africa Showcase is designed for travel specialists who book vacations to Africa, to discover new hotels and safari products and learn the latest trends to increase sales to this lucrative travel segment. "This year the buyers are in for a treat," said Amanda Margison, co-owner of On Show Solutions. "We've had huge demand from the industry to participate, encouraging us to increase the showcase to 30 suppliers while keeping our focus on the quality of products we feature."

In addition to its successful trade evening format, SAA and On Show Solutions have introduced VIP buyer encounters in San Francisco, CA and Fort Lauderdale, FL. These dedicated events create an additional opportunity for top African producers to meet suppliers through scheduled appointments.

"We have worked hard to source the right profile of buyers to ensure the quality of the business interaction at all of our events," said Stroebel Bekker, Vice President of Sales for South African Airways in North America. "As knowledge of Africa deepens and the market matures, we believe that the showcase needs to evolve to deliver maximum business."

The Africa Showcase is the largest travel trade event in North America featuring exclusively African products. The show is designed to be both educational and entertaining, with attendees being immersed in the food, culture and experiences that they will be selling. Now in its 6th year in the U.S., On Show Solutions and SAA have created a winning partnership to bring together the right buyers and right suppliers to boost sales to Africa.

The dates and venues for the 2014 Africa Showcase are:

Sept. 9:
San Francisco, CA
Sept. 11:
Denver, CO
Sept. 15:
Fort Lauderdale, FL
Sept. 17:
Stamford, CT


Record High as South Africa Celebrates World Tourism Day 2006
Writes Edwin Sipho Rihlamvu

"Once again South Africa has emerged as a star performer in the world tourism arena. Even though the Soccer World Cup is four years away, we are already seeing benefits from our elevated international profile. This is reflected in our first quarter tourism performance for 2006" said the ecstatic Marthinus van Schalkwyk, Minister of Environmental Affairs and Tourism, at a cultural event to embrace the 24th World Tourism Day. The celebration was held at Emaweni Resort in Nelspruit, Mpumalanga on Wednesday, 27 September 2006 and was attended by senior members of the Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism, South African Tourism, and partners from the tourism industry.

As the twenty-fourth World Tourism Day was celebrated, hosted by Algeria, South Africa was enjoying a particular niche, for the country had tangible proof to show what impact tourism does have on its economic outlook. Not so long ago the Accelerated Shared Growth Initiative of South Africa (ASGISA) identified tourism as one of the key catalysts to the realization of the country's 6% economic growth by 2014. Given the trends that are currently obtaining, it does appear that tourism would surpass that expectation by a very large margin or at most reach that target soonest.

To confirm this assertion, the Minister said: "With just over 2.7 million arrivals from January to April, this is the first time we have broken through the 2.5 million mark in the first four months of the year. This figure compares very favourably with our first quarter arrivals of 1998, which stood at just over 1.8 million. We have seen a 16% increase in arrivals across all territories compared to the same period last year, which translates into almost 377 000 more visitors".

In order to sustain this growth and contribute to the goals of ASGISA, the Minister recognized the importance of continuous investment in skills, and in that regard announced that a comprehensive tourism skills audit is underway. The objective of this undertaking is to "ensure that the industry does not run into capacity constraints, by improving the alignment between the skills generated by tertiary institutions and those most needed by industry".

However, this good news is not only confined to South Africa but indeed a recent African phenomenon. According to the UNWTO, Africa has been one of the strongest growth markets, with most destinations showing consistently above average increases in arrivals and receipts. Between 2000 and 2005, international tourist arrivals to Africa increased from 28 million to 40 million - an average growth of 5.6 % a year, compared to a worldwide 3.1 % a year. In the same period Africa's International tourism receipts doubled from US$ 10.5 billion to US$ 21.3 billion.

UNWTO Secretary General Francesco Frangialli recently said "This surge in African tourism clearly shows the great potential of our sector of the economy to help trade and development in the region…... Africa can have substantial comparative advantage with its wildlife, nature, heritage and climate. An advantage which could, if nurtured, allow the world's poorest countries to compete in this dynamic export sector"

South African Tourism CEO Moeketsi Mosola said: "The continued growth in arrivals to South Africa is hugely encouraging and highly commendable. It is a clear reflection of the industry's hard work and the dedicated partnerships between tourism authorities and the tourism trade".

Meanwhile, a recent study has shown that while most tourists' head for South Africa's beaches and safari parks, many African visitors forego the natural wonders for shopping malls. The majority of this market hails from Lesotho, Swaziland, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Namibia, Zambia and Malawi injecting $20-billion (R2,8-billion) per year into the local economy.

Spinning the crystal ball for 2006, the Minister Van Schalkwyk predicted "Our first quarter figures indicate that we are well on target to surpass last years record tourism arrival figure of 7.3 million". Indeed, Tourism Enriches.