De Lille urges South Africans to help improve tourism

Tourism Minister Patricia De Lille invites South Africans to send ideas for boosting the industry. Supplied

Tourism Minister Patricia De Lille invites South Africans to send ideas for boosting the industry. Supplied

Published Mar 30, 2024


TOURISM Minister Patricia De Lille has urged all South Africans to help find creative ways to improve tourism activities, as the country was still far behind some of the favourite destination in other countries on the continent.

De Lille was speaking in Cape Town during the recent Tourism South Africa and the MSC Splendida cruise experience themed “Easter Activation” which saw various tourists, reporters and social media influencers from Africa sail from Durban to Cape Town.

MSC cruise and the South African Tourism gave journalists and social media influencers an experience never to forget when they participated on a three day MSC cruise from Durban to Cape Town. Picture: Supplied.

She stressed that South Africa had fallen behind some of its counterparts in the SADC region where tourism was thriving.

“We have invited everyone to come help us promote one of the most beautiful countries in the world. Despite all the problems we may have, Mzansi remains one of the most attractive countries in the world. South African Tourism continues to do amazing things to ensure that we showcase our country… we do this from time to time with the Sho’t Left campaign to get the media and everyone to help us with this programme.

“Domestic tourism is the bedrock of our industry as the country… what I have observed is what we call “revenge tourism”. From 2019 we saw more than 8.5 million tourists flocking into our country, which 6.5 million were from the African continent. We are also working with transport stakeholders to ensure that domestic tourism flourishes an direct flights are accessible,” said de Lille.

She mentioned that she wanted to see the return of investment, and this should be driven by both reporters and social media influencers.

“On the issue of Visas, we have our fellow BRICS countries which do not have the 90-day Visa waiver but we are working with Home Affairs to ensure that more people visit our country. The world has changed so much after the Covid19 and what used to be the offerings of tourism have shifted. There are a lot of hidden gems we need to put out there and sure the people.

“We need ideas on how to improve our country in terms of tourism, so that more and more investment can be made. We signed an agreement with Google so that they can help put in their map those little hidden gems where people can also go and visit,” said de Lille.

She urged influencers to use their platforms to attract more tourists and create employment for citizens.

De Lille stated that diversifying the tourism industry would help South Africa compete with countries such as Tanzania, where tourism investment has proved to be more profitable for the country’s economy.

Furthermore, De Lille stated that Durban would be hosting a number of tourism activities which would provide exposure for the country.

Head of Domestic Tourism at South African Tourism, Mashoto Mokgethi, said that due to past experiences where South Africa has been accused of xenophobia, they decided that it was important to bring together various guests to experience some of the land and sea attractions the country has to offer.

“South Africa continues to invite travellers worldwide to explore our diverse landscapes, rich cultural heritage, and unique wildlife and wide open spaces.”

South Africa was recently honoured by readers of the UK’s Telegraph Travel publication, with the prestigious title of "Best Country," while its iconic city, Cape Town, claimed the coveted title of "Best City in the World."

According to the latest data from Statistics South Africa, around this time last year, South Africa’s tourism sector exhibited strong recovery with the first half of 2023 recording more than 4 million tourist arrivals.

This was a significant increase from the 2,3 million tourist arrivals between January and June 2022.

The total number of tourist arrivals to South Africa between January and June last year showed a sizable 78.2% surge in the first half of 2023 when compared to the same period in 2022.

Before the Covid19 pandemic, South Africa welcomed more than 5 million tourists between January and June in 2019.

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