Tourism month celebrates domestic tourism and encourages South Africans to travel. And we say, let’s start here! This month promotes domestic tourism with several robust campaigns to inculcate a culture of travel. South Africa is a world in one country. Its offerings are so diverse that that there something for every segment of the market. The theme for Tourism Month is “Tourism for All” to highlight that the tourism industry caters for all South Africans.
The key purpose is to raise awareness about travel and tourism, the importance of tourism, its benefits to the country, the need for all stakeholders to play a role in enhancing tourism, the visitor experience and to showcase some of the work that the provinces, the national department and tourism businesses undertake to highlight the importance of tourism for the country.
While South Africa has so much to offer, many of its citizens have not travelled their own country. Tourism is therefore also a great social unifier and serves as a mechanism for South Africans to get to learn more from and about each other – to explore our melting pot of cultures and tourism treasures.
Tourism and Heritage are inextricably linked for tourism is a vehicle to showcase our diverse culture and heritage. The very thing that set us apart from each other is the same thing that is now the catalyst for social cohesion. As a social unifier, this sector birthed many niche markets which are indicative of social inclusion and cohesion. These markets include township tourism, culture and heritage tourism, sport tourism and social tourism. All these attractions contribute significantly to domestic tourism – which is the backbone of this industry.
But Tourism Month is more than destination marketing. It is also about instilling the aspiration for tourism as a career of choice in learners. The National Tourism Careers Expo (NTCE) serves as an intrinsic platform for introducing learners who are interested in pursuing a career in tourism. Tourism month also sees the provincial Lilizella awards which celebrates service excellence in the industry.
There is a saying that goes: Traveling – it leaves you speechless and then turns you into a storyteller. Go and travel our beautiful country – explore, dream, discover and write your good story!
Tokozile Xasa, MP
Deputy Minister of Tourism