26 March 2018
- Chairperson and Members of the Board of Mpumalanga Tourism and Parks Agency present
- Chief Executive Officer and Senior Management of the entity
- Mr Anele Mbasane of Harmocept Holdings
- Members of the Media:
- Good morning and thank you for joining us.
- We are gathered here to launch one of the flagship events that the province has adopted to draw more visitors to Mpumalanga.
- The launch of Mbombela Jazz Festival is one of the key activities that constitutes the build-up programme for the tourism month extravaganza that the Province is planning this year.
- It conforms to the strategic approach that the province has enlisted recently to bolster our efforts of growing the tourism industry and ultimately the provincial economy.
- The Provincial Government is looking at various ways to leverage all forms of events to spur economic growth and create jobs for our people.
- One of the focus areas of the government programme is the support to existing crowd pulling sport and musical events.
- The government recognises that such events are major tourist drawers and contribute to localisation of spending in the Province.
- It is for these reasons that the government is taking advantage of sport tournaments and festivals to drive inward flow of tourists to the Province.
- The province has seen a decline of domestic trips in recent times.
- The domestic trips to Mpumalanga declined from 2. 2 million in 2015 to 1. 7 million in 2016.
- Any decline in the tourist arrivals is a setback to government efforts of reducing unemployment and inequality in the Province, hence the need to explore other avenues to stimulate domestic tourism.
- We have seen how these types of events contribute to creation of new jobs and sustain existing jobs in associated businesses such as hotels, bed and breakfasts, security, and catering services amongst others.
- Equally, we have seen the magical power of these events to our initiatives of building a socially cohesive and united nation that we hope for.
- The Mbombela Jazz Festival presents similar opportunities.
- While the statistical information for 2017 is not yet available, there is no doubt that the Mbombela Jazz festival has assisted in increasing the number of domestic tourists to the province last year.
- It is estimated that more than 4 300 people attended the inaugural jazz festival which was held on the 09th of September 2017 at the Mbombela stadium.
- The inaugural Jazz Festival attracted local supporters of this popular music genre and other visitors from Gauteng, Limpopo, KwaZulu-Natal, Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Swaziland.
- These visitors spent between R2000 and R4500 per person in the Province therefore contributing in excess of R12 million to the provincial economy last year.
- There is justification for the province to continue to invest in hosting such sporting and musical events (one) to promote our unique identity as the province, and (two) to expand opportunity for growth of small business who will certainly benefit from such events and festivals.
- Our Tourism agency and the organizers of the Jazz Festival are currently working on a build-up programme to grow the number of activities to give the visitors more reasons, beyond wildlife, to visit our beautiful province.
- The 2018 Mbombela Jazz Festival (MJF) calendar of activities will therefore include:
- Triland Soccer Challenge which will draw local team(s) with their counterparts from Swaziland and Mozambique on 21 July 2018 at Mbombela Stadium;
- Ray Phiri Memorial Lecture will be held in partnership with the University of Mpumalanga on 06 September 2018
- MJF Charity Golf day which will take place at Matumi Golf Course on 07 September 2018. The golf day will be used to collect hundreds of school shoes to be donated to needy school children;
- A polo event is another activity that will be held at Uplands College in White River on 30 September 2018;
18. The main festival, Mbombela Jazz Festival will be held on 08 September 2018 at Mbombela Stadium.
19. We look forward to welcoming all our visitors to the Place of the Rising Sun this year.
I Thank You.