The Mpumalanga Tourism and Parks Agency (MTPA) will today launch the tourism month programme in the province at the Lowveld Botanical Gardens. A series of events and activities aimed at promoting Mpumalanga as a destination of choice will be announced to the media and tourism stakeholders.
The theme for this year in line with World Tourism Day is “Tourism for All, Promoting Universal Accessibility”. Mpumalanga has however localized the theme to “Universally Accessible Tourism”. The theme presents an opportunity to promote universal accessibility while encouraging the tourism industry to cater for all South Africans. Universal Access is the design of products, environments and services that can be used by all people. It includes the removal of cultural, social and other barriers that prevent people with disabilities from benefiting from tourism facilities.
“Tourism is an integral part of our society as it has the potential contribution to social development and economic growth. Domestic tourism is therefore key in ensuring that our local people discover the diverse offerings available locally and benefit from them. It is therefore important to ensure that tourism products developed are sustainable and accessible to all”, said Mrs Nomaswazi Shabangu–Mndawe, Deputy Chairperson of the MTPA Board.
“The intention during this year’s Tourism Month is to promote tourism to all South Africans irrespective of their gender, race or any other status. As MTPA our intention to encourage everyone to travel domestically to get a better understanding of the affordable, exciting and world class attractions that are available on their own doorstep. It is during this period where we embark on extensive awareness campaigns aimed at encouraging local people to travel and explore the benefits derived from tourism”, added Shabangu– Mndawe.
The MTPA has partnered with various stakeholders like the Regional Tourism Organisations, various government departments, district and local municipalities as well as media to work together to profile Mpumalanga as a preferred tourism destination. A number of events have been lined up for the month of September to attract more visitors into the province.
“September is also a time when we officially celebrate Spring Day which coincides with the start of Tourism Month. The MTPA officials and our media partners will be stationed at the various busy traffic intersections in Mbombela to hand out flowers to motorists. This campaign is aimed at celebrating this special day with our communities and making them feel special”, said Mr Abe Sibiya, Acting CEO of MTPA.
“The series of events scheduled for September include amongst others the tourism awareness day in Emakhazeni Local Municipality. The awareness day is aimed at creating a platform to interact with various stakeholders and educate the community about responsible tourism and the impact it has in our daily lives. The Mpumalanga Parks Week initiative is aimed at affording our communities free entry into the selected MTPA Nature Reserves from 19 – 23 September 2016” commented Sibiya.
“As we celebrate Tourism Month we encourage locals to take a shot left and explore the unique product offerings that are universally accessible in the province. This month aims to generate awareness on the enormous contribution that the tourism industry makes to the provincial and national economic growth and job creation”, concluded Sibiya.
This year’s World Tourism Day will be celebrated in Parys, Free State Province on 27 September 2016.
To view the Mpumalanga’s jam packed tourism month programme, visit www.mpumalanga.com and follow us on various social media platforms like facebook, twitter and Instagram.
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