The Mpumalanga Tourism and Parks Agency (MTPA) together with the Department of Economic Development and Tourism (DEDT) will today launch the tourism month programme in the province at HoyoHoyo Acorns Lodge in Acornhoek, Bushbuckridge. A series of events and activities aimed at promoting Mpumalanga as a destination of choice will be presented to the media and tourism stakeholders.
The theme for this year “Tourism and the digital transformation” is aligned to the UNWTO 2018 World Tourism Day Celebration. This theme will assist in indicating opportunities provided to tourism, by technological advances including big data and digital platforms, on the map of sustainable development. The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) sees digital advances and innovation as part of the solution to the challenge of marrying continued growth with a more sustainable and responsible tourism sector.
“Tourism month provides the tourism industry with an opportunity for a sustained, heightened month-long focus on the importance of domestic tourism to the economy. This sector is an integral part of our society as it has the potential contribution to social development and economic growth”, said Mr Johannes Nobunga, CEO of MTPA.
“Domestic tourism is 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”, added Nobunga.
The intention during tourism month is to promote tourism to all South Africans irrespective of their gender, race or any other status. The focus in September will be to continue with our awareness campaigns to educate our local communities on the importance of realising that digital advances provide tourism with opportunities that can improve inclusiveness, community empowerment and efficient resource management.
“We have partnered with various tourism 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. We have a series of exciting events lined up for the month of September to attract more visitors into the province”, explained Nobunga.
The series of events scheduled for September include amongst others the Lilizela Awards aimed at recognizing service standards within the tourism businesses. This event will coincide with the Ray Phiri Memorial Lecture and Mbombela Jazz Festival from 6 – 9 September.
The Provincial Tourism Day in the Gert Sibande District is another event on 22 September 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 scheduled from 17 – 21 September 2018 will afford our communities with free entry into the selected MTPA Nature Reserves.
Women operating in the tourism sector will also be honoured at a symposium in Secunda on 14 September where they will be afforded an opportunity to learn more about the trends in the tourism business. This is open to those women who run tourism businesses or have an interest in the sector.
“As we celebrate Tourism Month we encourage locals to take a shot left and explore the unique product offerings that are 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 Nobunga.
This year’s National World Tourism Day will be celebrated in the Eastern Cape on 25 September 2018.
To view the Mpumalanga’s jam packed tourism month programme and exciting affordable tourism packages, visit www.mpumalanga.com and follow us on various social media platforms like facebook, twitter and Instagram.
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