The Mpumalanga Tourism and Parks Agency (MTPA) together with the Department of Economic Development and Tourism (DEDT) tonight launched the tourism month programme in the province at Manyeleti Nature Reserve. A series of events and activities aimed at promoting Mpumalanga as a destination of choice were presented to the media and tourism stakeholders.
The theme for this year “Tourism and jobs, a better future for all” highlights the tourism sector’s unique ability to create more and better jobs and to help build a better future for millions of people all around the world. This also focuses on tourism’s current role as a job creator. Job creation remains a high priority for the province and as such by working together with the private sector, we have an opportunity to reduce unemployment rate.
“The month of September, known as Tourism Month provides us an opportunity to showcase the various tourism offerings in the province and encourage our local communities to travel and explore what is in their back yard. It is when we have a month-long focus on creating awareness on the importance of domestic tourism to the economy. The tourism sector plays an integral part in our society as it has the potential contribution to social development and economic growth”, said the MEC for Economic Development and Tourism, Mr Pat Ngomane.
“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 Ngomane.
Tourism contributed about 9.2% jobs to the total South African workforce and it is estimated therefore to be the 6th biggest sector in the economy. A total number of international tourists that visited Mpumalanga increased by 1.0% to a total of 1.6 million in 2018 when compared to 1.5 million in 2017. There were increases in arrivals from all source markets with the exception of Mozambique.
Mpumalanga was the second fastest growing province at 64.1% (2.2 million) as more domestic trips originated from province itself. The province also recorded an increase of 2.9 million in 2018 when compared to 2017 in the number of domestic tourism trips. The province further recorded R15 billion from tourist spend in 2018.
The first quarter of 2019 (Jan to March) shows a huge decline of 70% in the domestic trips to Mpumalanga due to a decline of 66% by the Mpumalanga residents not taking domestic trips during this period. However, the province registered a 12% increase of international arrivals in the same quarter.
“The focus in September will be to continue with our awareness campaigns to educate our local communities on the importance of realising that tourism is everyone’s business and requires that we all work together in providing a safe environment”, commented Ngomane.
We have a series of exciting events lined up for the month of September to attract more visitors into the province. The series of events scheduled include amongst others the Mbombela Jazz Charity Golf Day on 4 September, Ray Phiri Memorial Lecture to be delivered by Professor Lumumba from Kenya on 5 September, Lilizela Awards on 6 September, Mbombela Jazz Festival on 7 and 8 September, Mpumalanga Provincial Parks Week from 9 – 13 September, Know your small town campaign on 20 September as well as the Tourism Awareness Day on 21 September in Barberton.
As we celebrate Tourism Month we encourage you to take a shot left and discover Mpumalanga. Visit www.mpumalanga for an exciting programme of events as well as affordable packages on offer. As you travel around the province, upload your experiences on #discovermpumalanga
This year’s National World Tourism Day will be celebrated in KwaZulu Natal on the 27th September 2019.