The Mpumalanga Tourism and Parks Agency (MTPA) today celebrated the launch of Tourism Month in South Africa, announcing a series of events and activities poised towards promoting Mpumalanga as a destination of choice.
“The 2010 Fifa World Cup brought South Africa into the spotlight,” says Chief Executive Charles Ndabeni, “and interest in the country is at an all-time high. Tourism figures skyrocketed during June and July, and many fans have taken stories of South Africa’s amazing diversity back to their home countries.”
The intention during Tourism Month is for South Africans to discover the hidden treasures of their land, which offers something for everyone, from nature lovers through to fun seekers.
“The backbone of tourism in any country is domestic tourism,” says Ndabeni, “and our aim in Mpumalanga is to showcase the exciting attractions the province has to offer, many of which have left international tourists awe-struck, but which are still to be discovered by local traveller’s right here at home.”
MTPA’s Tourism Month programme begins with events to promote township tourism in Kanyamanze, where a comprehensive project to define and grade shebeen and tour products was undertaken before the World Cup.
“The Endumbeni project opened up township tourism to a much wider audience than ever before,” says Ndabeni, “and visitors to Nelspruit can now experience the authentic spirit of township life.”
Infrastructure upgrades made prior to the World Cup are also making Mpumalanga more accessible to local tourists. These include the province’s new R8, 5 million Visitor Information Centre and a R9 million upgrade of the Manyeleti Game Reserve, which is set to be developed as a premier “Big Five” attraction in terms of a ground-breaking R400 million land claims agreement signed with the Manyaleti Conservation Trust earlier this year. The project will see 600 new jobs being created, demonstrating MTPA’s commitment to the integrated development of a tourism economy that will benefit tourists and local residents alike.
Other highlights include MTPA’s innovative “Three Countries, Three Cities” tourism route, a new regional initiative between the Tourism Authorities in Mpumalanga, Swaziland and Mozambique. The route will offer the domestic and inbound visitors a host of exciting holiday packages and products which will expand tourism horizons in the years to come.
“Foreign arrivals in South Africa continue to grow,” says Ndabeni, “and these reached 2.5 million between January and April of this year. But we want South Africans to be able to discover and enjoy their own country too, and that’s our focus now. Stronger relations have been forged with our counterparts in Mozambique and Swaziland which will make transfrontier tourism a reality, presenting some fantastic multi-destination opportunities for local and international tourists alike” remarked Ndabeni.
Extending length of stay, facilitating geographic spread of visitation throughout the province and maximizing tourist spend are the primary goals of the activities planned by MTPA around this period.
Mpumalanga is a province endowed with natural beauty, a kaleidoscope of culture, a rich heritage, reverting wildlife, and a plentiful of adventure activities. It offers exceptional and unique attractions which will leave each traveler rejuvenated.
“Our objective is thus to make Mpumalanga a world class tourism destination that will continue to attract the increasing number of tourists who will have the advantage to experience some of the most stunning scenery”, enthused Ndabeni.
For more information on the Mpumalanga Tourism and Parks Agency, visit www.mpumalanga.com.
Issued by Mpumalanga Tourism & Parks Agency
Charles Ndabeni Kholofelo Nkambule
Chief Executive Officer Senior Manager: Corporate Relations
Tel: +27 13 759 5309 / 00 or 083 579 2381