The past three months, this country has witnessed once again the highest sense of patriotism by South Africans themselves as they host the biggest event in the world, the 2010 FIFA World Cup. The South African Flag has indeed been raised higher than ever before.
As South Africans and Africans in general, we have set the records straight against the world negative perception about us as a people, our country and the African continent. We have been able to show-case our destination to billions of viewers in the world. The benefits of such a resounding success will still be enjoyed by future generations to come.
This month, September 2010, gives us another chance to show case our country to South Africans, encouraging them to travel in their own country.
According to the South African Tourism departure and domestic surveys, “Domestic tourism is the bed rock of the South African Tourism sector and contributes significantly to tourism in South Africa. Domestic trips accounts for about 70% to 80% of the total volume and about a quarter of total tourism value to South Africa.”
KwaZulu- Natal continues to be a major beneficiary of domestic travel while Gauteng continues to be a major source of market.
Visitor Friends and Relatives continue to be a major reason for domestic trips accounting for over 70% of all domestic trips and over 40% of total revenue year on year.
Economic constraints remain a major barrier to taking domestic trips. The capacity to generate revenue and increase disposable income becomes important in the future of domestic tourism in South Africa.
In 2008 alone, the South African domestic tourism industry accounted for about R25, 8billion, an average spent of about R780, at an average length of stay of about 4, 5 nights.
In 2007, Mpumalanga recorded about 1, 8 million domestic trips and increased its domestic trips to 2, 2 million in 2008, resulting into Mpumalanga moving from position 8 to position 6 as a preferred destination by domestic visitors in South Africa. In 2009, Mpumalanga has sadly recorded a decline from 2, 2 million to 800 000 domestic trips. This is largely attributed to the impact of recession and a decrease of the marketing spent from R17m to R8m the previous year. It however remains our vision that with adequate resources, we will increase our domestic trips to 8 million by 2016.
To realise such an ambitious target, the board together with management has elected to prioritise amongst others the following initiatives:
· The funding and activation of our events strategy.
· The funding and activation of our tourism airlift strategy.
· The funding and activation of the Mpumalanga Tourism and Growth Strategy with its key projects and programmes.
· The funding and activation of the SMME and Second Economy Intervention Strategy.
· Funding and activation of the Regional Tourism Brand Strategy Integration with Swaziland, Mozambique and Mpumalanga.
Ladies and Gentlemen, with these words, we are set on the right course, what we need is support with adequate resources and a genuine partnership with all stakeholders including the media.
I thank you.
Mr Sabelo Mahlalela
Chairperson of MTPA
06 September 2010