Published on : Monday, November 6, 2017
About 30 representatives from South Africa’s travel industry, including six exceptional emerging enterprises, will showcase a sample of the country’s vast tourism treasures to the world at the 2017 World Travel Market (WTM) in London from 6 to 8 November.
The high-level South African delegation will include Minister of Tourism Ms Tokozile Xasa and South African Tourism Chief Executive Officer Mr Sisa Ntshona.
Ntshona believes that WTM presents an ideal opportunity to showcase the breadth of South Africa’s tourism products and services – not least its vibrant small business sector that adds colour, diversity, variety and depth to its tourism palette.
“Creating jobs and contributing to the reduction of unemployment remains one of South Africa’s most urgent priorities in order to contribute to economic growth. Inclusive economic growth can only be achieved by creating a fertile environment in which tourism can take root and flourish. This includes giving small businesses and previously disadvantaged tourism players the opportunity to enter the industry, access the market and add to the diversity of our country’s tourism offering further making us a more attractive and unique destination.,” Ntshona adds.
Now in its 37th year, WTM London sees the global travel industry meeting to conduct business deals and “discover the world under one roof”. Over three days, exhibitors will network with more than 50 000 travel professionals, industry leaders, owners of tourism products and services, journalists, digital influencers and tourism officials.
South African Tourism will anchor South Africa’s presence at WTM 2017, bolstered by provincial and city tourism authorities as well as private-sector exhibitors such as tour operators, destination management companies (DMCs), hotel groups and airlines.
South African Tourism’s United Kingdom team will host selected international buyers at a special function the day before the show opens and will encourage others to visit the South African pavilion. This targeted activity, Ntshona believes, will yield added value, preferential access and a higher return on investment for South Africa’s exhibitors.
Minister Xasa will take part in various discussions around responsible tourism locally and globally, while another focus area will be the #Madiba100 celebrations planned for South Africa and the UK next year, to coincide with the centenary of Nelson Mandela’s birth.
The UK remains South Africa’s largest source market for international tourists outside Africa, with almost 450 000 Britons travelling to South Africa in 2016 – 10% more than in 2015. The latest statistics show that 9.5% more Europeans travelled to South Africa in the first eight months of 2017 compared to the same period last year, with North America (8.2% up) and Central and South America (85% up) also showing robust growth.