South Africa

SA tourism minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane encourages local tourism


Drakensberg – Launching South Africa’s Tourism Month campaign in September in the Drakensberg, KwaZulu-Natal, tourism minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane strongly encouraged South Africans to explore their beautiful country. The minister said she understood that the historical past made it impossible for a majority of South Africans to travel and thus even today that historical reality still shows, which is why she’d like to encourage them to explore their country. “One of the concerns often  raised about traveling mainly by South Africans is the affordability of traveling. As we announce the Shot’ Left travel week, we are cognisant that it still doesn’t speak to what many have raised with us and we will continue to improve on it using the feedback they have provided to us,” she said. The theme for this year’s World Tourism Day was “Tourism and jobs – a better future for all”, which highlights the tourism sector’s vast capability to create jobs and therefore reduce the country’s unemployment rate. The total consumption of tourism through domestic and international tourism for 2018 generated value that directly accounted for 2.9% of GDP and accounted for 4.5% of our total employment. Domestic tourism in 2018 contributed R26,4 billion in revenue. She also said the government was giving special attention to the issue of safety of tourists. The government was also working on mechanisms to ensure that people with low household income know of their options for traveling.

Springboks Rugby World Cup victory impacts positively on South African tourism

Cape Town – South Africa’s national rugby team the Springboks lifting the Webb Ellis Cup after winning the  Rugby World Cup 2019 in Japan, is a sign of global strength and commitment to excellence and competence and has had a positive impact on tourism to South Africa. The Springboks adding the goodwill of South African branding will pull more tourists to visit South Africa from 2020, according to South African tourism minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane who visited China and also Japan during the Rugby World Cup as part of her international roadshows to encourage tourists to visit South Africa. Statistics confirm that tourism created more jobs than manufacturing and mining between 2014 and 2017. In South Africa, tourism contributed R136.1 billion, about 2.9 percent of the total gross domestic product (GDP) in 2017. When tourism’s indirect and induced benefits across a very broad value chain are factored in, the total contribution amounts to R412.5 billion, or 8.9 percent of the GDP.

Cape Town’s Tintswalo Atlantic wins international Condé Nast Johansens award

Cape Town –  The well-known 5-star Tintswala Atlantic boutique lodge situated at the foot of Chapman’s Peak, Hout Bay, has won the coveted 2020 Condé Nast Johansens Award for Excellence in the category of Best for Weddings, Parties or Special Occasions in the Asia, Africa, Indian Ocean and Middle East region. Condé Nast Johansens is a global collection of luxury hotels, spas and venues approved by local experts from the publishers of Vogue, GQ and Condé Nast Traveller. Created to acknowledge, reward and celebrate excellence across the hotels, spas and venues within the collection, the Condé Nast Johansens Awards for Excellence are a widely recognised and trusted mark of quality. Tintswalo Atlantic offers twelve island themed suites include a luxurious 2-bedroom Presidential suite.

Source: Fivestar PR

SA government’s moves to bolster tourism and investment

Pretoria – Tourism in South Africa is one of the key economic areas identified by the government for investment and growth. To this end President Cyril Ramaphosa recently announced changes to the visa regime and also appointed former tourism minister Derek Hanekom and Elizabeth Thabethe, the current deputy tourism minister as special envoys to help with his drive to attract $100bn in new investment. The two will focus on investment in the tourism industry. Also as part of the drive to further grow tourism, Ramaphosa has prioritised immigration reform and changes to the visa regime. More countries have been added to the list of visa-free nations for inward tourism, the requirements on unabridged birth certificates for young tourists have been abolished, and the government will be piloting a new e-visa portal later this year. Through the e-visas, applicants will be able to access visa’s online, eliminating the need for applicants to travel long distances to visit South African missions abroad to acquire visas. The government has also located visa services within the offices of various investment facilitation agencies around the country. In addition visa requirements have been simplified for countries such as China and India, which are key markets for tourism to South Africa, while visa requirements for a number of countries have been waived

Airbnb economic impact exceeds $685m for SA in 2018

Johannesburg – According to new survey findings and an analysis of internal data released recently, Airbnb’s host and guest community generated over US$100 billion in estimated direct economic impact across 30 countries in 2018 alone. During that same year, the estimated direct economic impact of Airbnb in South Africa was more than $685 million – or over R9.7 billion. “Travel on Airbnb is helping to spread tourism benefits to more families, communities and local businesses,” says Velma Corcoran, Airbnb Country Manager for Sub-Saharan Africa. “It’s never been easier to travel to and stay in South Africa’s smaller towns.” Locally, there has been a significant increase in host earnings on Airbnb in smaller towns. Mossel Bay, for example, saw a year-on-year increase of over 80%, while Saldanha Bay in the Cape saw an increase of almost 60% over the same period. Host earnings in Garden Route towns such as Knysna, Plettenberg Bay and George increased by 48%, 58% and 74%, respectively.


South Africa Tourism seeks boost from Canada

Toronto – South Africa tourism officials recently went on a mission to Canada where representatives from Destination South Africa met with agents and travel media journalists in Toronto as part of a cross-continent tour to drum up more visitors. Faced with a 30% unemployment rate, government officials in South Africa are hoping to double their visitation numbers between now and 2030; an ambitious goal. “The travel trade and travel media are critical” if that goal is to be reached, said Sthembiso Dlamini, acting director, South African Tourism. “South Africa is an amazing destination and has an amazing story to tell,” she said at a downtown Toronto roundtable. “Boosting tourism is at the top of the government agenda.” Some 68,000 Canadians visited South Africa in 2018. Tourism officials want to boost that to 200,000 by 2030 if they can. One key likely is establishing direct flights between Canada and South Africa, something that doesn’t now exist but that they’re working on. South African Airways and Air Canada are potential partners, officials said, but they need to stimulate demand before the airlines set up new flights.

Source: Jim Byers, Travel Pulse Canada

South African passport holders can now visit 100 destinations without a visa

Pretoria – South African passport holders can now visit 100 destinations without having to get a visa beforehand. The SA passport has also moved up one notch to 53rd position on the latest Henley Passport Index released this week. Regionally, Seychelles (26th position globally), Mauritius (30) and South Africa (53) remain the top three passports on the index. The index is based on data from the International Air Transport Association (IATA). According to the index report, sub-Saharan African states are moving to liberalise their visa regimes in accordance with the goals of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA). According to Amanda Smit, managing partner and head of South, East and Central Africa of Henley & Partners, the latest countries to relax their visa regimes are Namibia and Sierra Leone, both of which now offer visa-on-arrival access to a number of African states. Globally Japan and Singapore retain the first place on index, each with a visa-free or visa-on-arrival score of 190 out of a maximum 227. With visa-free or visa-on-arrival scores of 188, Finland, Germany, and South Korea remain in second place, while Denmark, Italy, and Luxembourg are in third place, with citizens of those countries now able to access 187 destinations worldwide without requiring a visa in advance. The UAE has climbed five places over the last three months after gaining visa-free access to a number of African countries, including South Africa, and now sits in 15th place, with UAE passport holders able to access 172 destinations without a prior visa.

Source: Carin Smith, Fin24


WTM London 2019: Community tourism has potential to improve opportunities for African women

London – Community tourism can improve opportunities for women in Africa, a session hosted by Women in Travel at WTM London has revealed. The panel discussion “How Can We Use Travel and Tourism to Stimulate Women Empowerment and Gender Equity in the African Continent?” invited Sthembiso Dlamini, chief operating officer and acting chief executive at South African Tourism; Abigail Mbalo, head chef and founder at 4Roomed eKasi Culture; Zina Bencheikh, regional general manager EMEA at Peak DMC; and Amelia Diaz, tourism development specialist at the International Trade Centre (ITC) to the stage. According to moderator Alessandra Alonso, founder of Women in Travel, 55% of all businesses in Africa are owned by women and 60% to 70% of employees in travel and tourism are female. Recent trends have shown that travellers are looking for immersive experiences such as going into local communities, which then begins to impact that community, said Dlamini. Through this, tour operators have the “opportunity to empower women in the way they design tours”, said Bencheikh. This can range from using female tour guides, to offering experiences or activities that give women in African communities the chance to be entrepreneurs, “even in places where there is a big cultural barrier”. An example of this is a project ITC runs in Gambia where cookery tours with local women are offered.

Source: / Charlotte Flach

Rwanda ranked Africa’s top emerging travel destination

Kigali – Rwanda has been ranked as the top Africa destination to travel to in 2020 and among the top 30 globally by Travel Lemming which recognizes trending destinations. Winners were selected after voting by 30 of the most popular travel bloggers in the industry, who collectively sport more than 12 million followers on social media. Among the attributes that were listed by voters on why Rwanda was an ideal destination is the growing connectivity via the national carrier RwandAir, safety and conservation efforts.

Those who voted for Rwanda said among other things that this East African pearl is changing the African travel narrative in so many way and offers a unique cultural mix and beautiful natural surrounds – while most people go to see the gorillas there are lots of other cultural heritage sites and experiences to be had.

Source: Collins Mwai, The New Times (Rwanda)

Important dates change for East Africa Tourism & Hospitality Expo 2020

Moshi Urban, Tanzania – New dates have been announced for the East Africa Tourism & Hospitality Expo 2020 to be held at the Ushirika Stadium, Moshi Urban, Tanzania in January. The expo was originally scheduled to take place in November but had to be changed because the government of Tanzania announced that local government elections would take place on 24 November. Therefore, the new dates for the expo are 24-26 January 2020. The expo is largest travel expo in East Africa, offering the ideal platform for B2B meetings between leading African products and top-producing global buyers. EATHE will be a platform which connects all stakeholders for each to capitalize the opportunities for their own utilities. The event is estimated to engage at least 400+ exhibitors and 5000 attendees from the travel industry globally and in this region, over 3,000 of these attendees are trade visitors (buyers).


Winners of WTM International Travel & Tourism Awards announced

London – The winners of the second International Travel & Tourism Awards, presented by WTM London, were announced recently at a glittering awards ceremony in London. The awards were presented to the winners in front of an audience of almost 500 senior industry professionals. Judged by an independent panel of experts from around the world, the awards showcase the best in 16 categories of the global travel and tourism industry. To see who the winners were in each category, go to:

Source: WTM

World Tourism Awards 2019 presented

London – The 2019 World Tourism Awards were presented, during the opening day of WTM London at Excel London recently. The honourees were Matthew D. Upchurch of Virtuoso, Asilia Africa, Nikoi Island/ The Island Foundation and Me to We ( Peter Greenberg, CBS News Travel Editor and multi-Emmy award-winning investigative reporter and world-renowned travel expert, hosted the Awards presentation. The World Tourism Awards, now celebrating its 22nd Anniversary, is co-  sponsored by The New York Times, United Airlines, The Travel Corporation and Reed Travel Exhibitions. The World Tourism Awards were established to “recognise individuals, companies, organisations, destinations and attractions for outstanding initiatives related to the travel and tourism industry, and in fostering sustainable tourism and developing programmes that give back to local communities.” The World Tourism Awards honoured Matthew D. Upchurch, CTC, Chairman & CEO of Virtuoso, in recognition of Virtuoso’s commitment to sustainable tourism practices. A World Tourism Award was also presented to Asilia Africa, in recognition of Asilia’s multi-pronged approach to make a positive impact on the local communities, wildlife and vital ecosystems of East Africa. Nikoi Island/ The Island Foundation  also received a World Tourism Award in recognition of Nikoi Island and its commitment to sustainability by having a positive impact on the local culture, community, conservation. Me to We (WE.ORG) was honoured with a World Tourism Award in recognition of Me to We’s impact through its partnership with WE Charity, providing more than 1 million people with clean water, building 1,500 schools overseas, and empowering children with access to education. The Award itself, Caring for Our World, sponsored by VisitMalta, was specially designed and handcrafted on the Mediterranean Island of Malta by Mdina Glass, and celebrates the qualities of leadership and vision that inspire others to care for all people around the Globe.


Source: Tatiana Rokou,