holiday, so that they can experience what international visitors love about our country, being its beauty, its culture and heritage, and its warmth and friendliness. Domestic tourism is the ‘lifeblood’ of our economy, and generated more than R20 billion for the economy last year, the Minister said, reports the The Times. Domestic Tourism represents 76% of the number of tourists in South Africa.
In the first quarter of this year, 5,5 million trips were undertaken by locals, the economic value being 13% higher than in the same quarter in 2011. Minister van Schalkwyk encouraged the tourism industry to value the business of locals ‘as much as they value those of foreign visitors’, and advised tourism players to adapt their tourism products to suit locals.
Encouraging locals to be ‘tourists in their own country’, the Minister said: “When domestic tourism grows, we create a nation of tourism ambassadors who are knowledgeable and speak positively about our destination, who warmly welcome foreign tourists, and are helpful when they meet visitors. Well-travelled locals can easily and confidently recommend to both foreign tourists and fellow South Africans the best places to visit in South Africa for the best local experiences. So, I would like to encourage all South Africans to go and explore this wonderful destination. Go and meet your fellow South Africans, spend quality time with the people you love, and reward yourself with a much-needed break from everyday life. Whatever holiday experience we crave is available right here on our doorstep, and is easy, accessible and affordable”.
World Tourism Day is celebrated internationally on 27 September, and its theme is ‘Tourism and Sustainable Energy: Powering Sustainable Development’.
We would like to request the Tourism Minister to ensure that the local airlines have enough capacity to bring locals to Cape Town on weekends such as this one, to make them domestic tourists. We have received feedback from potential guests who wanted to spend the long weekend in the Cape that they could not get any airline seats for yesterday and today!
Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com Twitter: @WhaleCottage