Tourism’s road towards Vision 2020

May 2011 gave rise to a number of interesting developments set to influence the future of tourism. President Jacob Zuma signed the Global Leaders for Tourism campaign – the first African head of state to do so – which is a joint initiative to boost international tourism between the United Nations World Tourism Organisation and the World Travel & Tourism Council. 

Tourism was identified by the South African government as one of six job drivers in the New Growth Path framework.  Goals are to increase the number of international tourist arrivals to South Africa from 7-million in 2009 to 15-million by 2020, domestic tourist arrivals from 14.6-million in 2009 to 18-million by 2020 and to increase tourism’s contribution to the economy from R189-billion in 2009 to R499-billion in 2020.

I welcome the content of Minister of Tourism Marthinus van Schalkwyk’s tourism budget speech, which was released on April 20, 2011. Minister van Schalkwyk reported on three themes that the South African tourism industry would pursue over the next financial year: new growth, shared growth and green growth.

Click here to read more about the three themes.

Growth in tourism is both tangible and necessary and we applaud the minister’s proactive approach to the task of growing tourism in a way that is sustainable and shared. The continued support of projects such as the Tourism Enterprise Partnership and the Social Responsibility Implementation Programme is important for ensuring meaningful development across several key socio-economic areas.

We at Cape Town Tourism have aligned our strategy with these themes for some time now, and, with Cape Town Tourism’s Vision 2020 plan, we aim to double the economic impact of tourism in Cape Town by 2020. It is heartening to feel the support and unity of a national direction for tourism growth and the ongoing role it has to play in driving employment. The City of Cape Town has been a pioneer in responsible tourism for many years and we feel sure that the self-regulation and willingness of tourism players to engage in sustainable, responsible growth can now be actualised with the backing of legislation and high-level commitment.

We welcome the chance to engage with other tourism entities in upholding the pillars of a future-fit destination.  To this end, Cape Town Tourism, Johannesburg Tourism and Durban Tourism met at INDABA this weekend to initiate a joint city marketing agreement between the three cities. Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban are South Africa’s economic and tourism hubs and the agreement will see them collaborate to maximise tourism development and marketing.

The backbone of the agreement will consist of product and destination packaging, collaboration on events and trade shows, as well as shared collateral and online campaigns aimed at the international and domestic markets.

This is the outcome of the three cities reassessing strategies and committing to go beyond the traditional to challenge compartmentalised marketing thinking.  Cape Town, Johannesburg and Durban tell three very different and unique but complementary stories. I strongly believe that we add value to each other’s leisure and business tourism offering and I think that this will also go a long way towards providing the prospective international traveller with a seamless impression of destination South Africa. The time has come for us to use creative and innovative ways to maximise the domestic and international leisure, as well as business tourism potential, for all three cities.

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