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It’s a new era for domestic tourism in South Africa

by Mariette du Toit-Helmbold on 28.08.2013

At the official launch of Tourism Month at Amazingwe Lodge in the North West this morning, Tourism Minister Marthinus Van Schalkwyk, said excellent tourist arrivals growth of 10.2% in 2012 had made South Africa an exceptional global destination whose arrivals growth consistently tracked higher than the worldwide average. It had put the destination firmly on track to reach its target of being one of the 20 top destinations in the world by 2020.

The new domestic tourism marketing campaign “Nothing’s More Fun than a Sho’t Left”, aims to stimulate and grow domestic tourism in the country by encouraging South Africans to take short breaks within their country.

Tough economic times and social and political issues impact significantly on our lives. Some of the joy has been taken out of living and equally so some of the joy has been taken out of travel. For most South Africans taking a break is the last thing on their mind.

The campaign emphasises the fun of getting away even if it is somewhere close by. South African Tourism says ‘Nothing’s More Fun than a Sho’t Left’ brings the fun back to travel. It reminds South Africans that taking a holiday, even for a night or two, gives benefits that endure: great memories, quality time with loved ones, well-deserved escapes from dull routine, and a chance to experience new places, new people and new things.

The campaign features well priced value for money holiday packages: deals put together in partnership with South African Tourism’s travel trade partners to deliver the fun, easy, accessible and affordable holidays that ‘Nothing’s More Fun than a Sho’t Left’ promises.

‘Nothing’s More Fun than a Sho’t Left’ features local celebrity Dr Malinga as he takes a group of friends (with his infectious sense of fun and cheerful love of life) around the country, experiencing the beauty, friendliness and awesomeness that South Africa offers tourists. Watch the fun advert here.

“In 2012,” Van Schalkwyk said, “12.5-million adult South Africans took 25.4-million trips and spent an average of 4.8 nights away from home per trip. “Last year’s tourism growth definitely confirms that our investment in tourism promotion and campaigns are bearing fruit. South Africa’s tourism growth rate, that’s well above the global growth rate, justifies the need to celebrate tourism. This industry contributes 2.9% directly and 9% percent overall to our GDP.”
Nothing’s More Fun Than a Sho’t Left, leverages the hugely successful Sho’t Left campaign that was in market up to the end of 2011. “Market research found that we needed to up our messages of value, accessibility, and the sheer fun of a South African holiday. As a result, the Nothing’s More Fun Than a Sho’t Left campaign was born,” said Van Schalkwyk.

Tourism Month festivities are focussed on North West Province this year as the Minister and other tourism dignitaries joined journalists and members of the travel trade to celebrate some of the many experiences that this region offers visitors.

There was a strong slant on water-based tourism activities to reflect the United Nations World Travel Organisation world-wide theme: Tourism and Water, Protecting our Common Future. Activities were arranged by 2011 Emerging Tourism Entrepreneur of the Year (ETEYA) winner, Kagiso Legobe whose extremely successful career and business in tourism was born out of his passion for the great outdoors and the adventure that open spaces and a pristine environment offer in South Africa.

Minister Van Schalkwyk said Tourism Month 2013 would herald a new era for domestic tourism in South Africa. “It’s an era in which the whole nation will get out there and experience the fun and sheer wonder of a South African holiday.”

To take advantage of great special offers this Tourism Month and to get involved in the fun, infectious Nothing’s More Fun than a Sho’t Left campaign; follow @shotleft on Twitter; tweet the #NothingsMoreFun hashtag; go and like shotleft on FaceBook; visit the website; or log onto the mobisite:

For inspiration, read more about my favourite local getaways here.