Gauteng Tourism Places Spotlight on Tourism and Rural Development at World Tourism Day Celebrations

Gauteng Tourism Authority (GTA) will lead the 2020 edition of World Tourism Day through a series of celebrations that will highlight the unique role that tourism plays in providing opportunities outside big cities and preserving cultural and natural heritage.

Celebrated on the 27th September under the theme of ‘Tourism and Rural Development’, this year’s World Tourism Day comes at a critical moment as the tourism sector looks to drive recovery, including that in rural communities where the sector is a leading employer and economic pillar. “This year’s theme was conceptualised, as a recognition of the important role that tourism plays in the development of rural communities by way of poverty alleviation, employment creation and overall stimulation of economic activities,” said Tourism Minister, Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane at the World Tourism Day launch in Cullinan last month. “Without tourism, many of these communities have no other form of economic activity that can help them generate income,” she added.

Accordingly, GTA has undertaken a set of activities to foster tourism awareness in local communities through targeted promotional drives. These include a #CreativeGP webinar engagement session with the dynamic creatives in province which has since brought synergies with provincial tourism in building considerable potential to grow demand and develop new products in the market.

As part of the promotion of domestic tourism during September – also marked as Tourism Month, a series of #HikingGP weekends at various Gauteng Provincial Government Owned and private Nature Reserves was also launched in the aim of showcasing the province’s natural and cultural heritage.

This weekend will culminate Tourism Month with the official celebrations of World Tourism Day in Maropeng Visitor Centre at the Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site. This domestic tourism drive has since brought a major boost to the tourism products within the Cradle region with an estimated 96% of the establishments fully booked this weekend. “The World Tourism Day celebrations, as part of domestic tourism awareness, have provided an opportunity to promote the potential of tourism to create jobs and business opportunities,” says GTA CEO, Yoland Kona. “It demonstrates how tourism and its value chain has contributed to social, cultural and economic value of the province – a key value of this UNWTO initiative.”

Kona adds that the approach at this point is to save the businesses and jobs locally through the risk adjusted approach and ensure Covid-19 protocols are in place for the recovery. “Everywhere in the world people are starving for travel, and we can and must make their stay and travel as safe as possible in Gauteng, continue our efforts at securing our visitor sites as well as showcase the indomitable spirit of our sector”, she says.

Proceedings of the World Tourism Day celebrations will be streamed live on Sunday, 27 September on the GovernmentZA You Tube channel. Follow Gauteng Tourism’s social media pages: @visitgauteng on Twitter and I Love Gauteng on Facebook for more on the weekend activities.

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