"I stand before you after a phenomenal year for tourism in South Africa, to which every one of you made a significant contribution."
International tourism arrivals to South Africa grew by 15.1 percent in 2010, with the undoubted tourism highlight being our country's successful hosting of the World Cup. We are ready to turn this new potential into long term, sustainable growth," said tourism minister Marthinus van Schalkwyk at the Tourism Indaba Opening Ceremony, which featured multi-Grammy award winners Ladysmith Black Mambazo and acclaimed actor John Kani, with messages of welcome from Durban mayor Obed Mlaba and Kwazulu-Natal premier Zweli Mkhize, setting Indaba off on a high note.
This year the theme for the Tourism Indaba, which ran at the ICC in Durban from May 7 to 10, 2011 was "Playing globally, winning locally", which encapsulated the ideals of shared and inclusive growth and job creation in the South African tourism sector, to be achieved by establishing a strong international presence in support of becoming a global player.
Minister van Schalkwyk said the recently-announced National Tourism Sector Strategy targets - which aims to increase the number of foreign tourist arrivals to 15 million, the number of domestic trips to 50-million, increase tourism's contribution to the GDP from an estimated R189.4 billion in 2009 to R499 billion and aim to create 225 000 new tourism jobs by 2020 - was only possible through a collaborative effort by all tourism stakeholders.
With nearly 3 000 international hosted buyers and visitors attending INDABA 2011, Minister van Schalkwyk stressed it remained Africa's most important tourism and business networking gathering, with the thousands of meetings take place expected to generate millions of rands into the tourism economy.
For South African Tourism, the unique welcoming spirit of South Africa's people - coupled with its spectacularly diverse tourist attractions - is at the heart of the second phase of its global marketing and advertising campaign "20 Experiences in 10 Days". The campaign, which launched internationally at the Tourism Indaba, is set to showcase the destination to one billion people in over 600 million households in the next financial year on television commercials, print media and online. It features the authentic experiences in South Africa of couples and friends from China, Brazil, Angola and Germany - key core and emerging markets.
Additional global SA Tourism campaigns this year include the continuation of the National Geographic Adventurers Wanted campaign, aimed at entrenching South Africa's leadership as an adventure destination in seven key markets (Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands and the UK), as well as a new Sho't Left Campaign encouraging domestic travel by South Africans.