South African tourism authorities are launching new marketing plans and initiatives for 2017 that trade can benefit from. Kim Emmanuel spoke to some of the country’s national, provincial and city tourism bodies to find out more about their plans.

South Africa

This year, South African Tourism will focus on its ‘five in five’ strategy, which aims to increase the number of travellers to and in South Africa by five million over the next five years. The additional travellers who are being targeted are broken down into four million international travellers and one million domestic travellers.

Margie Whitehouse, CMO of SA Tourism, said the tourism body could now tick off the first step in this process – optimising market investments. The econometric model looked at the propensity to travel from a number of different markets. Whitehouse said 29 markets, including South Africa’s key source markets, had shown potential for return on investment in contributing towards the targeted four million arrivals.

At Indaba this year, SA Tourism would launch a single campaign that was able to work right across the globe, ensuring consistency in the brand offering, said Whitehouse. “We’re building a recognised, appealing, resilient and competitive tourism and business events brand across all the markets and segments.”

South African Tourism’s marketing collateral, imagery, insights and analytics will also be made free and open source by April. Whitehouse said that by making this data openly available, the trade could get involved in “talking the same language” to market South Africa more effectively.

The Western Cape

This year Wesgro will be working towards building on the foundation set by Project Khulisa in 2016, a set of economic initiatives that aims to create up to 100 000 jobs in the province over the next five years.

Three challenges were identified – a lack of awareness of the Western Cape, a lack of access caused by few direct flights and visa regulations, and a lack of attractiveness. To tackle these, Wesgro will work on various initiatives during 2017. The first centres on building a competitive identity. In line with this, Wesgro will approach its partners on developmental work to put together marketing tool-kits, imagery, videos, and training programmes for trade. Once the work is complete, the trade will be able to make use of the content free of charge.

The Western Cape will also continue to invest in emerging markets, with a focus on the Middle East and Halal Tourism. Wesgro will hold monthly engagements with membership bodies such as Satsa and Satoa, for which the dates will soon be confirmed.

Research provided by Wesgro will also start to include both demographic and psychographic data, with new market insights from 2017.

Trade looking to get involved in any of these initiatives can contact Inge Dykman on


The City of Durban will focus on converting its various campaign strategies into actual visitor numbers this year, by working with stakeholders and other members of the trade to package products in the destination. The tourism body also recently appointed US-based PHG Consulting to market the city to the North American market as part of a three-year contract.

Durban Tourism will redevelop the city’s cruise terminal. The new terminal will be able to handle larger ships, enabling Durban to be a hub port for neighbouring countries. This terminal will be a larger, world-class and state-of the-art passenger terminal that can handle between 5 000 and 6 000 passengers.

The new building will include restaurants, banking facilities, tourist information centres and parking facilities for approximately 600 vehicles. It is expected to be operational in 2018.

Durban Tourism is also in the initial stages of implementing the Point Development Project, which is intended to revitalise a formerly urban decayed area in the city and to transform it into a hub of economic and tourism activities. The project will comprise various mixed-use developments with upmarket residential, retail, commercial and hotel developments that currently exist or are being planned.

The tourism body also hosts forum discussion meetings for stakeholders to discuss a range of issues and product development. The next meeting should take place between April and June.

A small craft harbour also forms part of future development plans, and will be linked to a mixed-use waterfront development. The proposed new terminal will connect Durban to the development of the Durban Point Waterfront.

Durban Tourism can be contacted through its website at


This year Gauteng Tourism will focus more on township tourism promotion. Barba Gaoganediwe, Head: Destination Promotions and Marketing, said the township tourism offering would focus on different interests, including history, heritage and culture. The aim is to attract visitors to alternative hubs other than Alexandra Township and Soweto. Gaoganediwe told Tourism Update that Gauteng Tourism Authority would be working with 50 Gauteng townships over the next three years.

Another key focus area for the authority will be paleo-tourism. While chasing large numbers of visitors is not the key objective, Gaoganediwe explained that the goal was to increase awareness among interest groups that would include scientists and others involved in palaeontology research.

The tourism authority will collaborate with museums around the world to drive this initiative. National Geographic has also been brought on board to showcase more of what the destination has to offer in terms palaeontology.

Existing campaigns will also continue to be supported such as the #GPlifestyle campaign, which aims to showcase a variety of the destination’s attractions, as well as the ‘Stay another day’ campaign, which targets international conference delegates and encourages them to extend their stay in the province.

Trade who are interested in getting involved in any of these initiatives can contact the authority through its website by clicking on ‘Contact us’ under the Media tab at 


Xolani Mthethwa, Head: Tourism, told Tourism Update that Mpumalanga Tourism and Parks Agency (MTPA) had put together draft plans to be approved by February, when the budget was set and confirmed.

The theme ‘Mpumalanga beyond Wildlife’ was launched at Indaba 2016. The campaign aims to market more of the province so that it is not known only as the gateway to the Kruger National Park and other private game lodges. Mthethwa said a number of engagements were taking place concerning Pilgrim’s Rest and said he hoped that in the new financial year they would be able to announce the way forward for development of the town.

Other tourism attractions that will receive an upgrade and revamp include Bourke’s Luck Potholes, God’s Window and the Three Rondavels, along the Blyde River Canyon. Ablution facilities, gating, kiosks and parking facilities will all be upgraded. Completion date for the upgrades is expected to be the end of March.

Mpumalanga will also host the World Tourism Day celebration in September, with plans to kick-start the build-up towards this. Mthethwa said the province hoped to start as early as April to have packages available and also host events that would work as a build-up to the World Tourism Day celebrations.

In May MTPA will launch a new website that aims to be easier to use and navigate, will allow trade to update their information as well as post any specials they have on offer.

Trade interested in collaborating with the tourism authority can contact Gao Seleka at