As part of the Nelson Mandela centenary celebrations, South African Tourism is hosting 17 journalists from around the world, receiving a hands-on experience of attractions, key landmarks and sites that formed part of his life as they walk in the footsteps of South Africa’s former President.

Blaque Wine and Grill House in Parkwood, Johannesburg.

Tourism Update had the opportunity to dine with the 17 journalists at Blaque Wine and Grill House in Johannesburg, hosted by SA Tourism and with esteemed Chef, Sizo Henna, serving traditional African cuisine with a twist. During the course of the evening, Sisa Ntshona, CEO of SA Tourism, said:  “We see this as an investment in terms of making sure we start to tell the South African story.”

Owner and Chef of Blaque Wine and Grill House, Sizo Henna.

The hosted journalists, who originate from countries such as Spain, Italy, India, Brazil, Japan, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Australia, the UK and the Netherlands, will visit, amongst other places, the Apartheid Museum; the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory; the award-winning heritage site Liliesleaf; the Union buildings in Pretoria; the Nelson Mandela Capture Site in KwaZulu Natal; Madiba’s birth province, the Eastern Cape; and the Drakenstein Correctional Services in the Western Cape. 

As part of their itinerary, the journalists will mingle, interact and talk to various South Africans who will share their life experiences with the late President.

“The Mandela centenary is an  important milestone in South Africa’s history, and as we reflect on our late former President’s legacy in a year when he  turns  100 years old, we are proud to share our beautiful country with people from around the world,” commented Ntshona.

“We know Madiba’s life touched many people from all over the globe and so we continue to invite them to come experience South Africa by following in the footsteps of one of the world’s most iconic human rights advocates.”

Ntshona said that South Africa was fortunate to not only have beautiful tourism attractions and experiences, rich in history and heritage, but also warm, welcoming people who add to the memorable experiences that any visitor can have when visiting the country. “It is vital that we use this to position tourism to grow and contribute in creating the much-needed jobs in our country,” added Ntshona.

SA Tourism is over a year and a half into its ‘5-in-5’ strategy to attract an additional five million tourists by 2021, made up of four million more international arrivals and one million more domestic holiday trips. The latest tourist arrivals statistics show an increase of 2.7% for the first five months of 2018 compared with the first five months of 2017. 

“We are pleased to have these media in our country as they are critical partners in sharing the South African story with potential travellers across the world. Through these media we are able to ensure that South Africa is an attractive tourist destination for travellers from across the world,  and they continue to recognise South Africa’s worth as an attractive, value-for-money destination offering a vibrant variety of tourism experiences,” concluded Ntshona.