The Mpumalanga Tourism and Parks Agency (MTPA) announced its support to Mpumalanga event’s organisers last month to boost local tourism and to position the province as a premier tourism destination.
“These events will bring economic stimulation to local people by selling their products, guest houses will be fully booked, and restaurants will be packed and other businesses will benefit from these activities,” said Mduduzi Vilakazi, MTPA CEO.
These events will also create job opportunities for local people, such as security guards, waiters, hawkers, local transport owners and many more.
The events lined up are as follows:
- Mpumalanga Music Dance and Craft – November 26.
- 013 Summer Blaze – December 2
- Zithabiseni All White Festival – January 1.
One of the other key events, Mpumalanga Music Festival, took place on November 4.
The MTPA also supports the Mpumalanga Cultural Experience organised by the Mpumalanga Department of Culture, Sports and Recreation, which will be rolled out from November 15 until December 9.
“Tourists will have many options whilst enjoying their stay in Mpumalanga province. Tourists from all walks of life are encouraged to choose Mpumalanga as a tourism destination,” the MTPA said in a statement.
The MTPA informed Tourism Update that it supported these events through collaboration, marketing collaterals or partnership, which come in the form of financial and risk transfer.
“The support includes the establishment of a joint committee for event co-ordination as well as event content development that ensures value for money linked to optimal benefit for tourism. These partnerships include provision of free marketing (exhibition) platforms to emerging tourism and trade businesses. We also encourage giving access to food vendors at the event venue at no cost, in order to sell their food to the attendees of the events,” the MPTA said.
Steady increase in MICE sector
According to the MTPA, Mpumalanga has seen a steady increase in the MICE sector.
For example, the Mpumalanga Government entered into a three-year contract with the South African Broadcasting Corporation regarding the hosting of the Metro FM awards in Mpumalanga.
The province also supports annual events such as the Mpumalanga Sports Awards, the Innibos music concert (drawing in excess of 30 000 participants), Mpumalanga Cultural Experience hosted in the three districts for various themes (entertaining in excess of 40 000 attendees), and the Sun Riders Rally (bikers, drawing more than 5 000 people).
The 013 Summer Blaze attracted more than 15 000 attendees in its first chapter, and the All White Party on January 1 each year, held at Zithabiseni Resort, draws more than 9 000 tourists.
Furthermore, the MTPA is promoting the bidding for big conferences to be held in the province.
“We are partnering with organisations/associations, media houses, universities and municipalities in hosting conferences. We hosted the International Association for Impact Assessment for South Africa, which drew interest from other countries, who sent delegations, which boosted international tourist arrivals and tourism spend. Events in Mpumalanga are very big and attract people from different provinces and other countries such as the Kingdom of Eswatini and Mozambique as part of our Triland brand partnership,” the MTPA said.
The province has facilities for events, however not big enough to host large conferences, except those where marquees are erected.
The facilities mostly used for conferencing in the province are:
- Ingwenyama Lodge – hosts up to 4 000 delegates.
- Skukuza Nombolo Mdhluli – hosts up to 4 000 delegates.
- Mbombela Stadium – suites that can host up to 2 000 delegates.
- The Ridge Hotel in Emalahleni – hosts up to 2 000 delegates.
- Graceland in Secunda – hosts up to 2 000 delegates.
- The Nutting House – hosts up to 3 000 delegates.
- University of Mpumalanga – hosts up to 5 000 delegates.
- Tshwane University of Technology Mbombela Campus – hosts up to 4 500 delegates.
“These events and conferencing facilities are popular for their unique tourism offerings. Other considered factors are proximity to the airport, closer tourism attractions, flexibility and accessibility of transportation (land or air) as well as availability of accommodation.
“Mpumalanga is primarily endowed with scenic beauty and hosts the Big Five game in various reserves, including the popular Kruger National Park. It has a comparative advantage over other provinces due to its proximity to Mozambique and the Kingdom of Eswatini while sharing borders Limpopo, Gauteng and KwaZulu Natal provinces,” the MTPA said.