It is a great honour for me as Premier of the beautiful Province of KwaZulu-Natal to witness the official opening of Africa’s Travel Indaba 2023 as it again takes place at the iconic Inkosi Albert Luthuli Convention Centre.
We are indeed privileged to be part of the launch of what is South Africa’s global marketing campaign for this financial year, and the launch of our country’s Global Brand.
LAUNCHING ON BRAND SOUTH AFRICA
One of the world’s foremost experts on Branding is a man called Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin Group, who describes Brands as follows:
“Branding demands commitment; commitment to continual reinvention; striking chords with people to stir their emotions and commitment to imagination. It is easy to be cynical about such things, much harder to be successful”.
Ladies and Gentlemen, the unfolding story of the South Africa the Brand is a fascinating one.
As experts like Mr Branson demonstrate, all brands are work in progress which need to be shaped and guarded jealously all the time.
Most of all I however believe that our greatest asset is our people.
ON THE ROAD TO TOURISM-LED RECOVERY
Ladies and Gentlemen, this event is of major significance to the province as it shines the spotlight of the world on us and will bring much needed boost to our Gross Domestic Product.
Tourism is one of the foremost sectors we have identified as part of our Economic Recovery and Reconstruction Plan, and this gathering marks a critical tipping point in our recovery as we leave behind us all legacies of the damaging floods.
As figures for the festive season indicate, the return of our tourism sector is well on its way having recorded a recovery of R2.5 billion during the December period. As provincial government announced, the province welcomed over half a million (over 500 000) domestic tourists and fifty-one thousand (51 000) international tourists.
We were also pleased that according to Tourism KwaZulu-Natal the occupancy rate from 26 December 2022, to 01 January 2023 reached an average of 81% across the province.
For KwaZulu-Natal the tourism sector is the goose that lays the golden egg, and which will boost efforts for the creation of jobs, ending poverty and narrowing the gap between the rich and poor by availing opportunities for entrepreneurship and opening the sector to new players
May we thus take this opportunity to welcome you all to this great land of the Zulu, where in the majestic Ukhahlamba Drakensberg mountain range the Khoi and the San left their trademark paintings and footprints.
Welcome to the land where the Mahatma Gandhi helped launch peaceful global resistance to injustice.
Welcome to the land where the Great Shembe people worship freely alongside other faiths. Welcome to the sunny beaches of eThekwini, the world-class safari parks, the temperate climate of our province and so much more.
On behalf of government and the people of our province we wish all our visitors a pleasant stay in KwaZulu-Natal.