Summer 2011 got off to a busy start with the Joburg Tourism Company’s summer destination activation campaign “Rediscover Joburg” - designed to support and showcase the broad range of lifestyle options available to both visitors and locals.
On the sporting calendar earlier this year, Joburg successfully hosted both the Joburg Open Golf tournament, the ATP SA Tennis Open and the Cell Cycle Tour in January and February, while there is still the Top Gear Live Prototype World Tour in March to look forward to – and of course, not forgetting the line-up of international performers scheduled to entertain the city during 2011.
To date high profile international artists and shows include U2, Faithless, Riverdance and Sean Kingston, to name but a few. During February the city also hosted the prestigious Africa Fashion International [AFI] Joburg Fashion Week [JFW] at a variety of iconic, culturally rich, visually unique and diverse inner-city locations, where the City’s most talented designers showcased their Autumn and Winter fashion lines.
A fitting finale for the Joburg Fashion Week was held on the cable-stayed Nelson Mandela Bridge, featuring 92 modes models representing Madiba’s years. The JFW a precursor to the exciting AFI Africa Fashion Week, which will take place in Joburg in October 2011.
In February, the city also played host to Meetings Africa, the continent’s premier annual business tourism expo, which exceeded expectations this year. Business tourism is a key driver for tourism growth and development and Meetings Africa therefore remains a top priority for the JTC’s Convention & Events Bureau in its quest to increase Joburg’s market share of global events on the international bid circuit.
Over 7 000 official meetings were scheduled during Meetings Africa 2011, breaking previous records and exceeding the expectations of platform owners, SA Tourism. Unaudited attendance numbers for the event were 3 353, up from last year’s 2 899 delegates. South African Tourism hosted 123 international buyers and 32 international media from global core markets and this year’s Association Day was attended by 52 delegates. Nomasonto Ndlovu (Global Business Tourism Manager at SA Tourism), maintains that the continued success of Meetings Africa will ensure that South Africa remained well placed to cement its position as one of the most intriguing and dynamic business tourism destinations in the world.
Opening Meetings Africa on Monday, 21 February 2011, South Africa’s Tourism Minister, Marthinus van Schalkwyk highlighted the increasingly significant role that business tourism will play in facilitating government’s job creation objectives.
“Tourism contributed an estimated 7.7 percent to South Africa’s Gross Domestic Product in 2010. Business tourism will no doubt play a role in getting more visitors to South Africa. We have always maintained that it is imperative that we leverage the success and learning of the World Cup, especially in the tourism industry in South Africa. It is clear business tourism has been bolstered by a new sense of energy and direction and I believe this will make a significant contribution to consolidating our continent’s position in the global arena and demonstrating our capabilities in terms of hosting international events.
We have already secured almost 200 meetings and conferences in South Africa over the next five years, attracting more than 300 000 delegates to our country. The potential economic impact of these confirmed meetings and conferences is more than R1.6-billion.”
The Minister expects South Africa’s inclusion as the fifth country in the powerful Brazil, Russia, India and China (BRIC) partnership to boost business. These countries account for 40 percent of the world’s population and annual global GDP and are set to become the global growth engine.
“Collectively, these countries are expected to outperform major industrialised economies over the next two years. South Africa stands to gain tremendously from our inclusion into the BRIC partnership. Amongst others, we expect that increased levels of trade and investment activity between South Africa and the other partner countries will also lead to increased business travel and business meetings. In addition, South Africa will be able to share and learn from these countries in terms of business tourism success stories and identify opportunities for stronger collaboration in bidding for and staging major business events.”
Briefing Parliament on 1 March 2011, the Minister reported that South Africa recorded a 15.1% increase in tourist arrivals to the country last year. “In 2010 we saw more than eight million tourist arrivals (8 073 552) to the country, compared to just over seven million (7 011 865) in 2009. This compares very well in international terms.
Figures from the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) show that global tourism arrivals are estimated to have grown by 6.7% in 2010, which means that South Africa outperformed the global market by more than 8%.”
Now proudly taking its place as Africa’s second largest city, Joburg is growing at an unprecedented rate – constantly and continuously transforming itself. It’s seen not only as the economic hub of the Continent, but also as offering a plethora of cultural, leisure, sporting, fashion and lifestyle activities that is fast making us the leading destination for both leisure and business tourists.
Joburg’s legendary shopping, dining, entertainment and nightlife is complemented by fabulous weather as well as an astonishing array of facilities like spectacular golf courses, gyms, spa’s, wellness centres which add to its appeal as a destination.
“While our city may have been founded on a nugget of gold, it’s no longer our Stock Exchange or being the business epicenter for a continent alone that make us famous – rather it’s the diversity, vibrancy and warmth of our people, the countless cultures they represent and the infinite choices the city offers its citizens and visitors,” says Kwele. “Jozi has become an eclectic mix of people and cultures that have combined over a century to deliver myriads of talent and services capable of enthralling even the most seasoned of cosmopolitan travelers – we invite visitors to stay, play and discover why those who live in Joburg love it – and those who visit our mighty city never forget it!”