With South Africa currently in Adjusted Alert Level One for Covid Response and the recent announcement that the country has been taken off the UK’s red list, the tourism sector has kicked into gear its Global Advocacy Programme to ramp up advocacy efforts in key source markets around the world.
This advocacy programme forms part of the Tourism Sector Recovery Plan, which was recently adopted by the national government and the tourism sector.
South Africa has recently been taken off the red lists of key markets such as the USA, Netherlands and Germany. With the UK being the latest country to follow, this represents a major boost for the struggling tourism sector.
The Global Advocacy Programme was initiated by the Department of Tourism, South African Tourism (SA Tourism) and the Tourism Business Council of South Africa (TBCSA), following protracted damaging narratives and misinformation reported globally about South Africa.
“We are going to embark on a strategic yet direct approach to our markets to ensure that consumers, trade partners and the global media are truthfully informed about the memorable and affordable, easy accessibility and safety factors that come with travelling to South Africa in this Covid-19 environment,” said Minister of Tourism, Lindiwe Sisulu.
“We have learnt quite a bit over the last few weeks as we dealt with various missions and embassies in working behind the scenes to get South Africa off the red lists and travel advisories, which has shut us out of the world, and the world from us.”
“It’s these learnings along with contributions from the sector that we will take into this important advocacy programme to lead the reshaping of the South African narrative to a positive and welcoming one and increase our arrivals from tourists, both for leisure and business events, to this end we anticipate some early shoots ahead of the festive season,” stated Minister Sisulu.
SA Tourism Acting CEO, Sthembiso Dlamini, is also excited about the recent turn of events as South Africa opens up to the word.
“As the economy slowly opens up with the lifting of restrictions including the recent announcement from the UK Government, we have a golden opportunity as the tourism sector to build on this and use this to our benefit. From a country attractiveness and brand appeal perspective, travellers need to be assured that South Africa is safe, affordable, welcoming, with a variety of value for money and unique experiences,” explained Dlamini.
“Working with policy makers and influential voices in the global tourism sector, we need to show that South Africa is the country to visit and do business in. We need strong supporting global agency partners to work with us in instilling confidence by getting key messages to our trade partners and consumers in our source markets around the world. I am extremely pleased that we have the Brave Group on board with us,” adds Dlamini.
Dlamini’s sentiments were echoed by TBCSA CEO, Tshifhiwa Tshivhengwa. “Our inbound tourism recovery is dependent on the attractiveness of our brand as a tourist destination. The Global Advocacy Programme will help to rebuild our country’s brand and this will ultimately attract more tourists to visit our beautiful country. The recovery and re-imagination of tourism in South Africa will benefit from the successful implementation of this programme globally. The TBCSA fully supports the advocacy programme as a catalyst for tourism recovery,” explained Tshivhengwa.
The Brave Group has been appointed as the partnering agency to work with the Department of Tourism, SA Tourism and the TBCSA in executing the advocacy programme across key source markets over the next three years. They will be working with specialist agencies, MMGY Global and Africa Desk, to build positive brand affinity for South Africa with the international leisure travel and business community.