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04th September, 2013.

SA Tourism launches new marketing campaign

South African Tourism has marked the imminent start of Tourism Month with the launch of a new marketing campaign, combined with various affordable holiday packages, aimed at growing the number of domestic travellers in the country.

Speaking at the official Tourism Month launch at Amazingwe Lodge in the North West province on Wednesday, Tourism Minister Marthinus Van Schalkwyk said South Africa was an exceptional global destination whose tourist arrivals growth consistently tracked higher than the worldwide average.

However, the contribution, and potential for further growth, of domestic tourism were often underestimated.

Speaking at a breakfast hosted by the South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Johannesburg last week, Van Schalkwyk noted that at any given moment, three-quarters of all tourists in the country were South Africans.

With non-travelling South Africans having indicated that they could not afford to travel or were not aware of accessible offerings, the sector had to work harder to address these information and cost barriers, the minister said.

"Through a partnership with the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) we have commissioned a feasibility study for a pilot budget resort chain aimed at an under-served market segment of would-be travellers earning less than $500 a month.

"We have also commissioned an audit of underused state assets and properties that could be developed into tourist attractions and facilities."

The new domestic marketing campaign dubbed "Nothing's More Fun than a Sho't Left" also tackles the affordability challenge, while seeking to "bring the fun back to travel".

In a statement on Wednesday, the South African Tourism said the campaign's television commercials, flighting from the beginning of September, would remind South Africans "that taking a holiday, even for a night or two, gives benefits that endure: great memories, quality time with loved ones, well-deserved escapes from dull routine, and a chance to experience new places, new people and new things".

The campaign also offers a number of holiday package deals designed, in partnership with South African Tourism's travel partners, to deliver "fun, easy, accessible and affordable holidays".

Tourism's direct contribution to the country's gross domestic product (GDP) grew to R84-billion in 2011, with the combined direct and indirect contribution making up 9% of GDP, Van Schalkwyk said.

At the same time, tourism directly and indirectly sustained 9% of employment in the country, which amounted to one in every 11 jobs.

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