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​“The South African tourism sector is well on its way in achieving its goal of becoming one of the top 20 destinations in the world by 2020 as set out in the National Tourism Sector Strategy and the Domestic Tourism Growth Strategy (NTSS),” said the Minister of Tourism, Marthinus van Schalkwyk, at the World Tourism Day celebrations held at Matlosana, Klerksdorp in the North West province. 

Earlier in the year President Jacob Zuma announced a 10.2% growth in international tourist visitors to South Africa in 2012.  South Africa’s 2012 tourist growth rate exceeded the United Nations World Tourism Organisation’s (UNWTO) estimated global tourist growth rate of 4%. “With the recent launch of our Nothing’s More Fun than a Short Left campaign, we anticipate positive domestic tourist growth ratings as South Africans hit the road and explore the country”, said van Schalkwyk. 

Tourism Month offered the sector a month-long opportunity to highlight the importance of tourism and its benefits to the economy.  In addition to highlighting the country’s various attractions, heritage sites and affordable travel packages, provincial government departments and tourism stakeholders hosted a myriad of festivities that showcased the sectors initiatives towards addressing some of the objectives outlined in the National Development Plan that speak to SMME empowerment; transformation; Skills development and job creation for the youth. 
 
The Tourism Business Council of South Africa (TBCSA) in partnership with the National Department of tourism hosted its inaugural “Women in Travel and Tourism Celebration” on the 6th of September 2013. The “Women in Travel and Tourism Celebration” event recognized the contribution of women to the tourism sector and celebrated successful female leaders. “Women in Travel and Tourism Celebration” is set to be an annual event that will incorporate that will focus on transformation and leadership development for women. 
 
South African Tourism (SAT) and National Department of Tourism (NDT) hosted the inaugural Lilizela Tourism Awards on the 12th of September, which saw Mr Jabu Mabuza walk away with the Minister’s Award for Tourism Excellence.
 
The Eastern Cape hosted a successful National Tourism Career’s expo (NTCE) from the 19- 21 of September in East London.  More than 8000 young learners and unemployed graduates attended the three day event that displayed a plethora of potential career opportunities within the tourism and hospitality sector. Minister Van Schalkwyk encouraged young South Africans to choose tourism as a preferred career of choice.
 
The World Tourism Day Celebrations hosted by the North West provinces in Matlosana, Klerksdorp culminated the month’s festivities with a focus on Water.  “As we celebrate World Tourism Day under the UNWTO theme “Tourism and Water, Protecting our common heritage”, we are reminded of the critical role the tourism sector can play in conserving this scarce and limited resource which is vital to the sustainability of tourism.” said Minister Van Schalkwyk.
 
For further information:
 
Mr Trevor Bloem
Chief Director – Communications
National Department of Tourism
Telephone: +27 (0) 12 444 6607
Cell: +27 (0) 82 771 6729
Email: bloem@tourism.gov.za 
 
Issued by The National Department of Tourism