Mpumalanga has announced that it is truly ready to welcome both local and international tourists once again following the announcement that the UK has taken South Africa off its red list.
The announcement was made during the Mpumalanga Provincial Showcase at the Expo 2020 Dubai on Wednesday, 15 December. The event formed part of the South African pavilion's Provincial Showcase series that is taking all nine provinces – and its myriad of tourist attractions – to a global audience. The pavilion's theme “Think South Africa, Think Opportunity," calls on investors from around the world to consider South Africa a business destination.
According to CEO of Mpumalanga Tourism & Parks Agency, Johannes Nobunga, the province is more than prepared to welcome tourists this festive season as its tourist attractions are Covid-compliant. “We want to remind travel partners that Mpumalanga is travel-ready. We want to assure travellers that we will be enforcing the Covid-19 health and safety protocols at all of our nature reserves and tourist attractions."
The agency is launching its own Jab4Tourism campaign – similar to the national programme – on 16 December to encourage all of the province's tourism staff to get vaccinated so as to get the industry back on its feet. “The Jab4Toruism campaign remains one of our priority programmes for this festive season. This will place confidence in all of our visitors and convince people to choose Mpumalanga as preferred destination of choice."
Red list omission a boon for Mpumalanga
The acting CMO of Mpumalanga Tourism & Parks Agency, Sma Dlamini, said South Africa's omission from the UK red list is a boon for the province as it will help it regain tourism traction. “We are ready to welcome visitors and we are working very hard to come up with new products to entice visitors."
Mpumalanga's biggest attraction is the Kruger National Park, which, according to South African National Parks, attracted as many 1.5-million domestic and international visitors annually before Covid-19 halted tourism. For the upcoming festive season, Dlamini said the park will be open and safe for travellers. “The Kruger is open and people are already streaming into this 2-million hectare gem."
Dlamini also asked that tourists turn their gaze to other parts of Mpumalanga. Travellers looking for a great culinary experience can visit one of many quality restaurants in Dullstroom, a town known for its fly-fishing heritage. They can also make their way to Sudwala Caves for a tour of its crystals and butterflies. For the more adventurous, a swing from the top of the Graskop Gorge, might just be the right panacea after a long year.
Dlamini added that the province's most exciting development is the installation of a glass skywalk at God's Window, “almost like the one at the Grand Canyon". Visitors will be able to get a heady view of the lush indigenous forested ravine 900 metres below their feet. The skywalk is due to be complete in 2023.
The Gauteng province will be the next province to showcase on Thursday, 15 December 2021 – To catch these events, register on the pavilion's online portal.
Keep up with the South African Pavilion Team on Twitter using the handle TeamSA_Expo2020. Follow the events at the pavilion using #ThinkOpportunity #Expo2020SA #ShareSouthAfrica.