Tourism Month 2021

​Tourism Month is celebrated annually in September to highlight South Africa’s diverse tourism offerings as well as the sector’s significant contribution to the country’s economy. Inspired by the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), World Tourism Day celebrations on 27 September, Tourism Month provides a platform for the South African sector to celebrate, reflect and commemorate its milestones in relation to the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.

The 2021 UNWTO theme for World Tourism Day Celebrations is: “Tourism for inclusive growth” and the international official celebration will be held in Cote d'Ivoire in Africa. The theme links with Outcome 4 and 5 of Government’s Programme of Action that seeks to create decent employment through inclusive economic growth, and a skilled and vibrant workforce to support an inclusive growth path.

This is an opportunity to look beyond tourism statistics and acknowledge that behind every number, there is a person. The UNWTO invites its Member States and affiliates to celebrate tourism’s unique ability to ensure that nobody is left behind as the world begins to open up again and looks to the future.

Unlocking the potential of the tourism ecosystem and its extensive value chain, and investments facilitation in tourism, can deliver more inclusive and sustainable growth in new areas, including traditionally-marginalised communities. Alongside this, expanding access to tourism education and delivering sector-specific training will give everybody the chance to benefit from tourism’s future growth.

The 2021 Tourism Month was launched in the Free State on 27 August 2021, under the localised theme of World Tourism Day which is: “Tourism for Inclusive Growth – Covid-19 Recovery – Building Back Better.”

Tourism Month festivities are held throughout the country, culminating with the World Tourism Day celebrations that will be hosted in Clarens in the Free State Province, on 27 September 2021. For provincial events, please click here. 

These nation-wide festivities take place against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic - which has had a crippling impact on business. However, the sector implemented Health and Safety Protocols in line with global guidelines, to minimise the risk of transmission as well as a robust Recovery Plan to chart the way forward. World Tourism Day 2021 is also a unique occasion to amplify he conversation about the sector’s role in recovery and growth. Tourism Month therefore lends impetus to the Tourism Sector Recovery Plan which contains a set of interventions to protect and rejuvenate supply, reignite demand and strengthen enabling capability to support the sector’s recovery.

Domestic Tourism has a sharp focus during Tourism Month and South Africans are encouraged to travel and explore their country to try and help revive the sector as well as to promote nation building and social cohesion through the iconic Sho’t Left campaign.