WATCH | SA Tourism launches new campaign during SONA, what do you think South Africa?

South African Tourism, as our country's destination marketer has been criticised for 'being unfocused' as of late, but CEO Sisa Ntshona says, "It is time for us to shift our tourism brand focus beyond built and endowed features to include our true magic…our people."

READ: SA’s drop in tourists carries a hefty R5-billion price tag, 'the time for action is now'

The country watched as President Cyril Ramaphosa shared the State of the Nation Address (SONA) on Thursday, 13 January with SA Tourism using the moment to launch an emotive first step in its global brand journey. 

It took the form of a ninety second advertisement that was flighted during SONA and is part of its strategy to achieve the arrivals targets announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa at SONA 2019 to reach 21-million visitors by 2030.

Overall, international tourist arrivals in 2019 are down 11.65 percent. That is 1.25 million less people visited (10.47 million in 2018 versus 9.25 million in 2019) in the past year, according to data from the tourism board.

The new campaign is expected to use a "combination of creating demand for tourist travel to and within South Africa and simultaneously influencing the removal of barriers to travel to South Africa". SA Tourism says it will unveil the second phase of the global brand campaign later this month.  

Ntshona says he knows "advertising alone will not solve our challenges or create sufficient travel to South Africa". 

“It was important for us to start this brand journey by firstly reminding South Africans of who we are, of creating conversation and of re-invigorating the national psyche.

"At the same time, we have created this initial work to be true to our essence and identity so as to connect with international and domestic audiences based on what they have been telling us through their experiences of our country and through our insights and analysis,"says Ntshona. 

Ntshona believes it will South Africans who drive the country’s tourism efforts, "inspired by bold and integrated communication that awakens all of us towards action, by travelling our country". 

And the industry specific measures mentioned by the President? 

Travel and Tourism sector would see a Tourism Equity Fund being launched this year to stimulate transformation. Added to this Ramaphosa's speech addressed ongoing issues facing country, including the need to address safety and securitySA’s energy crisis, as well as the need for a proper and efficient public transport system, starting with SA's railways that is used by millions of working class people.  See News24's full coverage here

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