Search­ing for hid­den trea­sures

Finweek English Edition - - Companies & Markets -

SOUTH AFRICA may well be renowned for its bush, beaches and braaivleis but it ap­pears those at­tributes are no longer enough to draw the in­ter­na­tional crowds. Siva Pil­lay, CE of Tourism En­ter­prise Part­ner­ship (TEP), says in the com­pany’s first an­nual re­port that SA needs to cre­ate more unique tourism prod­ucts if it wants to en­sure over­seas vis­i­tors keep com­ing back for more.

Says Pil­lay: “For many years tourists have flocked to SA for its di­verse and abun­dant nat­u­ral at­trac­tions. More re­cently, how­ever, vis­i­tors have expressed a de­sire to hear the un­told sto­ries of the coun­try’s peo­ple.”

To that end TEP last year adopted a new strate­gic di­rec­tion, with a fo­cus on cre­at­ing world-class but un­mis­tak­ably South African art, crafts, food and mu­sic ex­pe­ri­ences for vis­i­tors. Pil­lay says: “SA has a wealth of tourism of­fer­ings which need to be dis­cov­ered, pro­moted and brought to mar­ket.”

TEP has aptly named the ini­tia­tive “South African Hid­den Trea­sures”. Soc­cer fans that de­scend on SA’s shores in June will hope­fully get a taste of some of these newly de­vel­oped her­itage prod­ucts and ex­pe­ri­ences, as 31 artists, crafters, mu­si­cians, sto­ry­tellers and chefs have al­ready been se­lected to show­case their tal­ents via TEP’s Hid­den Trea­sures ini­tia­tive. Pil­lay says the 2010 Soc­cer World Cup is the ideal spring­board to pro­vide in­ter­na­tional vis­i­tors with an “au­then­tic taste of SA’s rich and var­ied his­tory and cul­ture”. Pil­lay adds: “We have se­lected the finest tourism of­fer­ings that bring to life the spirit and unique flavour of Dur­ban, Soweto, Cape Town and Nelspruit, pre­sent­ing ex­pe­ri­ences which even most South Africans have never heard of.”

TEP was ini­tially launched by the Busi­ness Trust in July 2000 as a four-year job-cre­ation pro­gramme for SA’s tourism in­dus­try.

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