Appeal for municipal upgrades as domestic overnight trips show recovery

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Minister of Tourism, Patricia de Lille says there has been a resurgence of domestic overnight trips in the first four months of 2023.

Speaking at the Tourism Month media launch in Rustenburg in the North West, De Lille stressed that while the average length of stay decreased from 7.1% to 2.6%, overnight domestic trips increased by 30.8%.

De Lille also stressed the importance of the industry’s contribution to the country’s fiscus.

“Today, we came together to reflect on tourism’s vital role in our country’s economic growth and development. And tourism, particularly, is underestimated. And we must partner both as public and private sector to unite around a new tourism investment strategy.”

De Lille says while the sector experienced significant blows, hope is still in sight.

Meanwhile, Acting CEO of South African Tourism, Nomasonto Ndlovu, says all hands are on deck to promote domestic tourism.

Service delivery upgrades

Be that as it may, local tourism product owners say while many tourists flock to the platinum province, more still needs to be done to upgrade services to sustain the industry.

Local product owner, Millicent Shai, says: “Things like electricity, things like water, things like street names to be visible, the potholes…because these things whether we like it or not, they affect the flow of our people into our towns. You know if Rustenburg is known to have potholes, a lot of potholes, and there’s no visibility, there’s no lights. I mean, there’s nothing that attracts people into our area. So, we plead with the municipalities that when we talk to them and engage, we listen to each other so that we can make our town, small dorpies something to be proud of and revive the economic activity.”

While the sector has surpassed its 2022 travel figures, it still has much ground to gain to reach the figures before the coronavirus pandemic.