"Every year, Joburg bursts into spring with a flurry of festivals and events, encouraging all to celebrate the new season by getting out and about, and this year is no different,” says Lindiwe Kwele, CEO of the Johannesburg Tourism Company (JTC). “From signature events like Arts Alive and the Joburg Shopping Festival in September, to Africa Fashion Week in October and the Sansui Summer Cup in November, Joburg is brimming with a broad range of consumer, lifestyle and sporting events.”
Besides being the beginning of spring in Johannesburg, September is also Tourism Month and celebrates Heritage Day on 24 September. Kwele says: “What better way to experience your city anew than by taking a new perspective – being a tourist in your own city – and delving into history, the arts, culture and heritage like a visitor would do?
“Try out the Gautrain, take the Rea Vaya and explore corners of Joburg you might never have even known about before. Immerse yourself in what makes our destination and our city unique, this is what building a domestic tourism base and culture is all about.”
JTC has once again partnered with a number of event organisers, hotels and tour operators to promote the various events on offer, putting together special packages and offers. A new channel, JTC’s booking portal, has been created to market these offerings. The website www.joburgtourism.com will go live on 10 September 2011.
“We’re very excited about the imminent launch of our booking portal, as it provides a powerful touch-point to connect consumers globally with the variety of products, leisure options and activities available in Joburg. While we’ll always be a long haul destination in terms of the international market, this portal brings the city closer to people through very personal mediums like mobile phones and PCs. We’re truly just a click away now – anywhere in the world – in your office, home, or in your pocket,” explains Kwele.
JTC invites event organisers, hotels and tour operators to make use of the portal to be featured and promoted in travel packages (contact firstname.lastname@example.org).
These packages and new tourism node opportunities and routes will evolve on an ongoing basis, encouraging locals and visitors to venture further afield. These include cultural routes, exploring Chinese, Portuguese, Jewish, Italian and Indian influences in the city and its surroundings. Sites include historical places of interest, markets, restaurants and places of worship. Lovers of the outdoors have an abundance of options to enjoy nature, adventure and outdoor food market routes.
Joburg’s Hidden Gems Golf Route includes some of the country’s best established golf courses.
In the recently launched Mayoral Outreach campaign to discuss the city’s Growth and Development Strategy 2040 (go to www.joburg.org.za/gds2040 for more information), tourism remains an economic growth imperative on the city’s agenda. It is considered an important catalyst to encourage the development of the SMME sector.
JTC’s goal is to attract more visitors to the city, encourage them to stay longer, spend more money, and improve seasonality patterns and the spread of visitors across the city. Johannesburg’s business hub status is well established, but its various tourism offerings include lifestyle, arts, culture, fashion, sports, international mega-events as well as incentive trips.