by SAVIOUS KWINIKA
JOHANNESBURG – PRODUCING more of the mineral than any other single area on the planet, South Africa’s North West is aptly known as the Platinum Province.
Located west of the commercial hub of Gauteng, the North West also teems with diamonds, uranium and gold, making it one of South Africa’s largest and most significant local economies.
A second quarter 2021 report from the North West Development Corporation shows that the province contributes six percent to GDP.
However, the province also has a well-rounded tourism sector.
Stakeholders have intensified efforts to market it to the global market.
The world got a glimpse of the North West as the South African pavilion continues its provincial showcase series at the Expo 2020 in Dubai.
“We are about wildlife, scenic beauty, adventure and fun,” Mpho Motshegoa, Acting Chief Marketing Officer of the North West Tourism Authority (NWTA), said.
Among the tourist attractions in the province are Hartebeespoort Dam, Madikwe and Pilanesberg Big Five game reserves, Sun City Entertainment Complex, Taung Heritage Site, where the 2,8 million-year-old Taung Child fossilised skull was found, and the Vredefort Dome Heritage Site.
They are uniquely family tourism draw cards.
Motshegoa, speaking at the virtual showcase said with the province nestled between the provinces of Free State, Gauteng, Limpopo, Northern Cape, and neighbouring country Botswana, North West could be packaged as part of a varied Southern African experience.
“Seventy percent of international flights land at OR Tambo International Airport (in Gauteng),” Motshegoa said.
“So this permutation presents one with different travel opportunities to Limpopo, Botswana and Gauteng. Travellers want to see more but have little time. Our proximity to Gauteng makes it easier to travel here.”
Tourism contributes about five percent to the North West economy providing some 30 000 jobs.
Advocate Mothusi Tsineng, Acting Chief Executive Officer of the North West Tourism Authority (NWTA), welcomed such platforms as the Expo 2020.
“We need to invest in a long-living and sustainable level,” he said.
Motshegoa said flexibility was central to the province’s tourism strategy.
“We always had a strategy built to last. But COVID-19 showed us we need a strategy built to adapt. It needs to be futuristic in its outlook. It needs to make up for the lost numbers,” he said.
Motshegoa said the goal for the tourism sector was to attain herd immunity, which is 67 percent of South Africa’s adult population.
He reminded that visitors can only return to tourist attractions undeterred once vaccinated and subjecting selves to all COVID-19 protocols.
“It (pandemic) is going to stay with us for a very long time. Fortunately, we have an industry that understands and adheres to the protocols as a way of insulating ourselves and the industry from this monster,” Motshegoa said.
– CAJ News