In a bid to attract a good mix of leisure and business travelers, Limpopo Tourism positioned itself as a sports, wildlife and industry mecca at the Expo 2020 in Dubai last night. It was the fourth installment of the Provincial Showcase hosted by the South African Pavilion. The series promotes tourism to all nine provinces. The pavilion’s theme “Think South Africa, Think Opportunity,” calls on investors from around the world to consider South Africa a business destination. In recent years, Limpopo has amplified its tourism marketing campaign, first with a new brand logo, an improved website and a catchy hash tag in #UnlikeAnyOther. As a result, tourism makes up five percent of the province’s economy.
It has lived up to its hash tag, according to Acting CEO of the Limpopo Tourism Agency (LTA), Moses Ngobeni. “We have lots of hidden treasures based on our six tourism clusters: culture and heritage, business and events, special interest, family and recreation, safari and hunting, and sports and wildlife. You have a choice of one of many magnificent boutique products. We can host mediumsized meetings in the bush with game drives, and we have wedding venues that are compared to no other.”
Being the northernmost province, Limpopo shares its borders with three countries, namely Botswana, Zimbabwe and Mozambique. Its location makes it the ideal starting point for leisure travellers looking to create a regional southern African itinerary. Some 17% of international tourist arrivals to South Africa make their way to Limpopo. International tourists are attracted to the Bela-Bela nature conservation area in the Waterberg region, the remains of the tenth century city of Mapungubwe, and Kruger National Park that it shares with Mpumalanga province. Of its six clusters, the province’s wildlife remains the drawcard for foreign visitors. Limpopo also attracts more domestic travelers than any other province, said Ngobeni.
Limpopo is using sport as a means to boost tourism to the province. However, unlike most other provinces in the country, it is bringing an unique twist to the sporting events it hosts. Ngobeni said that Limpopo has blended golf and wildlife in a bid to offer an exclusive experience. “We have got unique golf courses where you got wildlife. Hence our golf courses are managed under the golf and game concept.”
It also hosts the annual Tour de Limpopo, a multi-day road stage race with a 2.2 Union Cycliste Internationale classification, making it a globally recognized cycling event. It forms part of the UCI Africa Tour and takes cyclists through some of the province’s most iconic sites. Limpopo is also creating a home for extreme sports in the old mining town of Thabazimbi in Waterberg. Ngobeni said it is set to host an international event in September next year.
The province is taking major steps towards improving its agriculture and industry, both of which is worth a glimpse for investors, according to Limpopo Tourism Agency’s board chairperson. “The province is the citrus capital of South Africa due to its pleasant weather all year round. Mining is also one of the economic activities, of which there is great endowment in platinum group metals and diamonds.”
Mining, in particular, contributes 24.5% to the province’s GDP. The Limpopo Economic Growth and Development Plan aims to build a more industrialized economy that boosts job creation. The R150-billion Musina-Makhado Special Economic Zone (SEZ) looks to take advantage of the province’s connection to neighboring countries. It is expected to create more than 20,000 jobs in minerals, mineral beneficiation, energy and logistics sectors.
Ngobeni said Limpopo presents abundant opportunities to both leisure and business tourists alike and it is prepared to welcome them with open arms. “Limpopo is ready to receive visitors from the United Arab Emirates and all visitors from various markets that South Africa has.” Today’s Provincial Showcase will take audiences to both Gauteng and the Eastern Cape at 16:00 and 18:00 Gulf Standard Time respectively. To catch these events, register on the pavilion’s online portal.
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