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The Pros and Cons of South Africa’s Tourism Marketing Strategy

A leaked South African Tourism proposal to spend nearly R1bn sponsoring UK Premier League club Tottenham Hotspur is being met with a healthy mix of derision and outrage. Hardly surprising. We simply don’t trust anything the government or its agencies do. It seems ludicrous to spend R1bn on advertising a tourism destination when there are so many places that that money could be better spent. One of the quickest ways to create jobs and opportunity for people is to drive tourism. The stats are unreliable but suggest a new job is created for every seven tourists who come to South Africa. Whatever the number, tourism is regarded worldwide as one of the fastest and quickest ways to create entry-level jobs. The best bit is that once the government has spent money promoting a destination, the laws of supply and demand kick in and the private sector does all the work in creating the products and services needed to ensure visitors have a great experience. Data from Stats SA showed that one in every 22 working South Africans were employed in the tourism sector — that includes everything from the Table Mountain cableway to transfer companies, hotels and B&Bs.