Ngwenya upbeat at Gauteng tourism prospects
JOHANNESBURG, (CAJ News) – THE challenges surrounding the industry are not distressing new Gauteng Tourism Authority (GTA) Chief Executive Officer, Siphiwe Ngwenya.
Appointed to the position in December, the former CEO of the Gauteng Growth and Development Agency (GGDA) joins an industry that is struggling amid domestic tourism numbers and revenue declining.
This is worrying for an industry contributes about 10 percent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) and creates jobs for the 36 percent.
In Gauteng, it contributes some 4 percent (200 000 people) to the total workforce. It is estimated to contribute 4 percent (R30 billion) to GDP, highlighting the sector’s importance to the economy of Gauteng and South Africa.
However, Ngwenya is upbeat despite recent setbacks.
“I come in this position at a very exciting period,” he says in an interview.
He bases his excitement on a 15-year plan Premier David Makhura announced recently to boost the growth of the sector.
In accepting his new challenge, the much-travelled 49-year-old promises to put into practice the dictates of the tourism White Paper which states tourism is private sector-led, government-supported and community-based.
“Township tourism products beneficiation and promotion, the drive to get local and international visitors to appreciate the significance of the Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site as our pilgrimage area, leveraging business tourism opportunities and the bidding and hosting of mega events
in Gauteng will be our key focus working together with the industry players,” explains Ngwenya.
The executive, who took over from Dawn Robertson, is leading preparations for the forthcoming Meetings Africa.
Scheduled for February 22-24 at the Sandton Convention Centre, it is a key gathering of Africa’s leading business tourism players, buyers and travel media.
Ngwenya also mentions the Travel Guide App which encourages travelers to explore the province.
“It’s a very interesting app giving users a list of places to visit. For example, when you have that app activated, while driving and you approach a tourist destination, it alerts you,” he says.
He adds GTA is exploring beyond the app in a bid to market Gauteng from different perspectives.
“We are also looking to how to partner with filling stations. In terms of technology, we wish to have screens that allow users to get directions just by clicking.”
With such initiatives, he is hopeful traditional markets would be retained.
“Gauteng is a unique place, a place of lifestyle and it has many offerings that some of them are so organic you need to showcase them in a manner that many people can relate to,” says Ngwenya.
– CAJ News
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