The tourism industry relies heavily on domestic tourism and it is considered the heartbeat of Mpumalanga’s hospitality sector. It supports local businesses and generates employment opportunities for locals. The official launch of the provincial Tourism Month was held at Fernie’s newly established tourism resort, The Essence, situated in the heart of a rural community in the Chief Albert Luthuli Municipality (CALM).
According to Nompumelelo Hlophe , MEC for Finance, Economic Development and Tourism, domestic tourism has seen a remarkable growth of 30.8% during the first quarter of 2023. Domestic tourism has seen an increase in domestic overnight trips during the first four months of 2023 in comparison to the corresponding period last year with Mpumalanga continuing to be one of the most preferred and best-loved tourist destinations in the country.
“Although the average length of stay has decreased by 7.1% to 2.6 nights, domestic tourists are taking more frequent trips. Day trips have also experienced a significant boost with a 16,2% increase in the number of trips taken from January to April 2023, compared to the same period in 2022. Domestic expenditure rose by 19, 7% compared to last year, showing the financial impact of the adventurous South African tourist,” Hlope said.
Mpumalanga accounted for a significant 20.8% of the international tourist market share. “During Tourism Month we will undertake activities to foster awareness in local communities, especially within our townships and the less-visited areas of Mpumalanga. Our aim is to continue with plans to revive the industry, starting with the domestic market. As the saying goes, charity begins at home. It should thus begin with us – the people of Mpumalanga – travelling and exploring our province yet again,” Hlophe continued, adding that awareness about domestic travel among communities will be created with a special focus on travel to rural areas, villages and small towns.