Tuesday, November 22, 2011

It's the holidays again!

Take a break, Take a Sho't Left 
It’s that time of the year again. If you are planning that well deserved and probably long overdue holiday, do not look too far – South Africa has everything that one needs this holiday season.

This is where the South African Tourism’s Sho’t Left Campaign comes in.

Sho’t Left, a streetwise term coined by mini bus taxi passengers and drivers, has been adopted by South African Tourism. It was launched as our domestic travel campaign in 2004. Six years later, the term has come to mean a short trip or quick getaway.

The South African Tourism is the national tourism agency responsible for marketing South Africa as a destination internationally and domestically.
Regional Director of South Africa Tourism, Mr Phumi Dlomo says:  “While our job as South African Tourism is to market the country to South Africans, it is still important that they ensure that our people are able to easily book an affordable holiday in the country,” he says.
“There is interest from South Africans in travelling their country and they are already travelling in one form or another. South Africans realise the fun to be had travelling Mzansi and they want in on the action. Sho’t Left helps in making it more affordable and accessible,” he continues. “What we also try to do and is what South Africans need is to provide them with information on where to go and what activities are enjoyable. They also really appreciate the travel deals as they ensure they travel the country with-out having to spend the same amount of money as international travellers.
The Tourism Growth Strategy aims to make tourism the leading economic sector in South Africa, and so promote sustainable economic and social empowerment of all South Africans. South Africa is marketed as an integral part of Africa and particularly the subcontinent of southern Africa.

To accomplish these goals, South African Tourism commits to meaningfully contribute to the government’s objectives of increased gross domestic product growth, sustainable job creation and redistribution and transformation through: increasing tourist volume; increasing the geographic spread, length of stay and tourist spend of all visitors; improving seasonality arrivals patterns; and working to transform the industry so that historically disadvantaged South Africans may benefit from the sector.

The long-term objective of South African Tourism’s domestic strategy, through the Sho’t Left campaign, is to create a culture of travel amongst South africans. Short-term object is to get South Africans to take shorter breaks in Mzansi more often,” he says. 

When you travel in South Africa, you create jobs for fellow South Africans, invest in our economy and nationally growth, as well as support a vibrant South African industry that’s rapidly becoming a benchmark for international excellence.
Mr Phumi Dlomo admits that there have been challenges.The market is still emerging and there is a huge opportunity to grow holiday travel. Getting South Africans to spend on a holiday versus purchasing a new accessory, be it a TV, a new mobile phone is the biggest challenge.
“Another challenge is ensuring that South Africans understand that when travelling to a different province to see friends and family they need to engage in tourist behaviour (i.e. participating in lesiure activities and visiting leisure attractions,” he says. 
South African Tourism celebrated the Tourism Month, September with a focus being on the Freestate – “the heart of Mzansi”.

The Sho’t Left experiences include: bus retreats, coastal getaways, city breaks, mountain escapes, countryside meanders, day trips, cultural discoveries as well as sport, adventure and events.

When calling the Sho’t Left call centre, a lady explained that; “Travel packages are broken down into nine provinces. The Backpacking Package is suitable for youngsters who usually travel with their packs on their backs, not looking for luxury accommodation and usually staying in chalets.

“The budget package is for those looking to stay for affordable two to three star accommodation within their means.  The family package is family-friendly, tailor-made for families with children. Then we have luxury, which are you five-star and boutique hotels, self catering and affordable packages – which are usually anything between one to three stars accommodation,” said the lady, who was reluctant to be named.

The new Sho't Left campaign – Tell us More – launched in March this year features a selection of seven of Mzansi’s hottest and most relevant trendsetters. The main aim of this new campaign is to show South Africans that travelling the country is quite fun. It is then the job of Sho't Left and the tourism industry as a whole to ensure that travelling the country is in fact accessible and affordable. This campaign has gotten Sho't Lefters excited, evidenced by the increase in social media activity on Sho’t Left platforms.
Mr Phumi concludes that it is enriching, surprising, delightful, fun and easy to travel locally. “It also introduces you to new ideas, new people and new places.” He says.

For more information on domestic travel and tours, more packages and experiences that one can have right here at home, visit: www.southafrica.net/shotleft.

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