Business Culture & Lifestyle Southern Africa

Gauteng Tourism eyes US market in AFROPUNK Joburg 2018 promotion drive

STAFF WRITER

JOHANNESBURG- Gauteng Tourism returns to New York this weekend to promote the AFROFUNK Joburg 2018 after a similar campaign last year yielded results, with throngs of international revellers attending the inaugural edition of the festival.

Team SA – comprising Gauteng Tourism, Constitution Hill, Brand SA and South African Tourism – will undertake onsite activations at AFROPUNK Brooklyn 2018, which takes place on 25-27 August. The campaign will be rolled out under the theme “Road to SA-Johannesburg 2018”.

AFROPUNK Joburg is making its second return to Johannesburg and set to be the biggest New Year’s Eve event in South Africa and the continent this year. It will once again be hosted at the iconic Constitution Hill in Braamfontein.

“With this activation over the weekend, we are hoping to entice more Americans to join us at Constitution Hill this December,” says Yoland Ruiters, Acting Chief Executive Officer of Gauteng Tourism. “We want to have them staying longer here for longer than the duration of the festival so they can enjoy our warm weather, blue skies and all else that the destination offers.

“We believe that our city of gold is an appealing place for one to spend the festive season.”

Last year, more than 3 000 international visitors attended the two-day festival of social consciousness with the bulk of these coming from US, United Kingdom, Angola, Botswana, Mozambique and Nigeria. In Brooklyn, the spiritual home of this festival, Team SA will promote travel packages to Johannesburg to the ever-enthusiastic American AFROPUNK audience.

“The return of a much bigger and better AFROPUNK in Johannesburg, Gauteng-South Africa will build on the global excitement created last year after the first-ever AFROPUNK on the African continent, attracting audiences from across the globe to ignite Johannesburg-Gauteng during what is normally our low season, the festive season,” says Ruiters. “This year we are hoping the festival will draw more than 5000 visitors from around the world to Johannesburg, Gauteng thus helping us to deliver on our target of attracting international visitors in the city region.”

Working together with US-based travel and tour operator Advantage International and Johannesburg’s consortium of I’M Joburg, the team has put together appealing travel packages for the African American market. Gauteng Tourism will manage the “Road To SA-Joburg 2018” pavilion where the team will interact with potential visitors and seek to reassure them that the country is safe, cost-effective and offers a fulfilling experience.

Musicians including Sho-Majozi and Nakane will pump Mzantsi sounds on the various stages at the AFROPUNK Brooklyn to showcase what South Africa is about and support Team SA’s efforts. The two join a growing list of local artists now performing at this global festival after Gauteng decided to invest in and support this venture.

Ruiters believes that the drive to bring more US visitors to Gauteng will bear fruit. “Already as it were, the destination – Gauteng and South Africa – are popular there and attracts substantial numbers of travellers, meaning that it resonates with the market,” she says.

“Many of these are visitors who are interested in urban and cultural tourism, paleosciences, the safari, international music and cultural festivals, and connection with our anti-apartheid struggle.”

Tourism statistics, Statistics South Africa released this week, show the US leading the pack among the top ten overseas countries in terms of the number of tourists visiting the country in June 2018. The 36 599 US tourists accounted for 24.4 per cent of the total followed by UK, Germany, Australia, India, France, China, Brazil, The Netherlands and Canada respectively.

The AFROPUNK Festival is an annual arts festival that seeks to provide black people with an opportunity to build community through music, film, skate and art. It takes place in several major cities across the world including New York and Atlanta, US; London, UK; and Paris, France.

AFROPUNK Joburg joins an elite collection of festivals globally, positioning the Gauteng City Region amongst the world’s leading cities. It advances the organisers’ aim to create bonds among those with a shared mindset throughout the diaspora

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