Limpopo, Polokwane: Limpopo is set to receive high volumes of revelers upon the start of a two week long Limpopo Marula Festival which commenced on Friday the 22nd February 2019 with a street parade led by the South African National Defense Force with a highly organized precision.
The festival has to date come to be an enormous brand to be reckoned with thirteen years after it was launched in 2007 with a mere 500 people. Last year, the event attracted over 20 000 people from all over the country and beyond.
LTA continues to support and leverage on this event as it plays a significant role in increasing tourism arrivals and spend in the region. At this event clusters such as Golf and Game, and Special interest are promoted, however, the Agency will also focus on promoting the Culture and Heritage Cluster. The marketing elements for this event shall comprise of both print and electronic media channels. The emphasis will be on national and SADC media to start profiling the event to attract travellers outside the province. LTA will continue to involve local media to ensure that the event is publicised to locals in order to drive intra-provincial tourism.
LTA’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO) said, “Our participation in the event is to assist in the transformation of Ba-Phalaborwa as a municipality from a mining dependent town to a tourism reliant area. Events generally play an important role in destination transformation due to the publicity that is generally associated with them. The deliberate movement of people into the area, the influx of media and involvement of tourism trade partners further enhance transformation. We are optimistic that the town of Phalaborwa with its capacity of over 1 600 beds will be fully booked due to this event and this is good news for the tourism and hospitality sector in the province”.
The town of Phalaborwa has been chosen as the permanent of home of the festival because of its tourism profile and proximity to other major tourist destinations including the world’s renowned Kruger National Park incorporated within the Greater Limpopo Transfrontier Park which includes Mozambique and Zimbabwe.
Limpopo Marula Festival is a multi-discipline event that incorporates sport [Golf, Half Marathon, Rugby], culture, music, trade and tourism in the main. The event happens over a period of two weeks in the last week of February to the first weekend of March. This period is chosen to coincide with the ripening of the Marula fruit which is in abundance in the area around Ba-Phalaborwa albeit it also occurs in other parts of the province. The event is meant to promote the diversity of the Marula tree, fruit and related bi-products. The festival is currently in its fourteenth year and has become one of the flagship events of the province.
The target market of the event is mainly individuals from Gauteng, Mpumalanga, Western Cape, KZN and the SADC countries and in particular Botswana, Zimbabwe and Mozambique. These SADC countries share political and cultural relations with the province and have patronised the event over the past years. It is anticipated that this year’s edition will be attended by a delegation from Cuba, which will comprise a band that will perform during the last weekend and a chef who will also prepare a Cuban dish to be enjoyed at the culinary event, annual Cuisine Ala Marula on the 28th February 2019.