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LIMPOPO; TZANEEN: Limpopo Tourism Agency (LTA) invited key stakeholders including MEC of Limpopo Economic Development, Environment and Tourism, Mr. Rodgers Monama, to a strategic session on 25 and 26 January 2024. Stakeholders that gave presentations to this important session included Dr. Majuta Mamogale of Limpopo Economic Development, Environment and Tourism (LEDET), Mr. Frederick Nkanyane from Statistics South Africa, Mr. Tony Nkadimeng of South African Tourism, Mr. Itumeleng Rabotapi from Department of Tourism (DOT), Mr. Tshifhiwa Tshivhengwa of Tourism Business Council of South Africa (TBCSA), Ms. Ria Ledwaba of Limpopo Sports Confederation, Dr. Mashudu Silimela from Limpopo Provincial Tourism Association (LPTA), Cllr. Calvin Masoga from South African Local Government Association (SALGA), Ms. Portia Semenya from Limpopo Provincial Treasury, Mr. Victor Kgomoeswana from the University of Limpopo and Professor Peet van der Merwe from the University of Northwest. Government structures attended this important strategic planning dialogue for providing advice to the entity on matters of compliance before the commencement of the new financial year.

The programme was facilitated by the eloquent marketing and communication specialist, Mr. Victor Kgomoeswana, who set the tone by challenging the audience in his interaction with them. “It is important to always find relevance in communities that we serve”, he said. The question of the session he asked was, “What informs what we do?”.

The MEC of LEDET, Mr. Rodgers Monama in his address also opening the session, said, “The Limpopo Tourism Agency is duty bound to continue with its unwavering support to all businesses within the tourism value chain, as well as to double its efforts in marketing the province, so that we strive to regain the top spot on the domestic tourism front. In developing our plans, as well as the entity’s 5-year strategic plan, there should be a concerted effort to enhance marketing assistance to SMMEs to access the market, maximizing on all partnerships with partners like the National Department of Tourism, South African Tourism, local and district municipalities”.

As the department responsible for tourism in the province, it will remain important to set the tone for the development of the tourism sector for the next 5 years and beyond. We must take advantage of the uniqueness of the province and utilise it as an opportunity to maximize in developing the economy, noting that, across the value chain, tourism remains the largest employer in the country’s economy. Across the world a number of countries’ economies rely on tourism, and as a province we can learn from Bangladesh which is much underrated but making huge strides in terms of tourism. In Bangladesh every 100 visitors account for an extraordinary 944 related jobs for every visitor to the country, or nine jobs for every tourist. We have everything in Limpopo to turn our economic fortunes around. It is this strategic planning session that must emerge with concrete and solid strategies to put our province in pole position as the tourist destination of choice”.

Monama further said, “The sector has come out of tourism sector recovery, albeit with bruises but progressively stronger. And as such, our renewed focus must be on achieving the tourist figures and statistics that we enjoyed in the pre-Covid era. With the national Department of Tourism’s plans to grow tourism now being entrenched in the Tourism Sector Master Plan, our provincial efforts should be geared towards aligning to such plans. One of the pillars of the Master Plan focuses on hosting events in Villages, Townships and Small Towns/Dorpies (also known as VTSDs). This is aimed at encouraging geographic spread of activities and events to improve seasonal and regional tourism benefits throughout the country. SA has a host of small towns that capitalize on their opportunities to boost tourism as an economic driver. It is for this reason that LEDET has seen it fit to support events and activities that are part of our tourism development plans and the marketing of such events to boost rural & township events and activities. This remains a key feature of LTA’s plans. The buzz word in his address was the Master Plan.

Resolutions arrived at during this dialogue included the following:

• That Plans should be put in place to identify sites and related cultural and heritage attractions for tourism profiling and packaging which includes but not limited to the traditional authorities in the province, provincial authors, liberation and heritage routes, mountain ranches etc. That LTA should together with the Department of Sport, Arts and Culture identify these icons.
• That South African Tourism and Limpopo Tourism Agency to plan together on marketing collaboration activities to off-set the financial budget from the LTA as the session identified common activities from the planning documents of both entities.
• That tourism marketing plans should be developed to respond to the tourism marketing advantages brought about by amongst others: agro-processing in the province, Special Economic Zones etc.
• That village tourism should be given priority with the deliberate intent of adoption of events with tourism appeal (festivals and related events). The same approach to include similar activities taking place in the adjacent small towns (dorpies).
• That entity should consider the use of university students from the province for purposes of bolstering its research capacity through structured processes viz agreements/collaborations.
• That University of Limpopo has undertaken to unlock a career on tourism through short courses.
• That LTA should develop a memorandum of understanding with universities in the province on research and marketing of the destination.
• That LTA should ensure the finalisation of the long outstanding agreement with Limpopo Sports Confederation.

In his closing remarks the LTA Board Chairperson, Mr. Andrew Dipela, thanked all the stakeholders and presenters including the MEC of LEDET, Mr. Rodgers Monama, for their time and contributions to help shape the entity to carry out its mandate to the best of its ability. This will help improve the performance of the entity to better the lives of the people of Limpopo because development is about people. “We will still come back to you in case there is need to still suck more information from you as our stakeholders as that will help improve our performance. We have considered the word of advice from the Provincial Accountant General that budget follows strategy”, said Dipela.
Issued on behalf of LTA by:
Mike Tauatsoala
Head of Communications and PR
Tel: 015 293 3600
Cell: 082 886 3294
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