December 14, 2017
13 December 2017 - Chairperson of The LTA Board, Mr Andrew Dipela, Board members, staff, media, distinguished guests, tourism friends, Thobela, Avuxeni, Aa, good afternoon.
Thank you, Chairperson for that wonderful introduction. Thank you for sharing that interesting account into the year that was at Limpopo Tourism Agency, as it gave me further appreciation and deep insight of what a wonderful team I have joined. It is absolutely clear from that presentation that there are hardworking and dedicated men and women at LTA who are committed to getting the job done, despite all odds. I want to thank TEAM LTA for the sterling work done so far. I am very humbled to have this opportunity to work with such an amazing team. This I don’t take for granted.
Ladies and gentlemen, my name is Nomasonto Ndlovu, it is a great privilege and honor for me to be standing here today as the Chief Executive Officer for Limpopo Tourism, a task I don’t take too lightly.
Moving from Good…to Great
Now, raise your hand if you believe that Limpopo is one of the most amazing, yet underestimated destinations in the South Africa?
Raise your hand if you are sick and tired of being asked where is Limpopo, what happens in Limpopo?
Well you are not alone. On accepting this assignment, I have been asked a few times now, “what made you decide to go to Limpopo”? This got me thinking. It’s time to change the narrative about this destination. It’s time for Limpopo to rise as a tourism destination.
As an African proverb goes, “Until the lion tells his side of the story, the tale of the hunt will always glorify the hunter” It’s time we stood together and told the story of Limpopo. And this is what we are going to do going forward.
Indeed a lot of work has been done, a lot has been achieved not only this year, but over the past few years. It is also clear that the organization has not reached a final destination, we are on a journey. I want to call this journey, a journey from good to great. We want to make sure that as we embark on the next step of this journey, it takes us closer to becoming a great performing organization, a formidable tourism destination.
As an organization, we have set a big audacious goal, we want to become the leading tourism destination in Southern Africa. I emphasize LEADING. Is this challenging? Of course yes. Is this ambitious? of course yes. Can we achieve it? Yes we can.
For the past 17 years that I have been in the tourism space, I have been in awe at how amazing this destination is. With South Africa’s fifth World Heritage site, Mapungubwe, also known as the ancient city of Africa, Kruger National Park of which more than 70% is resident in our Province, Modjadjie Royal Kraal and Nature Reserve, Makgobaskloof, The Echo Caves, The Big Tree, Bela Bela hot springs, and many more leaves everyone with a choice as there is indeed more to enjoy in the Province.This province is more than a tourism destination. It is a mecca for anyone looking for diverse holiday offering.
We know Limpopo has already claimed a top spot in domestic tourism with over 8.3 million domestic arrivals. However, this is mainly for the purpose of Visiting Friends and Relatives (VFR).
Our daunting task at hand is about converting our huge numbers of VFR into real tourist numbers, and this will be our obsession as we embark on this journey. More work will be done to better understand our target markets and core markets to ensure our initiatives are well targeted.
My vision is to make visible, adorable and attractive that which you as Limpopo citizens have come to love about this majestic province that you call home. I want the world to fall in love with destination Limpopo and they must know who we are and where we are. Limpopo must become a bucket list destination. South Africans and the world must know our name, but most importantly, we want to ensure we leverage our tourism offerings to grow the economy of our Province and create direct and indirect jobs. We will ensure we play our part by significantly contributing to the national 5-in- 5 tourism targets (5million tourists in five years). This we must do by
- Increasing arrivals – local and international
- Increasing spend
- Increasing Length of Stay
- Increasing Geographic spread
- Ensuring transformation
- Improving seasonality
But also, by aligning our efforts to the National Tourism Sector Strategy that was recently approved by Cabinet, and focus on
“growing our tourism economy that leverages our competitive advantages in nature, culture and heritage, supported by innovative products and service excellence.” (NTSS)
Tourism is everybody’s business, as such we are aware we cannot do this alone. I therefore invite each and everyone who calls Limpopo home, to lock arms with us, as We Do Tourism. All of us must be brand ambassadors in this tourism value chain, and represent our destination with pride, wherever we go. Our trade partners must come on board and help particularly in improving service levels. We must play our part, #WeDoTourism.
I want to conclude by saying that Limpopo, as a tourism destination is open for tourism business, we are ready for our visitors. We will work very closely will all sectors, to ensure we leverage on the assets we have in the province in order to grow tourism. We need to think creatively about packaging and promoting other niches like “Agri-Tourism, Mining, tourism, Business Tourism, Events Tourism, Religious Tourism, Sports Tourism and diversify from our traditional nature and wildlife offerings. I am encouraged by the Board, who have already pledged their support for me and the team, to get the job done. And I want to thank them for this.
I would like to thank you for honoring this invitation and I look forward to working with each and every one of you to make sure Limpopo becomes the leading tourism destination in Southern Africa.
Last but not least, we are at the end of 2017. It is the time to slow down, reflect and plan for the year ahead. I want to take this opportunity to wish you and your loved ones a relaxed, safe and blessed festive season. I would personally recommend a STAYCATION, take a #shotleft in Limpopo and go discover those hidden gems, visit that part of the province you’ve never visited. This is because nothing is more fun than a Sho’t Left. It’s Your Limpopo, Go explore it.
We look forward to meeting with you again in 2018, fully charged and all reenergized invigorated to make 2018 the best year yet for tourism.
I thank you,