South Africa commemorates Tourism Month in September to coincide with World Tourism Day on the 27th of September.
The 2023 global Tourism Month theme is Tourism and Green Investments. Nationally the Department of Tourism is promoting domestic tourism, creating awareness for local products, and cultivating a culture for travel amongst South Africans.
According to the Department of Tourism domestic tourism has seen a remarkable resurgence, with a 30.8% increase in domestic overnight trips during the first four months of 2023, in comparison to the same period of 2022. Although the average length of stay has decreased by 7.1% to 2.6 nights, domestic tourists are taking more frequent trips. Day trips have also experienced a significant boost, with a 16.2% increase in the number of trips taken from January to April 2023, compared to the same period in 2022. Domestic expenditure rose by 19.7% compared to 2022, showcasing the impact of the adventurous South African tourist.
In the Greater Knysna area, responsible and eco-tourism are particularly important. We are fortunate to live in one of the most beautiful areas in South Africa, surrounded by lakes, forests, and the ocean. Looking after our natural assets is key to a healthy tourism industry and we are fittingly focusing our Tourism Month programme on eco-tourism.
A variety of activities, facilitated by Visit Knysna, are planned with the main event taking place on World Tourism Day on the 27th of September. We teamed up with SANParks, the Knysna Honorary Rangers, Knysna Basin Project, Cape Nature, and local schools to create an exciting programme.
It is important to support local. Not everyone can afford to travel, but we can get involved in local initiatives, like the event mentioned above. Support a local business. Support local initiatives, participate, and even host your own initiative.
According to an international survey* done in 2022, over 80 percent of global travellers said that sustainable tourism is important. Solutions are often expensive, and that is why the Department of Tourism created the GTIP (Green Tourism Incentive Programme) to encourage private-sector tourism businesses to install solutions for the sustainable management and usage of electricity and water. They have funded projects to the value of R76,1 million.
A considerable part of our economy relies on the tourism industry, and if we want to stay competitive, the industry must introduce initiatives towards green and sustainable tourism.