Today, is World Tourism Day.
The celebratory day was started by the United Nations World Trade Organisation (UNWTO) in 1980.
It has been celebrated every year on the 27 th of September since then, and aims to foster awareness around the social, cultural, political and economic contribution made by tourism across the world.
Tourism has become one of the fastest growing and important economic sectors globally. The UNWTO estimates that international tourist arrivals worldwide have grown from 25 million in 1950 to nearly 1.3 billion today. The sector also represents an estimated 10% of the world’s GDP and 1 in 10 jobs globally.
And, tourism is expected to grow at an average of 3% annually until 2030.
This year’s theme is “Tourism and Jobs: a better future for all” with a specific focus on how the sector can offer more avenues for job seekers.
In South Africa, the tourism sector is recognised as a major driver of economic growth, job creation and social development.
The World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) reported that in 2018, the tourism industry contributed 1.5 million jobs and R425.8 billion to the South African economy, representing 8.6% of all economic activity in the country.
South Africa is also the largest tourism economy on the continent.
In his State of the Nation Address in June, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that national government wanted to double the number of tourists visiting South Africa to 21 million a year by 2030.
One of the key ways to achieve this is the better marketing of our tourism attractions.
In this regard, one of the projects the Beer Association of South Africa (BASA) is focused on is supporting the establishment and marketing of the beer tourism industry in the country.
Beer tourism has grown worldwide over the past few years and there is no reason why South Africa shouldn’t be part of this trend.
Currently there are just over 200 craft breweries across the country, which presents a major growth opportunity for the local tourism sector.
These breweries can assist destinations in diversifying the tourism attractions they have on offer and could even become one of the main motivators for why tourists visit an area.
While we have seen the growth of local beer festivals and smaller beer trails in certain parts of the country, the BASA believes there is opportunity to massively expand the beer tourism footprint across South Africa.
This is why we are currently working on the development of a brand strategy to position the beer tourism sector as a key contributor towards achieving the 21 million tourist set by the national government.
The BASA plans to partner with government, our member companies, craft brewers and the broader tourism industry to execute this strategy going forward.
We look forward to sharing more detail on the strategy as soon as it is finalised.
In the meantime, in celebration of World Tourism Day, we encourage everyone to choose a craft brewery in your area you have always wanted to visit and make time to do so!