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​The major cities of Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town have signed an agreement to work together to boost tourism.
JOBURG is looking at its tourism industry as a mountain to be scaled, and is gearing up appropriately. Working with Durban and Cape Town, the team of South Africa’s biggest cities is set to tackle urban tourism in an attempt to increase visitor numbers to each city.

Phelisa MangcuActing JTC CEO Phelisa MangcuThis three-city alliance was formalised at one of Africa’s largest tourism events, the Tourism Indaba, hosted at the Inkosi Albert Luthuli Convention Centre in Durban from 12 to 15 May.

A three-year memorandum of understanding was signed by the trio of cities to cover tourism marketing and development, as well as joint initiatives in both domestic and international markets. It will comprise joint marketing and development programmes working towards building South Africa’s visitor brand and generating demand for each city.

“The only way to entice leisure and student visitors is to expand the knowledge of the experience palette offered by South Africa’s most populous urban centre,” said the acting chief executive officer of the Johannesburg Tourism Company (JTC), Phelisa Mangcu. “This can only be achieved in co-operation with the major brands of Durban and Cape Town.”

Joburg, Cape Town and Durban combined are estimated to bring in and account for about 50 percent of all visitors to the country, with over 35 percent of total tourism spending, approximately 54 percent of total visitor assets and 55 percent employment of the visitor industry workforce.

It is logical for the cities to combine their knowledge and resources and work together, then. “Resources are finite and in order to compete effectively, the three cities have agreed to pool assets and resources to meaningfully address the demand challenges in a post-GFC [global financial crisis] world and altered visitor conditions,” said the chief executive officer of Durban Tourism, Phillip Sithole.

Each city will still focus on building their individual brands, but the memorandum will serve to make their efforts part of a bigger picture for countrywide tourism. It means that better results can be achieved collectively, rather than separately.

“This [memorandum of understanding] and the resulting collective initiatives will ensure a strong urban presence in South Africa’s brand proposition, resulting in increased visitation, jobs and economic contribution to the industry as a whole,” Sithole explained.

A domestic campaign is being worked on by the co-operating cities and will be launched within the next few months.

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