Mpumalanga Premier Refilwe Mtshweni-Tsipane has announced interventions intended to increase tourist arrivals, both domestic and international, by augmenting natural attractions with artificial and adventurous sites.
“One of the key sites, where construction will commence in March this year, is the God’s Window Skywalk which is a public-private partnership (PPP) project aimed at attracting between 45 000 to 60 000 tourists along the panorama tourism route,” Mtshweni-Tsipane said on Friday.
She made these remarks during the State of the Province Address (SOPA). The project is expected to be completed in March 2025.
“The tourism industry in the province is one of the most strategic sectors that continues to show growth potential and can create jobs and contribute to economic growth.
“Despite the challenges that were brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, the war in Europe and the lacklustre global economic growth which has led to the decline in disposable income, foreign and domestic tourists have been slowly coming back to visit our beautiful province,” the Premier said.
The province is endowed with tourist attractions that encompass scenic beauty, wildlife and diverse heritage.
Another PPP project is the development of a cable car linking the Drie-rondavels view site and Swadini Dam.
“In the Barberton Makhonjwa Mountain World Heritage Site, we will be building an education centre, geo-sites and geo-trails in order to make the site appealing to academic tourists interested in anthropology.
“I am pleased to report to you that significant progress has been made in the development of a new hotel and conference facility in Middelburg that I pronounced during last year’s SOPA.
“I am happy to report that construction has started and we anticipate completion will be reached in July this year. This is a five star hotel, which will have over 200 beds, top star restaurants, a convention centre and a beauty spa,” the Premier said.
The project has over 20 local contractors that are already benefiting. In addition, over 100 new job opportunities for local residents have been created.
“I pronounced last year that as part of reigniting the tourism sector, the Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport would receive direct flights from Germany. I am delighted to confirm that the first Eurowings flight landed on the 16 November 2022.
“To date, we have received a total of 182 direct tourists as a result of this partnership. We are planning to collaborate with both Eurowings and South African Tourism in a city-to-city tour in Europe to attract more tourists to our province.
“Through direct marketing, we will continue to establish relations with other airlines from within Africa and across the world to place our Mpumalanga as a tourism destination of choice,” she said.
The Premier announced that the province has partnered with the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) to host the prestigious Metro FM awards for the next 3 years, as part of efforts to bolster tourism within the province and heighten focus on the arts and creative industry.