It's been a busy week for South African Tourism in New York: Sthu Zungu, President of South African Tourism North America came by Travel Agent's New York offices to bring us up to date on the country's latest news, and then the board held its 2013 Ubuntu Awards following a media luncheon at the Museum of Modern Art.
And there's plenty of news to share: Arrivals are up year over year for the third year in a row (following the memorable 2010 FIFA World Cup), and interest from United States travelers has expanded so much that a third satellite office has been set up to communicate with people in the midwest. And it's easier to get there, too: Emirates Airlines now flies to three cities in South Africa via Dubai. "South Africa doesn't seem so far away these days," Zungu understated.
But the biggest news is a new marketing campaign: What's Your BIG 5? will debut this Sunday on NBC's reality TV series “All-Star Celebrity Apprentice.”
"The campaign shows South Africa's diversity beyond safaris," Zungu explained. "This is a big step forward. It's the first time Celebrity Apprentice has featured a destination, and they're showing South Africa's unexpected places for greater impact." The genesis of the What’s Your BIG 5? campaign starts with the proverbial “BIG 5” of South Africa’s safari animals, a familiar term coined for the destination’s wildlife. South African Tourism North America is re-defining “BIG 5” to underscore the broad range of authentic and distinct experiences South Africa has to offer beyond the safari trails. The campaign officially launches on Sunday with a 360-degree platform including advertising, year-round public relations, trade marketing, and consumer-driven events throughout the year.
At the media luncheon, Celebrity Apprentice All-Star Marilu Henner represented the TV program and presented a video clip of her own tour of Africa.
Be sure to watch “All-Star Celebrity Apprentice” this Sunday, April 21 at 9/8PM Central.
South African Tourism held its 2013 Ubuntu Awards in the heart of New York City at the iconic New York Public Library. Celebrating its fourth year, the annual Ubuntu Awards recognized South African Tourism’s top trade partners in business and leisure travel in a reception for more than 100 guests from all over North America.
Notably, twelve-time Grammy Award-winning singer/songwriter Paul Simon was recognized with the evening’s “Friend of South Africa” award for his contribution to the anti-Apartheid movement with the release of Graceland, the award-winning album that inadvertently broke the barriers of South Africa’s cultural boycott. South African “Ambassador of Style” and famed lifestyle guru, Colin Cowie, served as Master of Ceremonies, while keynote speaker Hon. Marthinus Van Schalkwyk, South Africa’s Minister of Tourism, and distinguished guests including Grammy-nominated South African jazz legend, Hugh Masekela; Actress and author, Marilu Henner; South African-born, Miss USA 2012, Nana Meriwether; and CEO of South African Tourism, Thulani Nzima were in attendance.
Minister Van Schalkwyk incorporated his keynote address with newly-released figures and record-breaking statistics that highlighted South Africa’s achievements from the past year. Acknowledging the key roles played by the evening’s audience of trade partners, Minister Van Schalkwyk emphasized the intrinsic value of partnerships and collaborations as key to the destination’s success.
“South Africa has proven itself as one of the most successful tourism destinations in the world today with growth rates of more than double the world average,” stated Minister Van Schalkwyk. “We are deeply indebted to the frontline ambassadors of the travel trade as they are largely responsible for the extraordinary success we have attained for our destination. With 20 percent of the trade producing 80 percent of South Africa’s arrivals, our flourishing achievements are fundamentally linked to the collaborative efforts of the people gathered in this room.”
The overarching theme of the event, “Ubuntu” is an African philosophy that speaks to people’s bonds with one another and to their interconnectedness. This belief is the very spirit behind the Ubuntu Awards, which was filled with new updates on the What’s your Big 5? campaign.
Master of Ceremonies and “Ambassador of Style” Colin Cowie began the awards presentation with the category for Top Producing Tour Operator, awarded to Lion World Tours and Grand Circle followed by the award for Top Producing Online Travel Agency, which went to Expedia. The award for Top Producing Franchise went to American Express; Best Value for Money Packages to South Africa went to Grand Circle; Outstanding Achievement in Creative Destination Marketing was awarded to Africa Adventure Consultants; Outstanding Achievement in Destination Promotion by a DMC was shared by Dragonfly Africa and Grosvenor Tours; Outstanding Achievement in a Group Travel Program was awarded to Manstravel Agency; Immersion Journeys was recognized for Outstanding Achievement in New Innovative Travel Programs for South Africa; Outstanding Achievement in Creative Partnerships to African Travel; Best Airline to South Africa was awarded to South African Airways; and Philanthropic Achievement awarded to Collette Vacations.
The Friend of South Africa Award was presented to GRAMMY award-winning musician, Paul Simon for his groundbreaking lyrical storytelling and cultural collaboration on the 1986 album, Graceland. Simon’s arduous efforts to showcase South African talent during the tumultuous time of the Apartheid garnered him this special recognition.
The complete list of awards and award recipients is as follows:
· Top Producing Tour Operator –Lion World Tours and Grand Circle
· Top Producing Online Travel Agency –Expedia
· Top Producing Franchise –American Express
· Best Value for Money Packages –Grand Circle
· Outstanding Achievement in Creative Destination Marketing –Africa Adventure Consultants
· Outstanding Achievement in Destination Promotion by a DMC –Dragonfly Africa and Grosvenor Tours
· Outstanding Achievement in a Group Travel Program –Manstravel Agency
· Outstanding Achievement in New Innovative Travel Programs –Immersion Journeys
· Outstanding Achievement in Creative Partnerships – African Travel
· Top Producing Airline–South African Airways
· Philanthropic Achievement Award - Collette Vacations
· Friend of South Africa Award – 12-Time GRAMMY Award-winning musician Paul Simon
For more information, visit www.southafrica.net.