Wesgro to partner with John Kani at New York Travel Show to tell Madiba’s story


Wesgro – Cape Town and the Western Cape’s Official Tourism, Trade and Investment Promotion Agency – will attend the New York Times Travel Show this week in order to promote the Western Cape during this year’s significant Madiba Centenary.

“We are extremely honoured to be partnering with legendary South African actor and playwright, John Kani during this important trip. Mr Kani will join us in telling Madiba’s story to international media as we seek to create awareness of Madiba’s 100th birthday on 18 July 2018 this year.”

John Kani stars in this year’s expected blockbuster hit, Black Panther, and will soon begin work on the much anticipated production of the Lion King. He is an award winning playwright, who used his powerful stories to protest the Apartheid system.

Western Cape Minister of Economic Opportunities, Alan Winde, said: “Nelson Mandela is a global icon but so much of his remarkable life story is tied to the Western Cape – from Robben Island, to the triumphant speech he delivered at Cape Town City Hall after his release, to the day he became the President of a democratic South Africa in Parliament in 1994. We want to share this remarkable story with travellers from all over the world, and John Kani, a global icon in his own right, is the perfect person to help us do it.  As part of project Khulisa, the province aims  to develop a heritage tourism route taking in all the sites linked to President Mandela’s life here.  Robben Island is already a major draw card for tourists, but in celebration of his 100th birthday, we aim to give travellers even more Madiba magic. We hope to unveil a new statue at City Hall later this year, and the City of Cape Town will be hosting an exhibition focussing on, amongst other things, his extraordinary life. The route will also include the Pollsmoor and Drakenstein prisons and Parliament.”

Wesgro CEO, Tim Harris added: “We are extremely honoured to be working with someone of John Kani’s talent and reputation. This year we celebrate the life and values of our founding democratic President, Nelson Mandela, and we want the rest of the world to be part of this experience. By sharing Madiba’s story of hope, resoluteness and reconciliation with the rest of the world, we hope to encourage more people to visit our beautiful country.”

Wesgro will also use this important opportunity to provide the international tourism trade and other media with an update on the very serious drought being experienced in Cape Town, and availing ourselves to answer questions that may be asked in this regard.

The agency has been working closely with industry stakeholders, South African Tourism, the City of Cape Town and the Western Cape Government to provide regular and factual updates to those tourists who are concerned about the impact of the drought.

Harris added: “Tourism supports nearly 300,000 jobs in the Western Cape. As an important contributing sector to our economy, we are concerned that tourists may choose to take the Western Cape and South Africa off their trip plans for the year ahead. We are therefore trying to provide as much clarity to those concerned about the drought, its impact, and the nature of the plans should Day Zero arrive. We are also using the opportunity to remind tourists who do arrive before then that Day Zero can be avoided if every person sticks to 50 litres per person a day. While international tourists only add approximately 1% to the population of the province during peak season, they should save like a local and help us push back Day Zero.”

The New York Times Travel Show is one of the world’s leading tourism travel meetings, and kicks off on 26 January 2018. It is expected to draw over 9000 travel professionals, 560 exhibitors from 170 countries and 1000 accredited media journalists.

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