We talk to Barba Gaoganediwe Head Destination Media & Communications from Gauteng Tourism Authority about their partnership with the Joburg Shopping Festival.
About Barba Gaoganediwe
Barba played a leading role in the creation and adoption of the new Gauteng brand and wears the title of Head Destination and Media Communications since 2011. He was the main point of contact for international media during the FIFA 2010 World Cup and prides himself in driving home why Gauteng is ‘the’ Provence to visit. He was able to take some time and answer a few questions on Gauteng Tourism Authority’s take on this world-class shopping event hitting the Joburg tourism event calendar:
- Why is GTA involved in such an initiative as the Joburg Shopping Festival (JSF)?
We are involved because shopping is one of the major push reasons for travel. Gauteng is an inspirational destination and hosting of these mega events allows us to package our offerings using major events. The retail sector as part of the bigger services sector, is a major contributor to the city region’s GDP and this area needs to be mined, consolidated and positioned accordingly.
- From GTA’s perspective, what is/are the major challenge(s) Gauteng faces in hosting such an event?
The major challenge we face is that we operate in a very big urban city region covering three metros, and as such there are major events happening almost every day, and we are unable to consolidate all these into a total takeover kind of a feel. The point here is if Durban, Cape Town or even Polokwane hosts a major event, the entire town comes to a standstill due to the small nature of the towns, and thus creating the much needed vibe and concentration. Here we can host a rugby test match, Soweto Derby, the Gay Pride March and an international music concert all in one weekend, and you will never experience any major traffic jam or any form of normal life disruptions. This is not just a challenge but I guess a major opportunity also. Another challenge is that we have all the metros doing their own events together with the private sector, with no point of coordination and organised government support. We hope with our new provincial events and hosting strategy we will overcome these challenges.
- You played a vital role in Gauteng’s successful hosting of the Soccer World Cup in 2010. Can that experience be used to ensure the success of the JSF?
It was a major experience. Did you know that Joburg is one of only two cities in the world to have hosted both the FIFA World Cup in 2010 and the IRB Rugby World Cup in 1995? The other being Paris in 1998 for soccer and 2008 for rugby. We have amassed the necessary experience and we used that in developing our bidding, hosting and provincial events strategy. We will be using both the private and public sector experience housed in this region not only for the success of the JSF, but all the major events we support and partner with.
- Are there any future plans after 2014 for the JSF in Gauteng?
We plan to use this year’s event as the launch pad and grow this through a promotional drive across the region and collaborate it with the legendary Dubai Shopping Festival. We are modelling the Joburg version along the Dubai festival, and we hope to participate in the January 2015 edition of the festival to pick up few tips and lessons.
- As a tourist wanting to visit Gauteng over the JSF period, what can Gauteng province offer me from a tourism perspective other than just shopping?
We offer countless attractions: From the urban city night vibe; to action and adventure at the Soweto Towers for bungee jumping; a visit to the World Heritage Site, The Cradle of Humankind; the city region’s only Big Five game reserve, Dinokeng, which is just a 45 minute drive away; a visit to Liliesleaf Apartheid Museum; and Constitutional Hill, are just some of the “must do” Gauteng signature experiences, all within reach.
- How many tourists does GTA hope to attract to the JSF? Is the JSF targeted purely at South Africans only?
Shopping as part of the big city urban lifestyle offering is a major draw card for Joburg and Gauteng in particular. We receive both domestic and regional visitors whose sole reason to travel to our destination is to look for inspiration, check on the latest fashion and lifestyle trends and shop for both personal and retail resale usage. The Joburg Shopping Festival is therefore our response to this need especially from nearby provinces and our South African Development Community (SADC) region.
The latest Stats SA tourism arrival figures into the country confirms the African continent as the undisputed source of the bulk of the inbound arrivals into the country and further identifies shopping, events, business and conferencing together with visiting friends and relatives as the major drive for these figures.
Angola, Mozambique, Botswana and Nigeria continues to be the main countries contributing to these increasing visitor numbers and the plan to deliberately present these offering there supports the established principle in global destination marketing drives of consolidating your main source markets and ensure that they are mined appropriately with a variety of offerings.
- What other initiatives is GTA involved in to bolster tourism in Gauteng?
We are consolidating our liberation struggle offerings into new route maps which will be launched soon. These includes a retrace of Mandela’s places of stay, work and play. We are also working on promoting our various township tourism offerings, which will include the famous chesanyama township experiences, history and heritage, and the promotion of the whole concept of neighbourhood tourism. We are actively supporting the drive to build an airport city in Erkhuruleni; position the Vaal as the region’s water sports playground; and working together with Wits, continue to discover amazing findings in The Cradle of Humankind.