Last night, the tourism trade came out to play at the very first GP Life Tourism Street Party to celebrate life in Gauteng, turning the city centre into an outdoor celebration.
A block of eight “streets” in the regenerated 1 Fox Street warehouse was filled with music, entertainment, stalls, food, drink and dancing as the tourism trade partied through the day and into the night. This exciting event is designed to remind Gauteng-peeps that we have as much life and vibrancy to be proud of as London, New York, Sydney and Cape Town.
Gauteng Tourism Authority Chief Executive Officer, Siphiwe Ngwenya welcomed the initiative and expressed confidence that it will be worthwhile. He said:
“The tourism trade is an important stakeholder in the We do/I do Tourism campaign that South African Tourism is championing and that we are part of. The campaign aims to grow tourist numbers by 5 million over the next five years and a bulk of that will have to come from Gauteng as the most visited province in South Africa. We are targeting a contribution of 1 million, which will only be achievable if the trade sector comes to the party. Therefore, we hope to grow this event into a premier showcase of the city of gold, Johannesburg, and destination Gauteng as a whole.”
The event brought the travel trade together to celebrate Gauteng as a destination and highlighted what it has to offer. The venue – 1 Fox Precinct – spans a series of historic warehouses that date back to the city’s gold mining roots, now converted into a funky shopping and dining destination.
Different streets in the warehouse had different themes and interests, with 60 exhibitors spanning guesthouses, hotels, activities and adventure specialists and transport companies. Others that took part in the celebration, included the Cradle Tourism Company, Sandton Tourism, Soweto Tourism, Dinokeng, Vilakazi Street and global brands with a presence in Johannesburg.
Organised by Leisure Connexion and the Gauteng Tourism Authority, the event’s guests included Mix FM DJ Kerry-Anne Allerston, who hosted the music event, and performances by The Kiffness and Chiano Sky, as well as popular footballers, actors and musicians. Participants were encouraged to come dressed for the inaugural theme of “My City of Gold”.
“Johannesburg is an amazing city and worthy of competing against other world cities such as New York, Paris and London in the tourism field. Yet, there is a lack of belief in what the city and its wonderful people have to offer,” says Adelbert Retief, founder and MD of Leisure Connexion. He says:
“In other cities, the industry operates almost like a family in promoting their city even though they are in competition with each other. Now it’s time for our local tourism industry to come together and share stories, experience the offerings and grow the love for Jozi.”
Tour operators, agents and destination management companies arrived from 5pm to interact with the exhibitors and discuss business. At 9pm, the party started at the Good Luck Bar.
The GP Life Tourism Street Party will become an annual event for the industry to look forward to, where hotels, activities, restaurants and tour operators can showcase their products.