Pretoria – Tshwane mayor Solly Msimanga has big plans to market his city with a Rio-style carnival, music, and nature.
“One of the things we will drive very aggressively is the tourism business in our city. Our city is uniquely positioned and built; we can be a tourism destination of choice,” he told News24 on Tuesday.
“Obviously there is still work to be done in the city, ensuring it’s safe for tourists to walk around.”
Msimanga said the city was being under-marketed. One example was the Dinokeng game reserve.
“We are the only metro in the world that boasts the big five, but we are not really aggressively marketing that,” he said.
The spin-offs would be more jobs.
“Imagine a bed and breakfast in Hammanskraal for people going to visit Dinokeng,” Msimanga said.
The music industry was another untapped market. Tshwane had a distinct sound, whether it be house, hip-hop, or jazz. Annual events to attract tourists to the city and to pump money into the local economy needed to be re-established.
The home of jazz
He had spoken to musician Vusi Mahlasela about what to do with Tshwane’s unique music.
“Mamelodi is the home of jazz and we need to make sure we take care of that heritage. We want to ensure we tap into young talent and also promote our culture when it comes to music and dance,” he said.
The city wanted to emulate the Rio de Janeiro carnival, but with a distinctively Tshwane flavour.
“Imagine someone wearing their Pedi, Zulu and Pantsula attire all in the same street, food being sold from different cultural groups. That is what we want to ensure happens and they become annual attractions to the city of Tshwane,” he said.
He wanted to ensure Tshwane attracted people from everywhere, to see how South Africa’s capital city celebrated its own heritage and culture.
He intended to ensure the Tshwane Showgrounds theme park returned in 2017.
“We are at an advanced stage with the co-ordinators of the Pretoria Showgrounds to ensure it is restored to its former glory. The organisers are very much excited,” he said.