by MTHULISI SIBANDA
JOHANNESBURG – THE Limpopo Tourism Authority (LTA) is making the most of the upcoming annual Limpopo Marula Festival to boost the travel and hospitality sector in the northernmost province.
Set to hold in the Waterberg region from February 25 to March 2, the festival has been launched in Lephalale under the theme, “Discover the Wealth of Marula.”
The theme will run for the next five years.
“It is against this background that we would like to call upon the tourism industry to be creative and come up with appetising packages to be geared for the Marula season influx,” said LTA Chief Executive Officer, Nomasonto Ndlovu.
Ndlovu expressed excitement at the growth of the Limpopo Marula Festival since its inception thirteen years ago.
The festival now attracts over 30 000 visitors from Limpopo, the rest of South Africa and internationally over the two weekend period.
Some 90 percent of the visitors are South African mainly Limpopo, while 10 percent constitutes international toursists.
“The festival has a positive impact on the destination, especially Phalaborwa area, and has inspired a different thinking about what the province can do in relation to agri-tourism,” Ndlovu said.
There are already celebrations of berries and mangos with festivals that are becoming famous in the province, for example, the upcoming Magoebaskloof Berry Festival on February 2-3.
It is set to further inspire business events like the Marula Conference and wine tourism in a province that prides itself with single grain crafters that produce whisky and gin locally.
We are optimistic these innovations will not only help grow tourism and economy of the province but will also profile Limpopo as a fruit basket of the country and a bucket list destination in South Africa,” Ndlovu said.
The Limpopo Marula Festival is seen as an opportunity to remind the citizens of Limpopo andthe South African population that the wealth of the people rests within their respective communities.
Currently, more than 1 500 rural women derive direct and indirect benefits from the seasonal Marula activities between January and March yearly.
Seaparo Sekoati, provincial head of Economic Development, Environment and Tourism (LEDET), encouraged visitors spending more time in Limpopo to contribute to tourism and economic growth of the province.
Sekoati mentioned attractions to include the Kruger National Park, Hoedspruit Endangered Spices Centre, Agatha Crocodile Ranch in Tzaneen, Magoebaskloof Canopy Tours, Zwakala Brewery and Modjadji Cycad Forest.
– CAJ News