**Amended June 23. We have been informed that Minister of Tourism the Honourable Ms Tokozile Xasa has been called away on urgent business and will be unable to perform the official opening and initial keynote speech. Her place will be taken by the Deputy Minister Ms Elizebeth Thabethe

Tourism is at the heart of South Africa’s economic growth plan with a government-backed target of a 50 per cent increase in visitors by 2020.

“Our tourism destination marketing agency, South African Tourism, has launched its new 5-in-5 growth strategy, which aims to add five million more tourists to South Africa by 2020,” Minister of Tourism the Honourable Ms Tokozile Xasa (pictured left), said this month.

Minister Xasa, appointed in March after serving as deputy since 2009, has pledged to make the country one of the top 20 destinations in the world and she will officially open The Hotel Show 2017 in Johannesburg on June 25.

The Hotel Show is one of the world’s leading expo brands and this is the inaugural Africa edition, alongside a three-day Vision Conference, which has attracted some of the biggest names in hospitality to talk about the future.

SA President Jacob Zuma, has identified tourism and hotel growth as a key area for job creation not only for South Africa, but across the continent. He said earlier this year: “We are determined to move Africa forward in this business.”

Top hotel operators are now looking to the region because of government support. It is the fourth largest contributor to South African GDP, attracting foreign currency and creates vital jobs.

Christine Davidson, Vice President of organiser dmg events, and responsible for The Hotel Show said: “We welcome Minister Xasa’s support for this event. The Hotel Show brand has been successful for almost 20 years, with editions around the world, and South Africa is one of the world’s key growth destinations.

“Government recognition for the hospitality sector and the economic benefits it will attract to the region made South Africa the natural choice for our expansion. We are working closely with host partner South Africa Tourism and leading industry associations, FEDHASA, RASA ,WACS, GHASA, NAASA to ensure the event closely follows the market dynamics and opportunities.”

More than 10 million tourists visited South Africa in 2016 in a sector which has created an estimated 500,000 jobs, says Minister Xasa. “It is currently the one sector that can contribute to the reduction of unemployment.”

The minister is a huge supporter of expos and The Hotel Show with its key position brings a whole new focus where hospitality and tourism meets.

Earlier this month in Durban she said: “Through domestic tourism, radical inclusive economic growth can be achieved. That is what tourism does for the country and we in tourism are hard at work making sure we make South Africa one of the top 20 tourism destinations in the world.”

The Vision Conference, which has top speakers from around the world runs over the three days at The Hotel Show. It will examine key issues for the continent including: attracting investment for new build; the technology that is changing hospitality; what guests expect in 2017 and how the future African tourism can set the sustainability standard for the world.

Speakers include industry leaders like Blake Anderson, complex executive chef, Monte Casino, Tsogo Sun; Darryl Erasmus, chief quality assurance manager, Tourism Grading Council; Leen Zevenbergen, chief executive officer, Solarus; Andrew McLachlan, SVP business development Africa & Indian Ocean, Carlson Rezidor Group; Alexis Janoray, vice president development, Accor and Geri Wessels, director development, Hilton Hotels.

The Hotel Show 2017 opens at The Gallagher Convention Centre, Johannesburg, South Africa, at 10am June 25 and runs for three days. It is part of Retail & Hospitality Week Africa 2017, which includes Africa’s Big 7, the continent’s premier food & beverage expo for 16 years, and SAITEX, Africa’s largest retail product sourcing expo.

See the full Vision Conference programme and learn more about The Hotel Show Africa 2017 at www.thehotelshowafrica.com

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