The South African Consulate General in Mumbai along with South African Tourism hosted an evening for their Indian partners and friends to celebrate South Africa’s 25th Freedom Day. On April 27th, South Africa completed a historic 25 years of democracy. Observed annually as Freedom Day, it is the commemoration of the first-ever democratic elections held in South Africa in 1994.

“Freedom Day serves as an important reminder of the tough circumstances many South Africans went through during the Apartheid period. It celebrates the nation’s spirit which overcame these challenging times and gives South Africans a chance to reflect on the path to building a united, non-racial, non-sexist country. 

South Africa – India relations are unique and form an important part of both nations’ future growth. These ties go way back in time and are forged in shared values, philosophies, interests and national icons like Nelson Mandela and Mahatma Gandhi. The two nations are also bonded in their shared struggle for freedom and it feels wonderful to celebrate this significant occasion in India which is my home away from home,” said Maropene Ramokgopa, The Consul General of South Africa, Mumbai.

The Red Fort Declaration on Strategic Partnership between India and South Africa was signed in March 1997 by then Indian Prime Minister Shri Deve Gowda and South African President Nelson Mandela and laid the foundation of a renewed relationship. This was again reaffirmed in the Tshwane Declaration (October 2006). Both these declarations have contributed significantly to South Africa and India achieving their respective national objectives.

Tourism is one of the key growth drivers for the South African economy contributing 2.9% to the overall GDP and employing 1 in 23 South Africans. Travel and tourism supported 1.5 million jobs in South Africa in 2017 which is 9.5% of total employment in the country. The WTTC report estimates that by 2028 almost 2.1 million jobs in South Africa will depend on travel and tourism.

The vibrant and diverse nation of India has always been an important region for South African Tourism, the official national marketing agency of the South African government. India is the 8th largest international tourist source market to South Africa and will remain critical in achieving South African Tourism’s 5-in-5 goal of 5 million additional travellers by 2021, 4 million of which will be international visitors. South African Tourism aims to attract at least 500,000 tourists from India by 2020. Its India office was recently elected and elevated to function as the Hub Office for the Middle East and South East Asia regions and has been working closely with the Consulate General of South Africa in Mumbai.

Speaking on this significant occasion, Neliswa Nkani, Hub Head, MEISEA, South African Tourism said, “We are committed to building, cementing and sustaining two-way tourism ties between India and South Africa. Given the significance of the Indian market, we are now looking to double our marketing efforts and enhancing destination marketing support within the region. Preference and intent to visit South Africa are extremely high amongst Indian travellers and we will continue to drive this demand by introducing a wider geographical area as well as diversifying our promotions of innovative and unique experiences. We are focussed on transforming the way we promote our destination in India and will adopt a more localized approach to selling South Africa through the lens of the Indian traveller.”