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Tourism South Africa

How film, music can promote SA as an appealing tourism destination

Africa's Travel Indaba, which took place from 13 to 16 May at the Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre (Durban ICC), featured an engaging media editorial session focused on strategic collaborations and partnerships in tourism. The discussions highlighted South Africa's emerging potential as a hub for film and music, sparking conversations on leveraging these industries to boost tourism growth.
Source: Supplied
Source: Supplied

The panellists featured in the discussion encompassed a diverse group of expertise and experience within the realm of film, music, and tourism. Award-winning executive creative director, Neo Ntatleng, brought a wealth of creative insight, while Jacqueline Rainers-Setai, representing the KZN Film Commission, offered invaluable perspectives on film industry dynamics. Lehlohonolo Mokhosi, as partnerships and distribution manager at NFVF, provides strategic insights into collaboration and distribution strategies.

Thulani Maduse, director and founder of the Amapiano Summit South Africa, offered deep knowledge of South Africa's music landscape, particularly within the vibrant Amapiano genre. Finally, DJ Stanky, an International Amapiano DJ and member of the DBN Based Group Kweyama Brothers, offered firsthand experience of music's role in cultural exchange and tourism promotion.

Together, these panellists shed light on the potential synergies between film, music, and tourism, paving the way for innovative partnerships and collaborative ventures in South Africa's burgeoning entertainment and travel sectors.

The role of film and music in tourism

The session provided a platform for these professionals in the entertainment industry to share their experiences and insights. One key takeaway was the pivotal role of film and music in shaping perceptions and attracting visitors to a destination.

As the moderator, Thembisile Sehloho, Chief Marketing Officer of South African Tourism mentioned, "America created a propaganda around using film and music to position their country, and we can learn from that."

Ntatleng concurred, joking that “some South Africans know the streets of New York and Los Angeles better than their own neighbourhood as a result of movies and music videos!”

Harnessing cultural exports

Highlighting the power of cultural exports, discussions delved into success stories from around the globe. Korea emerged as a prime example, with its deliberate strategy to promote Korean pop culture on the global stage. Drawing parallels, panellists emphasised the need for South Africa to harness its cultural assets to drive tourism.

However, challenges and opportunities were also scrutinised. Questions were raised about the content produced by South Africa's film industry and its alignment with tourism objectives. While romcoms are popular in SA, there's a call for more diverse narratives that showcase the country's richness and diversity.

Ntatleng shared that, in his opinion, "there hasn't been an intentional strategy on how we're going to use our cultural and cinematic goods in a way that is going to have a Return on Investment (ROI) for the tourism sector. This provides South Africa with an opportunity to grow the sector with direction and purpose.”

Collaborative efforts for economic growth

Moreover, the importance of intentional collaboration between the tourism and entertainment sectors was highlighted. By leveraging the allure of film and music, South Africa can create immersive experiences for visitors, fostering economic growth and cultural exchange.

The session illuminated the untapped potential of South Africa's film and music industries in bolstering tourism. With strategic collaborations and a focus on authentic storytelling, the country is poised to captivate audiences worldwide and emerge as a premier destination for local and international filmmakers.

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