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TOURISM INDUSTRY GEARS UP FOR MARULA SEASON THRILLER

King of Malwede hit maker, King Monada rocks music lovers during last year’s Marula Festival.

THE Limpopo Annual Marula Festival is an opportunity to remind the citizens of Limpopo as well as the South African population that the wealth of the people rests within their respective communities.

Currently, more than 1500 rural women derive direct and indirect benefits from the seasonal Marula activities between January and March every year around all Districts of the Province when taking into account the harvesting activities and supply to Distell, a partner that Government are constantly engaging to assist the province in the sustenance of this Industry.

During the media launch MEC for LEDET Seaparo Sekoati unveiled the new theme for the next five years “Discover the Wealth of Marula”. “It is against this background that we would like to call upon the tourism industry to be creative and come up with appetizing packages to be geared for the Marula season influx, said CEO of LTA, Ms. Nomasonto Ndlovu.

She further said, “Our wish is to have visitors, especially those Visiting Family and Friends (VFR) spending more time in the Province using tourism facilities at their disposal to contribute to tourism and economic growth of the Province. We also need to have festival goers arrive early in Phalaborwa and experience the various tourism offerings in the mining town and surrounding areas and attractions like Kruger National Park, Hoedspruit Endangered Spices Centre, Agatha Crocodile Ranch in Tzaneen, Magoebaskloof Canopy Tours, Zwakala Brewery, Modjadji Cycad Forest, etc.”

During the two weeks of celebration, the town of Phalaborwa records full occupancy in the hospitality sector while the excess will go to neighboring towns of Tzaneen and Hoedspruit. The Bollanoto Tourism Information Centre will assist those who will be looking for accommodation during this time but the Ba-Phalaborwa Tourism Association has also come up with innovative ways of assisting those without accommodation by utilizing homestays for visitors to enjoy a unique experience in family homes. We also urge tourism products owners and those who offer other tourism related services to enlist their products on leading tourism traveling apps such as Bookings.com, Trip Adviser, Lastminute.com and Trivago, but also to load their packages www.shotleft.co.za

Air B&B is another opportunity for homeowners to also benefit from the festival by listing those extra rooms and cottages in their homes on this platform.

“As Limpopo Tourism Agency, we are very excited about how Limpopo Marula Festival grown both in stature and profile since its inception thirteen years ago. The festival now attracts over 30 000 visitors from Limpopo, rest of South Africa and internationally over the two weekend period. It is estimated that about 90% of the visitors are local that is, South African (mainly Limpopo) while 10% constitutes international visitors. 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. We are already seeing celebrations of berries and mangos with festivals that are becoming famous in the province, for example, the upcoming Magoebaskloof Berry Festival on 2-3 February 2019. This will further inspire other forms of tourism like Business Events (e.g. Marula Conference) and even wine tourism. The province 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”, concluded Ndlovu.

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