Kolkata, July 17 IANS | 2 years ago

Accounting for half of its tourism market, the meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions (MICE) sector in South Africa is being promoted as the next big thing, officials said here Wednesday.

"We get large groups from across the world. This sector is now being promoted to tap into the huge market," said Hanneli Slabber, country head, South African Tourism, during the 'Learn South Africa' training programme here.

"We are pushing certain business districts in the country for this," said Slabber.

Prominent among the business destinations is the city of Johannesburg, which is pegged as a cosmopolitan city to woo tourists who primarily come from Britain, the US, India and parts of Europe.

The city's profile is getting a facelift to capture the leisure and holiday travel market, said Slabber.

South Africa has much more to offer besides the touristy Cape Town and Durban.

"When one thinks of city tours, it is usually about Cape Town and Durban. But recently Johanessburg's profile is getting raised as a must-see destination," said Slabber.

Popularly called Jo'burg, the largest city in terms of population, is being marketed as a cosmopolitan spot to lure tourists for a multidimensional experience.

"There is so much to discover in Jo'burg. South Africa's past and its happening present are part of the city's culture," said Slabber.

According him, the city has two trees per person signifying its abundant greenery.

For adventure lovers abseiling (controlled descent down a rock face using a rope) and rap jumping (the sport of descending high buildings, attached to ropes and a pulley) can be the highlight of their tour.

Those wanting a taste of Africa's tumultuous past can pay a visit to the Apartheid Museum.

Boasting of numerous nightlife hubs, the multi-faceted Jo'burg is being touted as a shopper's paradise for gems, jewellery, textiles and handicrafts.

"You can purchase anything from anywhere in Africa here," said Slabber.

Art and culture enthusiasts will have something to take away from at the mushrooming art galleries and theatres.

"We have got people coming in for the art and crafts. Our designers add a modern touch to the traditional, which is why it has got an internal appeal," added Slabber.

(Posted on 17-07-2013)