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FFollowing the closure of SA Tourism’s Milan office last year, South Africa has now partnered with Joyco’, founded and directed by Gioja Tresoldi, effective from 1 October 2016 until 31 March 2017.

SA Tourism is undergoing a global restructuring process, with the aim of maximising its marketing spend by reducing operational costs and boosting budgets to directly promote South Africa as an attractive travel destination in certain key markets. This spells good news for Italy’s trade and media, which will benefit from the increased marketing investment.

Part of SA Tourism’s strategy was to create a Southern Europe Hub in June, servicing the French and Italian markets. This process included the appointment of Bashni Muthaya as Regional Manager: Southern Europe. Muthaya has previously served in various senior capacities at SA Tourism, including as General Manager of the Strategic Research Unit and Regional Director: Europe and the United Kingdom.

"Having played a strategic role in the marketing area for several years,” comments Muthaya, “I welcome this new role with great enthusiasm. For the next two years, my goal will be to optimise the functionality of the Southern Europe Hub within the two major markets of France and Italy."

In Italy, Muthaya will be liaising closely with the Joyco representative agency, investing in supporting and training the Italian trade and promoting South Africa through the media until 31 March 2017. In parallel, SA Tourism will be inviting bids from suitable companies to provide these services from April 2017. This is in line with the National Treasury procurement regulations.

“There was a need for SA Tourism to have a representative agency in Italy that merges a knowledge of South Africa with intimate insights into the workings of the Italian market,” said Chief Marketing Officer, Margie Whitehouse. “We look forward to a fruitful collaboration with Joyco to promote South Africa as a destination for the growing numbers of Italian tourists to South Africa, and we are excited to be working with a local partner of this calibre.”

Recent tourist arrival numbers affirm SA Tourism’s decision to invest in the Italian market. In the first half of 2016, South Africa welcomed 4.9 million international travellers, including 697,373 from Europe, showing growth of 14.7% over the previous year.

In Europe, the United Kingdom and Germany recorded the most visitors to South Africa, with 222,942 and 142,092 tourists respectively. They were followed by the newly constituted Southern Europe Hub (France and Italy combined), which accounted for 91,653 arrivals between January and June, of which 23 600 were from Italy – an impressive increase of 16.2% over 2015.

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