As tourism is one of the most important economic drivers in Mpumalanga, the annual influx of thousands of visitors to the Innibos National Arts Festival made it an obvious choice for the Mpumalanga Tourism and Parks Agency (MTPA) to partner with the festival.
Mduduzi Vilakazi, the acting CEO of the MTPA, says: “The Innibos National Arts Festival is the main signature event held in Mpumalanga. It grew from 25 000 visitors in 2004 to 109 000 visitors in 2019. The event contributes in excess of R80 million to the province’s economy. Though it was affected by Covid-19 in 2020, we are partnering with the organisers to rebuild it to its 2019 glory.”
One of the numerous mutual goals between the MTPA and Innibos is economic growth.
“In business impact studies done by the Northwest University’s School of Business, it was found that the economic impact of the festival is more than R85 million per annum. This benefits all segments of the Mpumalanga economy and is one of the reasons we are delighted to partner with the MTPA – it will develop the tourism spin-offs the festival offers even further,” says Sandra Jacobs, media and marketing manager of the festival.
Tourism suffered immensely during the pandemic, as did many other industries, including the arts, but, true to the South Africans’ fighting spirit, the choice was to thrive in the revival of all industries. The MTPA partnership with Innibos is mutually beneficial, with countless common objectives, making a positive contribution to the province.
According to demographic studies done by the North-West University’s Tourism Research Unit, 50% of visitors to the festival come from outside the province, of which 39% are from Gauteng, Mpumalanga’s main tourism feeding market.
The MTPA will leverage on the event to market the province as a tourism destination of choice. Mpumalanga boasts an abundance of attractions and places of interest, including the Gogo Mahlangu Arts Theatre in Dr JS Moroka; and the largest green canyon in the world, Blyde River Canyon, and its associated treasures, including the Three Rondavels, Kadishi Tufa Waterfalls, The Pinnacle, God’s Window, Bourke’s Luck Potholes and the Echo Caves.
Archaeology enthusiasts can marvel at the splendour of the Barberton Makhonjwa World Heritage Site, and the exceptional landscapes, waterfalls and indigenous forests in Kaapsehoop, where the legendary wild horses roam freely. The Lydenburg Heads, Mac Mac Pools, Pilgrim’s Rest, Samora Machel Monument and many more attractions warrant an extended stay in the province.
Probably the biggest attraction to Mpumalanga remains the Kruger National Park, and don’t leave out the Graskop Gorge Lift Co, Sudwala Caves and Jane Goodall Institute, Long Tom Toboggan or Skyway Trails’ aerial cable trail from your itinerary.
Vilakazi says: “We are excited to welcome Innibos attendees back to our province from 29 June to 2 July. We extend our invitation to all visitors to explore the scenic beauty and fauna and flora of our beautiful province. We also encourage patrons to stay longer and experience our adventure sites, tourism attractions, heritage sites, beautiful scenery, hospitality and so much more. Innibos is an integral part of what we have on display.”