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NOTES FOR AWARD CEREMONY SPEECH

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					WELCOME ADDRESS DELIVERED BY THE CHAIRPERSON OF THE BOARD AT THE
AWARD CEREMONY FOR MR BRADLEY BROWER: INDABA 2009, DURBAN



Programme Director;

All protocol observed;

Friends and ladies and gentlemen;


    The story began with an invitation to MTPA from Mr Bradley Brower to
     attend workshops in Japan and South Korea in 2006. Though we had
     confirmed our attendance, we cancelled our trip at the eleventh hour due
     to unforeseen circumstances. This cancellation caused a huge
     embarrassment to South African Tourism and Mr Brower in particular.

    In 2007 at Indaba, Mr Brower phoned me and advised me that he will visit
     the Mpumalanga stand at about 12:00. Little did I know that he will bring
     the Japanese media with him. At the meeting, he clearly expressed himself
     on the implications of the cancellation of the trip the previous year to the
     Japanese market and he wanted some assurances that MTPA will remain
     committed to the Japanese market. He then said a high delegation from
     MTPA to the workshop to be held in Japan that year would adequately
     express that commitment. It was the question that was raised by the media
     representative from Japan that created a challenge for me, when he asked
     if in my capacity as the Chairperson of the Board, I would lead that
     delegation. I felt obliged to commit myself to lead that delegation. I suspect
     that he must have spoken to the media representative to ask that question.
     Such is the influence of the man we are honouring today.

    Prior to 2006, Mpumalanga was invisible on the South Korean and
     Japanese’s tourism radar screen.
 In 2007 out of the 40 000 arrivals from Japan into South Africa just over
  9000 visited Mpumalanga. Their visit only covered one part of the Province
  – the Kruger National Park.

 A robust engagement platform was created for MTPA through a series of
  workshops in June 2008 where over 200 Japanese and South Korean tour
  operators were met.

 As a direct result of the workshops, a total of 50 tour operators for the first
  time featured Mpumalanga in their brochures.

 The Mpumalanga’s itinerary extended beyond the two nights in the Kruger
  National Park and Sabi Sands, to cover the Panorama Route.

 An exclusive platform was also created for Mpumalanga (the only province)
  to participate in the 2010 Symposium hosted by the Asia Pacific University,
  in Oita, Japan in November 2008.

 Extensive media coverage was received in the Travel Journal and Travel
  Vision and the Star in South Africa.

 In November 2008 MTPA hosted representatives from the JTB (Japan
  Tourism Board) and a journalist from Yomuiri News (Japan’s daily news
  paper with a 4 million readership) on a Familiarization Trip of the province.
  This Fam trip alone gave the province media coverage worth R207 000 (18
  000 Yen).

 In total the province received in 2008 a total of R2 million worth media
  coverage.

 The main print and on-line publications included, Yomuiri News, Travel
  Journal, Travel vision, Travel and Leisure, MBX to name but a few.
   Mpumalanga immensely benefited from the Picture Perfect on-line
    campaign which received a staggering support from the Japanese public in
    2008. The province’s icons and experiences were showcased.

   The recently conceptualized “Surprise Yourself” on-line campaign is
    expected to raise even more interest from both trade and the public.

   Special relations have been forged with travel agents and tour operators
    like JATA (Japan Association of Travel Agents), JTB, to name but a few.

   A total of 24 Japanese tour operators and media will be hosted on a post
    Indaba tour of Mpumalanga from 13-16 May 2009.

   Strides are underway to train Mpumalanga tourist guides in the Japanese
    language and culture to ensure that the needs of this market are well
    catered for.

   It is the benefit derived from the support we enjoy from Mr Brower’s effort
    that make us believe that he is worthy of our Special Award. This Award is
    given to anyone in South Africa and abroad who goes beyond the call of
    duty to support MTPA efforts to achieve its objectives.

   Ladies and gentlemen, allow me the privilege, on behalf of MTPA, to do the
    honour of presenting our Special Award of Appreciation to one of our own,
    Mr Brower for the outstanding contribution he has made to ensuring the
    success of the Mpumalanga Tourism and Parks Agency.




                            I thank you.

Mr Sabelo Mahlalela
Chairperson of MTPA

Durban- Balmoral Hotel

08 May 2009

				
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