How every Saffer can help the homeland – change the conversation

As any Saffer knows, being forced to swap SA’s awesome weather is among the biggest challenges of relocating. I certainly haven’t gotten the hang of it yet – arrived back in Jozi this week for a brief visit with too many jerseys and not a single pair of shorts, much less a cozzie. End-March in SA is very different to end-March in the northern hemisphere.

The great weather also explains why despite a significant firming in the Rand (+25% since Brexit) and the best efforts of the interfering class, SA tourism continues to boom. Over 10m tourists visited the country last year with arrivals from outside of Africa up 18%.

You have to wonder when this will be properly absorbed by those who direct SA’s economic policy. Instead of applying national resources to bets on dying sectors like heavy industry and mining, if Pretoria paid attention it would switch every possible cent into supporting tourism. Apart from generating hard currency, it is also one of the most rapid ways of creating new jobs.

Tourism is also an area where Saffers abroad can easily do their bit. Sure, SA politics stink. But little has changed where it matters – the Big Five, Table Mountain, the sunshine and the ready smiles are as prevalent as ever. It’s a real good news story worth telling. And if planes full of tourists keep arriving (and returning) the penny will finally drop where it needs to.

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