We may write new names but many of us know this place by one name… home!
Johannesburg, South Africa (26 February 2021) – The name changes may be on everyone’s lips but we must not forget that South Africa is a place of many names… shared names, it is how we make family.
Google Arts & Culture (GAC) and SA Tourism today announced South Africa: An Explorer’s Paradise, an online exhibition where visitors from all over the world can explore South Africa through a collection of 500 images and videos, 55 Street Views and 20 digital stories.
This is the first phase in a long-term collaboration to celebrate South Africa’s diverse people, its rich cultural heritage and its breathtaking landscapes.
And to launch this incredible initiative, Siphokazi Jonas has created a bespoke love letter to her country, South Africa. Listen to her words below as she takes you on a journey across South Africa showcasing the diversity and beauty the country has to offer.
COVID-19 has put pressure on the tourism industry in South Africa and globally, and the project offers audiences the opportunity to virtually discover the best of the country.
“South Africa has been aptly described as a microcosm of the world, a place where civilisations meet,” says Google South Africa country director Alistair Mokoena. “With its spectacular views, stunning wildlife and unbeatable biodiversity, bustling modern cities, and vibrant economy, South Africa is often described as “A world in one country”.
“In 2019, more than 10 million people visited. In 2020, on average, arrivals were substantially lower – October 2020 saw 91% fewer arrivals than October 2019, for example. We wanted to promote South Africa’s heritage and destinations in a way that hasn’t been done before to tempt them to visit in person as soon as they can,” says Mokoena.
For SA Tourism, today marks the start of formalising a relationship and partnership that will play a crucial part in the sector’s recovery.
“The Google Arts and Culture platform do a great job in creating awareness for the rest of the world to get a spectacular glimpse of South Africa, but what also excites me is the potential of the partnership to grow the sector on the digital front” comments SA Tourism CEO, Sisa Ntshona.
“We know that digitally-led is the norm and, through our partnership, we hope to equip the sector with the necessary skills to thrive and adapt in a digital environment.”
“We have already started introducing some of Google’s offerings at our nationwide SMME workshops and will continue with this and more throughout this year,” Ntshona adds.
Google Arts & Culture director Amit Sood is thrilled to see the project kick-off.
“I am excited that South African Tourism and Google Arts & Culture are starting their collaboration today. The first phase of our partnership is now online to showcase incredible locations, hidden gems and adventurous activities across South Africa. We are looking forward to the next steps together with South African Tourism, and we hope that anyone, anywhere, will get a glimpse of what the country has to offer,” Sood says.