Sightseeing buses come to Johannesburg

Tourists travelling to Johannesburg in South Africa will be treated on a new way to explore the city. Already well known in cities all over the world to practice some easy sightseeing, the ‘hop-on, hop-off’ buses will be coming to ‘Jozi’ in January 2013. And of course, they will be in recognizabe and iconic red.

From Constitution Hill to Newtown and the Origins Centre at Wits, the open-top bus will allow visitors to explore the city’s history in a safe and convenient way, making the city more tourist-friendly. The buses, which operate in 100 cities on six continents around the world, will offer commentary in 17 languages.

Dawn Roberston, CEO of the Gauteng Tourism Authority, says, “We are very excited about the new hop-on hop-off buses, which are sure to become a premier tourism experience in Johannesburg, and in future we are looking at bringing the buses to Pretoria too.”

The GTA has made great strides in marketing Johannesburg. The city is no longer a no-go area for international and domestic tourists and the GTA has built strong partnerships within the industry, local communities and the media to showcase the numerous tourism gems within the city.

This year will also see a reorganisation of the tourism entities in the province of Gauteng, in which Johannesburg lies. The Gauteng Tourism Authority, the Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site and Dinokeng will be merged into a single entity.

The department is also looking at ways of leveraging off the unique fossils found in the province. One new development is to create the Fossil Casting Project that will establish a facility at the Sterkfontein Caves to cast fossils and other heritage objects, which will be marketed to the scientific and educational community, museums and the general public. This will be implemented by Wits University and is expected to create a minimum of 50 new jobs for community members, and impart significant skills in the process.

Robertson says, “It is our belief that the palaeoanthropological information and specimens need to reach a far wider audience, and this project is an attempt to boost this objective. This also falls squarely within our aims of making domestic tourism more appealing not only to international tourists but domestic, and of creating employment and developing skills to grow a strong and vibrant domestic tourism portfolio that will grow our micro and macro economy.”

A total of 30 local producers at the Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site will also benefit from the implementation of the Craft Product Development Programme that will be responsible for the production of a minimum of 90 unique new crafts linked to the tourism experiences at the site.


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