South African Tourism and Google Arts & Culture and have announced the launch of ‘South Africa: An Explorer’s Paradise’, an online exhibition where visitors can explore the country through a collection of 500 images and videos, 55 Street Views and 20 digital stories.
The project marks the first phase in a long-term collaboration to celebrate South Africa’s diverse people, its rich cultural heritage and its breathtaking landscapes.
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,” Google South Africa country director Alistair Mokoena said.
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,” Mokoena said.
“In 2020, on average, arrivals were substantially lower – October 2020 saw 91 per cent 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.”
For South African Tourism, the launch of the virtual tourism project marks the start of formalising a relationship and partnership that will play a crucial part in the sector’s recovery.
“The Google Arts & Culture platform does 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,” South African Tourism CEO Sisa Ntshona said.
“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.”
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,” Sood said.
“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.”