Google partners SA Tourism on virtual exhibition site

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South Africa: An Explorer’s Paradise
South Africa: An Explorer’s Paradise

Google SA has teamed up with SA Tourism to develop 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.

The platform, called South Africa: An Explorer’s Paradise, is the first phase in a long-term collaboration through Google Arts & Culture (GAC) to celebrate SA’s diverse people, its rich cultural heritage and its breath-taking landscapes.

GAC features content from over 2 000 leading museums globally and archives that have partnered with the Google Cultural Institute to bring the world’s best destinations closer to tourists.

COVID-19 has put pressure on the tourism industry in SA, and globally, and the project offers audiences the opportunity to virtually discover the best of the country, according to Google.

“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.

“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.”

With its spectacular views, stunning wildlife and unbeatable biodiversity, bustling modern cities, and vibrant economy, SA is often described as a world in one country, adds Mokoena.

SA Tourism says the partnership marks the start of formalising a relationship and collaboration that will play a crucial part in the sector’s recovery.

“The Google Arts and 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,” comments SA Tourism CEO Sisa Ntshona.

“We know that a digitally-led approach 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. 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.

To experience SA and explore various destinations, visitors can download the Android or iOS Google Arts & Culture app or visit the Web site.

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