PRETORIA-(MaraviPost)-Africa’s top and renowned business news network, CNBC Africa, has described Prophet Shepherd Bushiri’s successful Crossover Night as a boost for local tourism in South Africa.

CNBC Africa is the Africa’s first and most powerful business media brand—available on DStv channel 410, StarTimes channel 309, Canal Plus 169 and Kwese TV 736—which reaches decision makers, CEO’s, policymakers and entrepreneurs across the continent in over 100 countries.

The author of the article—Unathi Henama, a lecturer at Tshwane University of Technology—has since called on South Africans to celebrate Prophet Bushiri for enabling religious tourism which is benefiting their country.

At least 115 000 people attended the 2017/18 Crossover Night at FNB Stadium—arguably the largest crowd so far.
By the filling up the stadium, Henama argues that Prophet Bushiri, is, therefore, the pioneer of #FillUpFNB.

“The event will continue to gain momentum and diversify the crossover menu for people to choose from. By filling up the FNB stadium, Bushiri moves right up there with music stars, sports cup finals, and the recent #FillUpFNB hosted by Cassper Nyovest,” he said.

Henama also explored how the growth of Prophet Bushiri’s church is changing the tourism face of Gauteng Province—this is where Johannesburg and Pretoria are located.

He writes: “Prophet Bushiri is constructing a megachurch in Midrand. The church already holds its main service at the showgrounds in Pretoria West. The church service in Pretoria attracts thousands of congregants from near and far, domestically and internationally.”

Henama noted that the growth of Prophet Bushiri’s church is profound considering that Gauteng is not a traditional holiday destination, as the province experiences the greater out-migration as people, who travel to the sea and the rural hinterlands along the century-old migrant labour system.

“This crossover service by occurring in Soweto ensured that it disperses financial expenditure to the township tourism economy, ensuring that the residents of Soweto become the leading beneficiaries of the event.

“The five different sectors of the tourism economy which includes: accommodation, food and beverage services, recreation and entertainment, transportation and travel services have benefitted from the crossover service,” he writes.

Henama further notes that the sheer number of attendees is a perfect selling and marketing platform, especially for the financial services sector and for the tourism products in Gauteng.

“Tourism is the ‘new gold’ and it has the potential to diversify the economy of a region. Mining has long lost its shine, as it continues to shed jobs,” he says.

Tourism continues to become the economic messiah for the economy. In 2016, South Africa received a 13 percent year-on-year growth in international tourism arrivals. This occurs when the country won’t even get 1 percent economic growth.

Religious tourism is a form of special interest tourism that has huge potential for destination South Africa.

Henama notes that the recent announcement of Jerusalem as the new home for the American embassy has meant that Jerusalem may suffer a decrease in religious tourists.

“This must be exploited for destination South Africa, especially trying to lure Muslim tourists, who increasingly shun Muslim-unfriendly destinations,” he advises.

Across the world, religious tourism is becoming a big boost to local economies.

In Nigeria, for instance, Prophet T.B. Joshua remains a popular evangelist that benefits the Nigerian economy dis-proportionally.

Studies indicate that 8 out of ten tourists that arrive in Nigeria at the Martala Muhammed International Airport in Nigeria, are headed for the Synagogue Church of All Nations (SCOAN).

With joblessness being a big threat to freedom in South Africa, tourism remains a key sector that has ability to create labour intensive jobs, and opportunities for entrepreneurship, especially for small businesses.

Henama, then, advises South Africa tourism authorities to embrace religious tourism as it is a key sector of the tourism economy that benefits black businesses, as religiously motivated travel is dominated by blacks.

“Transforming the tourism economy remains a dream deferred, and religious tourism has the potential to bring the realisation of that dream much closer.

“Prophet Bushiri has been an enabler of religious tourism and must, therefore, be celebrated for benefiting South Africa’s tourism economy,” he says.