South Africa Tourism has denied making any financial commitment to a planned deal with acclaimed television personality and comedian, Trevor Noah, to promote the country.
South Africa Tourism in a statement said, although it is aware of the engagements between the Tourism Business Council of South Africa (TBCSA) and Trevor Noah, to promote the country, it said SA Tourism will not be contributing financially towards this initiative.
It said the initiative is spearheaded by the private tourism sector through TBCSA.
The plan by the Tourism Business Council of South Africa (TBCSA) to have the Emmy Award winning comedian promote South Africa as a tourist destination received a backlash from industry players in the country, who thought the amount for the deal was outrageous.
According to channelstv.com, the $1.7-million deal for a five-minute advert to boost travel to South Africa has sparked a firestorm in the country.
Noah detailed his upbringing in apartheid-era South Africa as the son of a black South African mother The hefty price tag provoked a barrage of criticism of the government, at a time when power cuts are wreaking havoc on Africa’s most industrialised nation and people are struggling with rising food and fuel costs.
The government says it is neither paying for nor sponsoring the advert.
Tourism Minister Patricia de Lille said on Twitter, which is being rebranded as X, that the “Trevor Noah advert for SA ‘does not involve public funds’”.
TBCSA, a private umbrella tourism organisation, said the proposed deal would be “wholly funded” by the body “if and when the parties ultimately agree on a common strategy”.
The advert aims to boost the country’s battered tourism sector, which has not fully recovered since the coronavirus pandemic.
However, South Africans have taken to X to express their concerns and suspicion about the proposed deal.
“South African Tourism & Tourism Ministry are looking for creative ways to loot out taxpayer’s money,” @Thuso1Africa posted.
“Paying Trevor Noah R33 Million for a 5 minutes ad when I’m losing 5 hours of electricity almost daily is crazy business,” posted @riley_unlocked.
The former “The Daily Show” host is currently on a tour in South Africa that will also take him to the United States, India and Britain.
And a white Swiss-German father in “Born a Crime”, his 2016 best-selling memoir.