Entrepreneurs urged to play role in tourism

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

By Cecilia Mohlala

Mbombela - Aspiring entrepreneurs interested in the tourism industry have been invited to participate in a business awareness campaign to be held in Mpumalanga later this month.

The Mpumalanga Tourism and Parks Agency (MTPA) will host the business campaign in Ermelo on September 21, with the aim of sharing information on the tourism opportunities that are available in the province.

“The MTPA has teamed up with various stakeholders... to allow us an opportunity to leverage on the offerings that are provided by the various stakeholders aimed at profiling the vast product offering available in the province, especially in the less visited areas," said MTPA chief executive Jacques Modipane.

Modipane was speaking at the launch of Tourism Month in Mbombela on Tuesday.

He said the MTPA partners include Endangered Wildlife Trust, Tourism Enterprise Partnership, Birdlife South Africa, Inkomati Water Catchment Management, various government departments, district and local municipalities.

He said throughout September, the MTPA will be focusing on encouraging more people to embark on leisure activities and visit some of the less visited areas in the province.

Modipane added that as part of the tourism awareness campaign, the MTPA will also address safety issues affecting the industry.

“There is a need to raise safety standards in the entire tourism industry and to improve the country’s image as a destination,” said Modipane.

The chief executive said Mpumalanga has a lot to offer in terms of tourism.

“The intention during tourism month is for South Africans to discover the hidden treasures of their land, which offers something for everyone, from nature lovers through to fun seekers.

“The theme for this year is ‘tourism and water, protecting our future,’ which highlights tourism’s role in water access and shines a spotlight on the actions currently being taken by the sector in order to contribute to a more sustainable water future,” Modipane said.

Economic development, environment and tourism MEC Pinky Phosa said the department has allocated more than R2 million for tourism, conservation and biodiversity in its 2013/14 budget.

“To show how much we value this sector, we have allocated 40% of the total allocation of R821 567 of the department in the current financial year to tourism and bio-diversity,” she said. – SAnews.gov.za

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