Traditional leaders encouraged to participate in tourism

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

 Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (CoGTA) Minister Des van Rooyen has urged traditional leaders to cease economic opportunities offered by tourism in their areas.

Speaking at the Tourism Transformation Summit convened by the Tourism Minister Tokozile Xasa on Tuesday, Minister van Rooyen said without the support or buy-in from Traditional Leaders on traditional land, tourism development will never succeed.

“Traditional Leaders are the custodian of communal land with land ownership being a critical component for economic transformation. This asset provides communities with a strategic advantage for economic development, in particular tourism development,” said Minister.

The summit was held under the theme ‘Tourism for All: Transform, Grow and Sustain”. It coincided with the commemoration of World Cities Day on 31 October.

The importance of tourism was emphasized by noting that it contributes “approximately 9,5 percent to the GDP and supporting 1,4 million jobs”, this was the sentiments expressed by Minister Des van Rooyen.

Rural communities were urged by the Minister to take advantage of opportunities that do not require any additional infrastructure or skills. These include the development of supply chain opportunities among others in food production, such as vegetables, growing of flowers for hotels and lodges and establishing laundry services. The establishment of rural community tourism destination or hubs, which can provide visitors with an established gateway to the various unique community experiences and providing authentic tourism experience were also highlighted as ways for communities to share in the tourism sector pie.

“In many traditional communities, there are annual cultural festivals which are accompanied by fun and fair, with traditional and cultural activities that include songs and dances on display. We ought to take full advantage of these and upscale them to the levels whereby the standard and quality is of high degree to yield high-level beneficiation”, said Minister Van Rooyen.

The department committed that it will continue to support all efforts to reflect and engage on the current state of transformation in the tourism sector that will promote its advancement and local economic development.-SAnews.gov.za

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