The Minister of Tourism Tokozile Xasa, joined by municipal councillors and tourism officials, interacted with the community of Zwelihle in Hermanus, at a Youth Imbizo which forms part of her Youth Month activities. In attendance were students and learners in tourism, aspiring youth entrepreneurs, women and tourism stakeholders, with the aim to stimulate township tourism and inculcate a culture of domestic tourism in ordinary people.
“Tourists are attracted to destinations by experiences and real, authentic offerings. Overstrand has a diverse product range: natural beauty, heritage, culture, etc which can be packaged for various markets”, Minister Xasa explained.
“Tourism is not complete without people, infrastructure and nature, which is why we are here today. We are informed that tourism contributes greatly to the GDP of this area and therefore it needs to be encouraged and looked after", she added.
In her address, the Minister said that tourism does not only provide employment opportunities, but also encourages people to become entrepreneurs. She called on local government, the private sector as well as the youth to work together to make tourism in the Overstrand a growing sector.
We need a solid base of young, well qualified people who are equipped with the necessary skills to advance into management positions and to be better prepared to be business owners and entrepreneurs of the future.
"I have learned that in Zwelihle, the community boasts talented crafters who can become entrepreneurs who supply restaurants, hotels and our conference centres. I urge you to engage with the municipality and my department to see how your talent can be harnessed and help you yield much more desirable outcomes for yourselves and your families", said Minister Xasa.
The Zwelihle community appealed to the Minister and ward councillors present to provide guidance on the accessibility of information and resources to grow their small businesses. The Minister encouraged the youth to recognise their own value and power and invest in their own education. “Take pride in what you have. People want to experience your lifestyle; they want to see your house. There is a market. There is an opportunity to make money. Tourists want to buy something to take home.
"I urge you to take advantage of opportunities provided by government to build your skills, access training opportunities and seek internship and employment opportunities when they arise. As today's youth, you have the power of choice. You can choose the direction of your lives, for today but also for tomorrow. Let it be a wise choice - one that will see you improve your own life and advance the wellbeing of your family and community", concluded the Minister.
She also encouraged the Overstrand Municipality to identify tourism opportunities in the area and then work with national government to develop them to the benefit of all.
Speaking on behalf of Cape Whale Coast, Tourism Manager Frieda Lloyd encouraged the community to ensure that they develop products that can attract tourists. "If there is a reason for tourists to stop in Zwelihle, they will do so. You just need to enhance what you already have on offer," she said.
As a coastal region the Overstrand takes special care to focus on the opportunities of the ocean’s economy. Besides its reputation as the whale watching capital the region has many business links that entrepreneurs can explore as career options. The youth should consider developing products that could fill the gaps and look at untapped areas. Such opportunities require more than one skill and those who learn more languages and are able to develop their practical abilities will be well equipped to answer to the needs.
Build on what is already in place, link with successful businesses and make sure that you communicate the development of your product to others. Tourism teaches us to take pride in what we have and we should share what we have with others.
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|Hermanus:||Myrtle Street||Chantel 028 313 8192|
|Gansbaai:||Municipal Offices||Yonela 028 313 8333|
|Kleinmond:||Housing Department||Lukhona 078 578 4839|
|Hawston:||Thusong Centre||Eli 072 899 9289|