“South Africa’s diverse hidden tourism treasures are showcased through tourism”Minister of Tourism Marthinus van Schalkwyk, visited one of Western Cape’s hidden tourism treasures where he participated in an exciting event in the drive to promote domestic tourism and the Sho’t Left campaign in South Africa The event - which took place on Thursday 27 March 2014 which was themed “Promoting the hidden treasures of our country”, was coordinated in partnership with the Witzenberg Municipality, South African Tourism (SAT) and the Tourism Enterprise Partnership (TEP). The event is part of the celebrations of the “20 years of freedom and tourism growth in South Africa”, showcasing how tourism is affecting the lives of ordinary South Africans. The Minister highlighted how tourism transformed five areas in the Witzenberg Municipality, namely, Tulbagh; Ceres; Wolseley; Prince Alfred Hamlet and Op-die-Berg, through the showcasing of their tourism products, skills transfer programmes, economic development projects, and social cohesion initiatives. Witzenberg is known for its produce of fruit and wine, as well as olives, grain, beef and pork products. “We want more South Africans to travel through the very successful Shot’Left Campaign”, Minister van Schalkwyk said, before adding that the tourism sector is contributing positively to job creation, as over 600 000 people in the country are currently relying on tourism related jobs. “We must create quality jobs for our people and that is why tourism and other sectors of the economy are so important. As government we have invested over R110 million in the last three years, just to train young Chefs to ensure that when they leave the programme, they will have a job,” the Minister said. Also present at the event were Deputy Mayor of Witzenberg, Clr K Adams and Municipal Manager Mr D Nasson. The event was broadcast by SABC’s Morning Live show. Situated in the Boland region, Tulbagh is a popular destination for wine tourism, holiday accommodation, wedding receptions and arts and crafts, amongst its many attractions. Minister van Schalkwyk also commended local communities in the area for their business initiatives. He encouraged them to continue with their efforts in creating and sustaining local tourism businesses which is succeeding in creating jobs for the communities in the surrounding areas.