Minister of Tourism, Patricia de Lille, today hosted a tourism stakeholder session in the Overberg District Municipality in the Western Cape. In celebration of Tourism Month and ahead of the summer season, the Minister visited the region to report back on the state of tourism as well as to actively engage with tourism enterprises across the value chain.
This engagement gives impetus to the commitment by government to strengthen its partnerships by working with all spheres of government to enhance the capacity of the state. In her capacity as District Champion of the Overberg region, this alignment is critical at the coalface of service delivery.
Tourism is a significant economic lever supporting many other sectors and creating direct and indirect jobs. All sectors feed into tourism in building a strong brand. Tourism is the golden thread that links many other sectors with the ultimate goal of delivering a world class South African experience.
The tourism sector is one of the critical intervention areas that has been identified in the country’s Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan as tourism is a key driver economic activity and job creation.
The latest figures released by StatsSA shows continued growth for the sector and we are very grateful for these improvements and the work of StatsSA in this regard. The arrival figures for January to July this year demonstrate South Africa’s rising momentum in the global travel industry is indisputably affirmed. The numbers speak for themselves and South Africa remains an attractive destination, for both domestic and international travelers.
The country continues to attract travelers with its unique blend of nature, culture, and history.
For the first seven months of the year, we welcomed 4.8 million tourists from all over the world and our goal is to surpass pre-COVID arrival numbers and exceed 10 million arrivals by the end of March 2024. The arrival numbers thus far are encouraging as we gear up for a bumper summer season.
The Overberg is home to a unique combination of tourism treasures including pristine landscapes and seascapes with abundant and diverse birdlife and floristic treasures. Attractions include the renowned Harold Porter Botanical Gardens, Stony Point, Aghulas National Park, Bontebok National Park, Cape Aghulas Lighthouse, De Hoop Nature Reserve, De Mond Nature Reserve, Kogelberg Nature Reserve and the Shipwreck Museum. Collectively these attractions welcomed a total of 204 981 visitors between January and December 2022.
Successful projects implemented in the Overberg region include:
In the current financial year 2023/2024 two (2) skills development programmes have been implemented in Overberg District Municipality, Western Cape Province which are Wine Service Training Programme and Food Safety Quality Assurer Training Programme. The programmes were implemented for three (3) three-month period from March to May 2023 through the appointed service providers; Tourism World and Tourism Business Council of Southern Africa (TTBISA). In June this year, more than 40 young people from the Overberg region graduated from these accredited courses funded by the Department of Tourism.
Since the inception of the GTIP, 37 applications from Western Cape tourism establishments have been approved with 5 of these approved applicants located in the Overberg region.
The Minister also shared key updates on the progress the Department has made to date:
The Department of Tourism has also awarded the tender for the deployment of 2 200 Tourism Monitors to key tourist areas in all nine provinces to be deployed before the busy summer season starts.
Under the auspices of the private sector, on 31 August, we launched the tourist safety App called SECURA, which is solely dedicated to tourists’ safety nationally.
Next week, on 19 September Minister de Lille will also officially launch the Summer Campaign in the Eastern Cape ahead of the peak summer period for tourism for South Africa.
“As we celebrate Tourism Month and gear up for the peak summer season, I expressed my gratitude to the tourism stakeholders in the Overberg region for all their hard work to grow tourism and urged them to continue enhancing our tourism offering so that we can welcome more visitors and increase the economic contribution of tourism to our economy. The success of tourism lies in mutually beneficial partnerships and collaborations. As we celebrate our success, so too do we address our obstacles – collectively. We can only grow by working together and I am determined to work with the private sector to exponentially grow tourism across South Africa,” Minister de Lille said.
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