The Deputy Minister of Tourism, Fish Mahlalela, conducted a site visit yesterday and today to assess progress on the infrastructure upgrade programme to tourism attractions in parks in the Western Cape Province. The Department of Tourism seeks to implement destination enhancement and route development projects to diversify tourism offerings and enhance visitor experience in identified priority areas.
To revive the tourism sector post pandemic, the Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan (ERRP) and the Tourism Sector Recovery Plan, support the rationale to improve and protect the core tourism infrastructure and assets.
The SANParks Maintenance Programme is an initiative adopted at the Presidential Jobs Summit in October 2018 with the primary objective to improve and ensure proper maintenance of National Park Assets for destination enhancement, job creation and SMME development.
The Department has entered into several partnerships with South African National Parks (SANParks) to enhance tourism facilities in various national parks. One of these projects is the SANParks Infrastructure Maintenance Programme. The Department has provided funding support (R120m) for the maintenance programme in SANParks properties across the country. The pandemic ensured that these projects could be implemented, while there were no visitors to the parks.
SANParks has submitted both business and implementation plans to roll out the maintenance programme in 19 national parks namely: Addo Elephant, Agulhas, Augrabies, Bontebok, Camdeboo, Golden Gate Highlands, Kgalagadi Transfrontier, Karoo, Knysna, Kruger, Mapungubwe, Marakele, Mokala, Mountain Zebra, Namaqua, Richtersveld, Table Mountain, Tankwa Karoo, Tsitsikamma, West Coast and Wilderness National Parks.
The Infrastructure Maintenance Programme in the Cape Region comprises of six teams allocated to the Cape region namely Bontebok, West Coast, Table Mountain, Agulhas and Tankwa Karoo National Parks
The labour statistics for this programme in the Cape Region are as follows:
• SMMEs – 6• Participants employed – 66• Number of women – 35• Number of Youth – 33• Number of People with Disabilities- 3
“The work done by the SMMEs has contributed immensely to maintain infrastructure in SANParks as well as to create jobs and transfer skills," said the Deputy Minister.
The Deputy Minister visited the West Coast National Park and Table Mountain National Park on 10 and 11 February as part of the State of the Nation Address activities. Table Mountain National Park being an open access park, is well known for its hiking trails. The teams therefore focussed primarily on footpath repairs and maintenance. The West Coast National Park consists on a number of old farm homesteads which have been converted to accommodation units, offices and a restaurant. These facilities required extensive maintenance which the team executed as well as work to the sewer and waterlines. The team also assisted with clearing of road verges, minor road works and rehabilitation of terrain.
“These projects maximise the benefit of local communities and engenders a shared ownership of our parks. That way we take tourism to the people and collectively enhance the visitor experience," the Deputy Minister concluded.
Ms Pretty Ngubeni-MalulekaOffice of the Tourism Deputy MinisterCell: +27 (0) 79 492 3225Email: email@example.com