Tourism resilience applauded

Feb 20, 2014

The  MEC for economic development, Seaparo Sekoati, has applauded the local tourism industry for having remained resilient and unshaken despite the economic downturn and instability.

He said the sector stability was a good sign that the government and private sector, particularly in the tourism sector could do more not only to save jobs for millions of the people, but to continue to grow the economy of the province.

Sekoati and the acting CEO of the Limpopo Tourism Agency, Fixon Hlungwani, on Tuesday embarked on a three-day road show to share challenges, achievements and frustrations that the industry’s role players in the region face.

“What we have to do is to work closely as the government, the private sector and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) to improve the standard of tourism in our province.

“If we succeed in this endeavour, the government will not continue to use a certain groups of tourism products at the expense of others as all of you should benefit from this effort,” he said.

He said all tourism products should be graded, through the Grading Council of South Africa and the agency will guide manufacturers through that.

“We have taken a position as the government to encourage all the tourism products to be graded and to that end, we will not use any product that has not been graded as we encourage good service standard.

“It is our intention as the government and Limpopo Tourism Agency in particular, to establish local tourism associations in all municipalities in the province,” he said.

The department also envisaged establishing regional tourism associations and then the provincial tourism association, in the spirit of the national tourism sector strategy.

He said it was important for municipalities to see the value in tourism as a catalyst for economic development because without the support of the local authorities the tourism structures would not thrive.

This week the Baphalaborwa local municipality will be hosting one of its annual tourist pullers, the Marula Festival which offers a smorgasbord of entertainment and showcases local produce and products.

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