“At the same time, in the tourism industry, it is necessary for the various role-players to co-operate in order to compete
MORE major events in the Northern Cape are critical to a thriving tourism industry in the Province.
This is according to the national Department of Tourism’s deputy director-general for Destination Development, Shamilla Chettiar, who said that the financial impact of hosting festivals like Afrikaburn, along with the resulting influx of guests before, during and after such events, was key to all stakeholders in the sector.
Chettiar was among the dignitaries at the Protea Hotel, at Kimberley’s Big Hole, when the Northern Cape Tourism Authority (NCTA), along with various other role-players, recently held three days of discussions on ways to improve and develop the local industry.
Under the stewardship of the national Department of Tourism, discussions covered a broad range of pertinent issues including the transformation of the industry, skills development and strategies to facilitate the growth of domestic tourism performance.
Speaking on the sidelines, Chettiar explained that the department would be visiting each province to conduct similar discussions and governance and development working group meetings.
“For the tourism industry to flourish, national, provincial and local government, along with the private sector, need to serve different functions,” Chettiar said.
“At the same time, in the tourism industry, it is necessary for the various role-players to co-operate in order to compete.
“Every province is unique and offers different attractions which is why we are holding the series of discussions with local authorities from across the country.”
In terms of the Northern Cape, Chettiar said that the Province had plenty to offer visitors, with a rich history and an abundance of wide-open space lending itself to breathtaking landscapes and scenery.
She added that, come spring, the Province could also look forward to one of the most spectacular floral displays to be seen in ages.
However, Chettiar said that the Northern Cape would benefit from hosting more events that attract visitors and used Afrikaburn, starting in Tankwa in the Karoo on Monday, as a good example.
“I understand that 2018 is going to enjoy a wonderful ‘daisy season’, so the tourist industry can look forward to that,” she said. “We also have Afrikaburn coming up next week, which is growing every year.
“Events are critical in this industry. In general, tourists can be divided into business and leisure visitors.”
“An event, like the one we are holding today, brings business people, complete with company expense accounts, to the city for work, so it certainly results in money coming into the Province.”
“However, an event like Afrikaburn brings in leisure visitors who travel to places they wouldn’t normally go to, stopping at various little towns and attractions along the way.
“Seasonality is a challenge in tourism which makes events all the more important.
“Apart from the revenue that the actual concert, event or festival generates, there are also pre- and post-event tours and visits that can be of tremendous benefit to the industry in the Northern Cape.”