The Minister launched the National Rural Tourism Strategy and also unveiled
phase 3 of the Donkey Cart Project in Wupperthal, Cederberg, in the Western Cape.
“The strategy is aimed at developing rural tourism. This can greatly contribute to the alleviation of pressure in areas that are often characterised by poverty and underdevelopment,” the Minister said.
The strategy illustrates the National Department of Tourism’s commitment to the development of rural economies in general, and rural tourism in particular.
The main problem areas that are hampering rural tourism development have been identified as follows:
(i) Tourism has been inadequately resourced and funded in rural areas,
(ii) A number of key rural tourist attractions are located in rural areas, and are not receiving the benefits stemming from the tourism industry,
(iii) The limited involvement of local communities serves as a major constraint in developing tourism in rural areas, amongst others.
In order to address these challenges, the strategy inter alia aims to (i) facilitate the coordination of rural tourism development initiatives among relevant stakeholders; (ii) create an enabling environment for rural tourism development to stimulate job creation; and (iii) identify and recommend strategic areas/nodes for tourism development in rural areas within the sector.
The Minister also unveiled phase 3 of the Donkey Cart Project which has been budgeted R20million having completed phase 1 and 2, respectively.
The project will attempt to absorb at least 234 beneficiaries, exposing them to experiential job training, social upliftment programmes and tourism industry awareness activities.