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Local tourism empowers people

9/20/2021 8:57:06 AM

Let’s get back to our roots

Tourism is a labour‐intensive sector offering a great deal of opportunities to stimulate economic growth and transformation. In the South African context, transformation is the process of advancing sector initiatives for the empowerment of previously disadvantaged people, and in so doing, make the sector more accessible and more beneficial to all South Africans. In these COVID-ridden times, the domestic tourism sector plays a key role in reversing the debilitating damage and chaos caused by the pandemic overall. Last year’s Level 5 lockdown restrictions caused a massive nose dive in visitor numbers – both foreign and domestic – to all corners of Mzanzi, jeopardising a vast number of jobs and disrupting transformational projects in the process.

National Tourism Month, in league with the United Nations’ World Tourism Day, is arguably more relevant than ever in cultivating consciousness of the importance of tourism and switching things back to a more positive outlook. The Western Cape narrows this week down on the theme of transformation as part of the province’s Tourism Month celebrations. In the George municipal area, there are a variety of sights and activities linking up with this important theme.

Image Featured Image: Dine with a Local

There is no better way to absorb a region’s culture than to visit local people’s houses, sharing a traditional, homecooked meal, listening to their stories and music, and engage in personal interaction. Dine with a Local is a successful tourism concept offering the wider community the opportunity to benefit directly and indirectly from tourism. In George, various households in the communities of Pacaltsdorp and Thembalethu are involved in this project, and visitors will get a deeper insight into the Xhosa, Khoi, and Cape Malay cultures.

Image Featured Image: Kula Malaika Foundation

The non-profit Kula Malaika Foundation near Hoekwil originated as an effort to reduce the vicious cycle of poverty and all its associated negative factors. Besides learning more about their various projects making a difference in society, such as children centres and a farm where skills training and production take place, visitors can also look forward to a great cup of coffee and delicious light meals at their Bush Café, buy hand-made articles such as mohair mats from their broad range of products, or book an African experience with authentic meals and music.

Another chance to get up close and personal with local life is presented by Explore Our Hood Tours and Experiences. This entrepreneurial organisation is bent on showing visitors the Thembalethu and other regional communities through the eyes of a local. The experience encompasses driven and walking tours to places of interest. It’s perfect for discovering and tasting authentic and unusual food and to feel truly South African.

Image Featured Image: Milkwood Village Market

Come spend a lazy and relaxing few hours at the Milkwood Village Market in Wilderness, which takes place every Sunday. The market is characterised by live music and a warm, friendly atmosphere. Best of all are the many exotic craft stalls where visitors can hunt for unique, practical, not so practical, beautiful and quirky items. By buying articles made by talented local people from all walks of life, visitors contribute to job creation and economic stimulation.

Image Featured Image: Thembalethu Bed and Breakfast

At Thembalethu Bed and Breakfast, guests can count on comfortable accommodation and tasty breakfasts. True African hospitality is the order of the day. As it is situated in an area comprising a motley collection of different cultures, such as the Rastafarians with their fascinating religion and handcrafted products, it’s a stay that will truly broaden the visitor’s mind.

With so many exotic experiences and unique activities available right here in our own backyard, the time to travel locally and return to our roots has arrived. Come meet the people behind the crafts and participate in their empowerment. The George, Wilderness and Uniondale area is proud and eager to share its bounty. COVID-19 protocols are strictly adhered to all across the area. For more information, make sure to visit the George, Wilderness and Uniondale Tourism website at www.visitgeorge.co.za

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