Tourism stakeholders in the North West say more needs to be invested in developing unexplored tourism sites in rural areas.
They say while the province has benefited significantly from popular tourist attractions such as Sun City and Pilanesberg, many rural gems have gone unnoticed and unexplored.
The province has experienced a 16% decline of international tourist arrivals in the past few months.
North West prides itself as a province of historic tourism heritage. This is one province you find a variety of wildlife attractions and natural wonders.
Moving to the Moses Kotane Local Municipality, outside Rustenburg, is where you find the world known Sun City and Pilanesburg National Park. You also find different tourism spheres-from culture, history and wildlife attractions in the surrounding areas.
And according to Moses Kotane Local Municipality Mayor Ralesole Diale, most of these attractions should be explored and marketed with the aim of creating employment for the locals.
“Starting from the fact that we know that there is a great unemployment through tourism unemployment is going to at least , to a certain percentage will go down. And is going to make sure that Moses Kotane Local Municipality grows from pillar to post.”
With much of the tourism potential still to be explored, some are calling on authorities to also put focus in influencing the locals to participate in the sector.
Seabelo Mangena is from Moruleng village and he has an interest in the tourism sector. Mangena says there are more opportunities that can be used through cultural tourism.
“We are staying in a place which is famous of its minerals around Pilanesburg, but there are also other factors that also not actually being concentrated on even our young stars they will always want to go for mining, whereas there is land, we are here , we can create all what is left for us is to restore it and give it to the people.”
While the province has experienced 16% decline in international tourist arrivals, more calls are made by some of the stakeholders for government to put more efforts in promoting local tourism.
Keabetswe Bonokwane, who runs The Marries Bed and Breakfast in Mogwase township – in partnership with her mother, says there are more opportunities in the sector, which can be used to create more employment.
“I graduated at Mahikeng Hotel School and basically my mother on the graduation she was inspired by the CEO of Tourism Mr Ndabeni that time who told us not to go and look for a job ‘go and start something because you might sit at home for years without but if you can start as little as catering.’ so my mother come back and decided that you know what I am turning this into a BnB, why? because not everyone can afford to go to Sun City.”
42 year old Solomzi Radebe, from KwaZulu-Natal, is working as a game ranger at the Manyane Game Reserve for 18 years now. Radebe says he has realised that there is shortage of young blacks in his field .
“And even the government they don’t put too much projection into that. Government would rather put their funds into other government maybe in health which is still lacking, but their funds are projected in other fields rather than this. But if our black sister and brother could try to focus into conservation this is one beautiful industry that you could love, is good to be in here.”
Investment in rural tourism is also hoped to boost declining international tourist arrivals and counter growing unemployment.
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