The picturesque countryside town of Clanwilliam, known as the Rooibos Capital of South Africa, played host to an event celebrating the momentous occasion: the First National Rooibos Day of South Africa. Clanwilliam is a short 180 minute drive from Cape Town’s CBD and located on the N7 in the Cape West Coast. It is part of the West Coast Way Wild Route and 7 Stops on the N7. Visitors to this area are encouraged to visit the tourism information centre located at the Kardoesie N7 Country Stop.
The Shadow Minister of Tourism and Member of Parliament, James Vos, officially opened the event in Clanwilliam. The festivities was hosted at Augsburg Landbougimnasium on the evening of Monday, 16 January 2017 between 18:00 and 22:00. Entrance to the function was free of charge.
Agritourism can help to enhance the demand for local produce, boost regional marketing efforts, and create value-added and direct marketing opportunities to stimulate local economic activity.
South Africa has a wide variety of agricultural activities – livestock, dairy, grain, wine production, fruit growing, and the most important of them all being Rooibos. All these can be developed into tourism ventures so that visitors can feel they are really part of the experience, such as farm visits, stay-overs, Mountain Bike Trails, Trail Runs, tours and interactive activities and festivals.
The value of tourism and how this could benefit the Western Cape and Cape West Coast region is clear in the following numbers: this tourism industry created 32 186 new jobs in 2015, raising the tourism workforce from 679 560 individuals in 2014 to a total of 711 746 individuals.
Currently, one in 22 employed people in South Africa work in the tourism industry, representing 4,5% of the total workforce.
Domestic tourism is the main contributor to total tourism spending, with local travellers having contributed R140,9 billion to the economy in 2015.
James Vos, Shadow Minister of Tourism declared: “Our key focus in the coming year will be promotion. We need to export our goods to world markets and to draw even more investment and visitors to our region.”
“Our produce and our tourism industry are achieving international acclaim. Last year, the Groot Constantia wine farm produced a Chardonnay, which was named the best in the world. A few months ago voters on Tripadvisor again ranked Cape Town amongst the top ten visitor destinations. This shows that we are already doing a great job marketing our province. And last month the Cape Town International Airport welcomed a total of 10 million passengers for the year. I am sure that you will agree with me that these successes should not be limited to one province.”
Tourism is one of the best-performing sectors in our country’s economy. “We have a strong competitive advantage in tourism; the exchange rate is in our favour and the global growth in outbound tourism presents us with a magnificent window of opportunity.” “However, the realization of this growth potential does not just happen because conditions are favourable – we have to work together to make it happen.”
It is for this reason that the Western Cape Government is investing in infrastructure that makes business sense and drives demand. To mention a few examples: Upgrading of road networks along the N7 to improve mobility of both goods and people, expansion of the Cape Town International Airport to increase airlift capacity, construction of dedicated cruise terminal to promote cruise tourism, building of new conference facilities at the Cape Town International Convention Center to accommodate growth in this sector, and the development of agriculture activities across the province with the aim of sustainability and community beneficiation.
All of these projects are considered as game changers; because each one impacts on tourism.
For every R100 produced by the South African economy, R3,10 is as a result of tourism. This makes the tourism industry larger than the agriculture industry, the latter having contributed only 2,4% to the economy in 2015.
Therefore it makes sense to have these two industries work together to the benefit of everyone.
RELEASED ON BEHALF OF JAMES VOS, MP
Member of Parliament
Shadow Minister of Tourism
Mobile phone 0762773351
Email [email protected]