The tourism and hospitality sector’s survival is dependent on international leisure travellers in the summer season and for this reason it is critical that we look at smart ways to open our international borders, especially for our key source markets, so that we can save jobs and save the economy in the Western Cape.
And so, we will be engaging with national government and preparing a further submission proposing an alternative to the risk-based approach for international travel.
We believe firmly that the safety precautions of a 72 hours PCR test and screening protocols should be applied across the board, regardless of purpose of travel and country of origin.
In fact, this approach is already adopted by national government with business travellers and so it makes little sense to exclude leisure travellers in this way.
Indeed, it is unfair to restrict leisure travellers from high-risk countries as there is simply no greater risk of transmission based on the purpose of travel.
South Africa’s airlines, hospitality and tourism companies have shown that travel and tourism can resume safely and, with stringent health and safety systems in place, it should not be necessary to impose additional country-based travel restrictions.
We are also concerned that the two-week review period of the leisure “no-travel list”, together with the requirement that business travellers from high-risk countries email the Department of Home Affairs for permission to travel, will create a barrier to bookings from visitors in traditional key source markets during the critical summer season. It also does not allow for enough lead time on which airlines can base their decisions to fly, creating further uncertainty for a sector that has already been hard-hit.
We have worked hard to ensure that Cape Town and the Western Cape is safe for travellers and ready to welcome international visitors, because our leisure travellers from key source markets such as the United Kingdom, United States, Netherlands and France make the most of our favourable exchange rate and have a high spending potential which positively impacts our local economy.
The day aims to foster awareness among the international community about the importance of tourism and its social, cultural, political and economic values.
Tourism and rural development celebrates the unique ability of the sector to drive local economic development and provide opportunities outside big cities, including in those communities that would often be left behind. In addition, World Tourism Day 2020 highlights the important role tourism plays in preserving and promoting culture and heritage globally.
For many rural communities, tourism means opportunity. It provides jobs and economic empowerment to all groups, but in particular to women and youth. The sector furthermore gives rural communities the ability to protect and promote their natural surroundings, as well as their culture and heritage. In doing so, it allows tourists to enjoy unique experiences.
Tourism has experienced continued growth and deeper diversification to become one of the fastest growing economic sectors in the world. Modern tourism is closely linked to development and includes new destinations for tourists. These dynamics turned tourism into a key driver for socio-economic progress. Tourism therefore has become one of the major players in international commerce, and represents at the same time one of the main income sources for many developing countries
However, the COVID-19 Coronavirus entered most of the countries globally and resulted in a complete tourism industry shutdown. The South African Tourism industry was only allowed to open up after alert level 2 with the majority of damage already done. Looking forward, Alert level 1 starts on 1 October 2020 which will see restrictions on domestic and some international travel lifted.
As the Garden Route & Klein Karoo, the focus is primarily to restore trust in the tourism industry through promoting world standard health and safety protocols without taking away from the experience of the traveler and in doing so re-imagining the Garden Route & Klein Karoo as a preferred tourism destination. “We thus encourage domestic travelers to experience the uniqueness of our region and the diversity on offer with the support from our Local Tourism offices and their respective members,” said Mr Denver Johnson, Tourism Officer at GRDM.
The GRDM therefore encourages residents: “To go out, re-imagine and experience our backyard in the Garden Route & Klein Karoo; we’re open and ready to welcome everyone with an elbow shake, virtual hug and an experience that will urge you to revisit”.
Each Executive Mayor’s presentation was approximately 10 minutes long and focused on the following:
Financing and concessions district municipalities offer to Tourism SMMEs, including cooperatives;
Non-Financial Development Programmes;
Partnership initiatives with other spheres of government including other development institutions;
Donor funding to support Tourism SMMEs and Cooperatives;
Partnership Initiatives established with private sector including civil society and institutions of higher learning;
Policy response initiated in response of COVID-19;
Action Plans to reset the Tourism Industry post COVID-19; and
The Way-forward/Policy Recommendations.
During his presentation on behalf of the Garden Route district, Executive Mayor of Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM), Alderman Memory Booysen, gave a concise overview of the district and its diverse characteristics relating to the Tourism industry which is a coastal, inland and rural region. He further elaborated: “We are home to a port in Mossel Bay which is under-utilised. The port requires official port-of-entry status, as well as expansion. The district also has a regional airport in George, which is currently pursuing international status. If this is approved it will lead to its expansion, especially with the recent oil and gas discovery in Mossel Bay. He furthermore referred to the quality of the beaches within the district, saying that most of the coastal municipalities boast with pristine beaches that have blue flag status. Also, with the region that is very well known for tourism events and taking into consideration all these factors, he said that the Garden Route is the preferred Tourism destination.
When referring to GRDM earmarked as one of the “district development model” municipalities, Mayor Booysen emphasised that the GRDM looks forward to building partnerships with other spheres of Government, including the sharing of resources and intellectual property for this model to work.
He furthermore mentioned the District’s relationships with stakeholders, referring to the engagement platform with the Premier of the Western Cape and said: “The Premier provides access to all five district mayors to participate in the Extended Cabinet meeting. These meetings are also represented by cluster leaders, such as Safety, Post-Covid-19 Economic Recovery, Tourism etc., to keep all municipalities aligned with the vision of the Western Cape Provincial Government.
Alderman Booysen raised his concerns regarding the district’s support to businesses. With regard to Small, Medium, Macro Enterprises (SMMEs). He further elaborated that the cost-containment regulations prohibit the municipality from providing the best possible support to SMMEs, as well as processes that are delayed as a result of red tape. “Some processes have to be directed to other spheres of Governments for their approvals or to be concluded,” he emphasised. With reference to support programmes for spaza shops and general dealers, Alderman Booysen said that GRDM have been working with the banks (Nedbank, Standard Bank) and SEDA for the successful roll-out of this programme in the district. Support with regards to items and equipment is also provided to SMME’s to assist them in keeping their businesses open and expanding it.
Alderman Booysen made mention of a Webishop that was held in collaboration with all local municipalities on 12 August 2020. This WebiShop aimed to address several topics relevant to re-imagining the Garden Route in an innovative and creative way post the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdown period. It also provided a platform for representatives from various think tanks, based locally and internationally, to share how they do things differently in a streamlined way to enable a “next” normal. Presenters logged in from as far as the United Kingdom and Finland to share their ideas.
The themes and topics discussed provided a perfect baseline from which to begin with a process of re-imagining the Garden Route. He said: “More sector specific workshops are envisaged to take place between September and October 2020 and by the end of October, a final economic recovery plan would be ready as a result of these engagements,” Mayor Booysen added. Furthermore, a memorandum of understanding with tertiary institutions in the region is in place to allow these institutions to assist the Garden Route with the turnaround of the economy.
GRDM furthermore embarked on many other campaigns, such as the launching of the Business support campaign. To assist businesses to recover, remain open and keep their current employees post-COVID-19.
September is also Tourism month, with a specific focus on boosting tourism and rural development. These role players are critical and play a major role towards the development of rural communities through measures that could alleviate poverty, create jobs and stimulate the economy. The impact of COVID-19 on the Tourism sector was devastating, causing most businesses not to operate for months. This resulted in many communities to losing their income streams.
Garden Routers were invited to participate in a campaign which aimed to boost the visibility of small businesses on social media. This could be done by posting a positive review of a business you often support to your personal profile on social media using the hashtags (#gardenrouteandme and #myfavouritebusiness), Mayor Booysen explained.
As COVID-19 was the key element of the presentation, Mayor Booysen further spoke about how GRDM is dealing with COVID-19 through various partnerships. He elaborated that safety kits and masks were distributed in collaboration with local municipalities and the Department Economic Development and Tourism to SMME’s in hotspot areas, to ensure client and employee safety and that the district made provision for isolation facilities in the areas of Mossel Bay to accommodate more than 200 beds. GRDM also made two of its resorts available in preparation of any eventuality that might occur in relation to COVID-19. Due to partnerships with clusters and discussions with the business chambers in the region, Mayor Booysen highlighted and said that these chambers did surveys regarding the impact of the COVID-19 within various sectors such as construction, tourism etc. He said: “These Chambers came back with reports that indicated that the district have to go into overdrive for the economy to be revived”.
The Garden Route is home to many world-class golf courses, Mayor Booysen confirmed that all these golf courses qualify to be part of the world calendar. Adding to this he said: “Mr Ernie Els who is a world renowned golf champion, engaged with GRDM regarding a plan to attract golfers and the golf community around the world to the district through the hosting of a golf tournament. “However, as District Municipality we are still constrained with the cost containment regulations”.
All inputs made by the Executive Mayors will be compiled into a report in preparation of recommendations that will be presented to the National Council of Provinces for consideration.
The Executive Mayor of Garden Route District Municipality, Alderman Memory Booysen, will at 19:40 this evening present the Garden Route’s ‘COVID-19 Policy Response to the Tourism Sector’ to the Select Committee on Trade and Industry, Economic Development, Tourism, Employment and Labour. The engagement is hosted by the Committee on behalf of the National Parliament.
All Mayors who will present their response plans are required to specifically focus on the followings aspects, namely:
-Financing that the District Municipality offers Tourism SMMEs including Cooperatives;
-Concessions and incentives that the district municipality offers Tourism SMMEs and Cooperatives;
-Non-Financial Development Programmes;
-Partnership initiatives with other spheres of government including other development institutions;
-Donor funding to support Tourism SMMEs and Cooperatives;
-Partnership Initiatives established with private sector including civil society and institutional of higher learning;
-Policy response initiated in response of COVID-19;
-Action Plans to reset the Tourism Industry post COVID-19; and
-The way-forward/Policy Recommendations.
This engagement started at 14:00 today and is expected to conclude at 21:00.
Friday, 31 January 2020, marked another prestigious highlight for representatives of the Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) and the Francois Ferreira School of Culinary Art, when they witnessed the graduation of seventeen (17) Cater Care students from the Garden Route, in the presence of their parents. The ceremony took place at the Francois Ferreira Academy, which is located at the Mount View Resort in George.
The purpose of this collaborative programme between GRDM and the Francois Ferreira Academy is to address the high rate of unemployment within the Garden Route district through the Cater Care Training programme. The course commenced on 4 September 2019 and concluded on 29 November 2019. During this period, the programme required all students to attend classes from Mondays to Thursdays from 8:30 to 15:00. It was expected from each student to attend class in uniform supplied to them while in training at a wing of the academy which is based in Oubaai, George.
“Take your eagle wings and fly”
During her keynote address at the event, Executive Deputy Mayor of GRDM, Cllr Rosina Ruiters, said: “A total of R350 000 was funded by the GRDM to train previously disadvantaged individuals in the Cater Care Programme with the intent to equip people to access jobs in the local Hospitality industry and Tourism sector”. She furthermore shared a motivational message with students and referred to the story of the eagle that was raised by a chicken and explained: “The chicken found a lost egg not knowing where it came from and then brooded the egg to become like a chicken”. With these words Cllr Ruiters encouraged all students: “Take your eagle wings and fly – do not become a chicken”.
At the event, it became evident, that this journey was not only for students to be awarded with another certificate, but it served as proof of their overall passion and enthusiasm for the industry. This became known when two former students, Jackson Lencoe and David Griffins, shared their personal stories with the audience. Lencoe encouraged the students with the words: “If you want something, you have to be relentless and creative.” He furthermore shared words of appreciation to the Academy and GRDM who helped him discover the chef in him. David Griffins furthermore said: “I appreciate the opportunity provided to me” and shared these words with the students: “When I entered the academy, I knew nothing about being a chef, but with positive attitude and determination, everything else will follow; I learned, practised and never gave up,” he concluded.
Adding to the words of Cllr Ruiters and the former students, the Head of the Academy, Mr Francois Ferreira, applauded all members of the team for their sheer commitment and congratulated them with the following words: “All of you worked very well throughout the course. We could see it in your theory and practical marks, with the lowest class percentage of 67% and the highest at 91%. Very well done”, he cheered. Mr Ferreira also sensitised all students and said that now becomes the harder part of finding permanent employment. To all who are not employed, he said: “Search for opportunities who fits your skills set and to students who are already employed, he said: “Look after your jobs as it is so skaars soos hoendertande”. He concluded: “You must have the right attitude and the right work ethic. Work hard at creating your career with the opportunity provided to you by Garden Route District Municipality”.
The ceremony concluded when Mr Ferreira extended a word of gratitude to the representatives of GRDM when he said: “Thank you for taking hands with us to improve the lives of our youth in the Garden Route”.
“The day you were born you were given many gifts. One such gift is the gift of ‘free will’. What you do with opportunities presented to you, like for instance, being offered the opportunity to study here – depends on you. It is, therefore, without a doubt, a fact that the sky is the limit,” said Councillor Liza Stroebel. In her concluding remarks, she emphasised the importance of decisions of students and that they need to take every opportunity presented to them, “or someone else will”. Councillor Stroebel shared these wise words during the Cater Care Certificate handover ceremony which took place on 12 July 2019 in George.
It was a chest-cramming task to single out 15 learners from a list of 37 hopeful applicants who applied for a three-month course Cater Care Course that started on 4 March and ended on 31 May 2019. Garden Route District Municipality fully funded the course of R300 000.00. Francois Ferreira Academy equipped the humble youth from the Garden Route with various hospitality and culinary skills.
Selection Criteria for Cater Care Course
GRDM was responsible for the coordination and the mobilising of trainees through a formal recruitment and selection process. This has been the case for nearly 10 years.
Students are carefully selected by making use of the following criteria:
• Between the ages of 18 and 35;
• Be unemployed;
• Completed Grade 12;
• Showcase eagerness to make the hospitality industry a career; and
• Live in the Garden Route District.
Francois Ferreira’s Cater Care Course is underpinned by not only basic food preparation, but also life skills. These skills include, but are not limited to:
personal money management;
applying for a job,
writing a curriculum vitae.
Additionally, the training course is the “first step” for aspiring chefs to a sustainable career in the hospitality and culinary industry.
Additional opportunities arranged for 30 learners
FFA subsequently applied and secured additional funding from a Culture, Arts, Tourism, Hospitality and Sport Sector Education and Training Authority Discretionary Grant and for an “Assistant Chef Skills” programme. A total of 30 learners will benefit from this training, which will include the 15 learners who completed their Level 1 Skills in Basic Food Preparation and Basic Service Skills. Students have already started with the “Assistant Chef” course and will continue until the end of August 2019.
During his opening remarks at the Certificate Ceremony which was held on 12 July 2019, Chef Francois Ferreira, Francois Ferreira Academy Principal, said: “It was a joy to teach a group with such enthusiasm and willingness to absorb information.” He also commended students for their “collective positive attitude as a team” which set them apart from previous groups. “You set the bar for future cater care students – each and every one of you have excelled.”
Editor’s note: Youth development is an essential component of GRDM’s efforts to grow the economy. A consequence of saddening statistics that indicate that the Garden Route District has the highest levels of youth unemployment amongst districts within the Western Cape. Youth are under-represented among the employed segment of Garden Routers.
The Municipal Structures Act 117 of 2000, Section 84(1)(m) reads: “Division of functions and powers between the district and local municipalities: (1) A district municipality has the following functions and powers: (m) Promotion of local tourism for the area of the district municipality”.
The annual Africa’s Travel Indaba took place from 2 – 4 May 2019 at the Durban Exhibition Centre in Kwazulu Natal. This year, the Garden Route and Klein Karoo Regional Tourism Office attended the three-day tourism Indaba at the Cape Town and Western Cape stand, together with the regional tourism offices in the Western Cape. The highlight for the region was that WESGRO in conjunction with South African Tourism facilitated a Post Indaba Tour to the Garden Route and Klein Karoo, which took place from Sunday, 5 May 2019.
Five (5) international tour operators/hosted buyers, mainly from the United States of America, United Kingdom, Netherlands and Germany arrived in the Garden Route and Klein Karoo region on Sunday for a three-day educational of the region. The tour and itinerary was coordinated through the regional tourism offices in collaboration with the local tourism offices in the region. The aim of the Post Indaba Tour is to give buyers a taste of the GRKK, to showcase what the region has to offer as a tourist destination, in order for the buyers to promote the region to potential visitors from abroad and also to include the region in their tour packages.
Just like the previous years, the 2019 Indaba re-affirmed itself as one of the largest tourism marketing events on the African calendar and as one of the top three ‘must visit’ events of its kind on the global tourism market.
Airports Company of South Africa (ACSA) George, in collaboration with Garden Route & Klein Karoo Tourism (GR&KK) section of Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) are hosting an Easter Welcoming Campaign at the George Airport on 17 & 18 April 2019. The campaign aims to create awareness about the Garden Route and Klein Karoo and its tourism offerings, which are mostly accessed by tourists whose first point of entry is the George Airport.
Visitors to the region are given goodie bags filled with promotional marketing materials, while ACSA concurrently runs an Easter Egg Give-Away to kids and they are also giving them the opportunity to partake in a colouring competition. Great prizes are up for grabs.
Algoa FM and Eden FM are also broadcasting from George Airport at the moment.
GRDM’s GR&KK section and ACSA George would like to thank the following organisations for sponsoring tourism products:
Cango Caves Estate: Coffee Roastery, Cango Caves Zipline, Kobus se Gat and the Cango Wildlife Ranch.
Garden Route and Klein Karoo Regional Tourism Office is currently exhibiting at the World Travel Market Africa show in Cape Town. The Regional Tourism Office is exhibiting on stands P24 and Q23, together with the Local Tourism Offices: Plett Tourism, George Tourism, Oudtshoorn Tourism, Hessequa Tourism and Calitzdorp Tourism.
The following products are also exhibiting on the stands, namely: De Rusta Estates, Redberry Farm, Oubaai Hotel Golf and Spa, Destination Garden Route, Gourikwa Reserve, the Knysna River Club, Hog Hollow Trails and the Ocean Sailing Charters.
The Final Tourism Strategy workshop is currently underway in Calitzdorp at the Town Hall. The workshops aim is to give feedback on the draft tourism strategy that has been developed. Also to consolidate final inputs into the document to ensure inclusivity.