Media Release: GRDM co-coordinates another Film Famtrip with some attendees from as far as USA
For immediate release 13 October 2023
As part of the Growth & Development Strategy for the Garden Route which was approved on 20 March 2021, and the Sustainable tourism cluster that flows from it, the Garden Route & Klein Karoo Tourism Unit of Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM), identified the film industry as an economic stimulant to potentially promote the Garden Route & Klein Karoo as the preferred tourism and film destination globally.
The GRDM received a request to assist with arranging a Famtrip for October. This led to a diverse delegation officially being welcomed by the GRDM Executive Mayor, Ald. Memory Booysen, in Bitou on 11 October. The Famtrip will conclude in Mossel Bay on 18 October 2023.
The following representatives form part of the trip:
Location Africa, a private sector entity, are set up to facilitate the promotion of Africa as a filming destination of choice. They are looking primarily at high-end producers locally, abroad and inter-continental to use the various regions of the continent as film locations.
The more the producers experience, the better they are able to imagine what can be produced in the region without having to cheat the location elsewhere, in post-production, or in studios. This ensures that they have a full idea of what is achievable in the region and thus promoting the Garden Route as a film-friendly destination
Media Release: Tourism Month festivities celebrated in September
For immediate release 30 September 2023
Tourism Month is celebrated annually in September to highlight South Africa’s diverse tourism offerings as well as the sector’s significant contribution to the local economy and job creation. Inspired by the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), Tourism Month provides a platform for the South African sector to celebrate, reflect and commemorate its milestones in relation to the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.
Tourism Month festivities are held throughout the country, culminating with the World Tourism Day celebrations which will be hosted on 27 September 2023.
During the month, the following local events and initiatives will be happening in the Garden Route & Klein Karoo:
A social media competition encouraging participants to share their #NaturallyKnysnaMoments. Through this competition, participants will have the opportunity to capture and share compelling images that highlight eco-tourism activities, responsible tourism and the harmonious relationship between travellers and the environment. The competition will run from 01 – 20 September 2023 with the winner to be announced on World Tourism Day.
On World Tourism Day (27 September) Visit Knysna will host a “Conserve for Our Future Day” to raise awareness about the environment from 10:00 – 12:00. Speakers from SANParks Honorary Rangers, SANParks, Knysna Municipality’s Environmental Department and Knysna Basic Project will form part of this event. Amongst the guests will be learners from high schools in the area.
Zamani Grill will be doing a Guinness World Record attempt from 21 – 24 September 2023 for the Longest Braai in the World. It will end on Heritage Day (National Braai Day). All the braai items during the 4 days will be sponsored to the community and people serving the community.
The global theme for 2023 as set by the UNWTO, “Tourism and Green Investments”, Calitzdorp Tourism will be hosting their annual Vetplantfees in September where plant experts will be presenting workshops on: a) how to do plant propagation; and b) container gardening. Keynote speakers will also teach and address issues regarding preservation of the environment.
George municipality has a ‘Focus On’ segment in the George Herald which they are using to highlight tourism experiences according to the WC theme ‘Tourism for Good’. George Tourism will also be putting similar content in the municipal newsletter to ratepayers.
George as a destination is also being featured in the September print edition of Rove SA.
13 Sept: Workshop – Developing and marketing the Klein Karoo as an Avitourism destination.
23 Sept: Streetfood Market
29 -30 Sept: 7 Weekspoort MTB and Trail Run Challenge.
29 Sept – 1 Oct: Klein Karoo Motorbike Rally
08 Sept – 15 Oct: Sport & Recreation Festival in Mossel Bay
09 Sept: The Moss March (beach walk event arranged by the Municipality with assistance of Hartenbos Seefront)
15 Sept: Touchies Rugby Tournament in Mossel Bay
22 Sept: Big Boxing event
21-23 Sept: Muse Festival in Great Brak
29 Sept – 01 Oct: Kyknet Buite -Ekspo in Hartenbos
As a build up and launch to Tourism Month, the Minister of Finance and Economic Opportunities of the Western Cape, Minister Mireille Wegner, celebrated the announcement by the World Cetaceann Alliance (WCA) of Plettenberg Bay being awarded the Whale Heritage Site Status as one of three current Whale Heritage sites in South Africa. The Minister enjoyed a boat launch and up close experiences with these gentle giants on 28 August 2023 in Plettenberg Bay.
20 – 23 Sept: Dr Evil Classic 3 Day Stage Race
26 Sept: Bitou Amateur Theatrical Society (BATS) stage production of Fawlty Towers
29 Sept – 08 Oct: Plett Arts Festival
30 Sept– 01 Oct: Plett Spring Celebration
Media Release: Nominate Exceptional SMMEs for SATSA Tourism Business Incubator (new slots open)
For Immediate Release 30 August 2023
As reported back by Southern Africa Tourism Services Association (SATSA) Chief Executive Officer (CEO), David Frost, at yesterday’s Annual General Meeting (AGM), the impact of our Tourism Business Incubator has echoed throughout our industry, inspiring change, and exemplifying the potential within every Small, Medium and Micro Entrepreneurs (SMME).
We are proud of our achievements, our collaborations with key associations like Association of South African Travel Agency (ASATA) and Federated Hospitality Association of South Africa (FEDHASA), the incubation of 32 black owned SMMEs, and our support from well-known members including City Lodge Hotel Group, Europcar, New Frontiers, and more.
SATSA’s Tourism Business Incubator, a Non-Profit Company established to help SATSA members and stakeholders implement enterprise and supplier development, shares the mission with others like Anglo American Zimele, to foster growth beyond boundaries.
Now we’re looking ahead to year two of the project, and with ten places having become available, we invite you to play an essential part in this journey by nominating deserving small businesses (with 51% or more black ownership) for our incubation program. Nominees should have a turnover of less than R50 million and be operating for at least one year. Your nominations can elevate these entrepreneurs, contributing to our entire industry’s prosperity.
To nominate an SMME (or yourself-if you meet the requirements), please send the following details to Hannelie Du Toit (email@example.com) before close of business 1 September 2023:
Type of business (this can be any type of business within the tourism value chain including services such as laundry, etc.)
Media Release: Garden Route DM rolls out various activities before and on Mandela Day
For Immediate Release
19 July 2023
While the world celebrates the life of an icon, the late President of the Republic of South Africa, Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, employees of the Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) also followed his example to reach out to vulnerable community members throughout the region.
GRDM kicked off their activities on 17 July by hosting a pre-Madiba Day blood donation drive at its head office in George in collaboration with the Western Cape Blood Service. The GRDM also invited the public to donate blood, which resulted in just over 50 blood donations being made.
The Oudtshoorn Municipal Health Office donated nutritious and delicious ‘food socks’ to two families in the Buffelsdrift rural area of Oudtshoorn. Food socks contain pasta, rice, flavourings, stock powders, herbs, spices, dehydrated vegetables, pulses, beans, and soy products. GRDM officials bought the socks. The donation will provide food for eight beneficiaries for a week. The two families extended their appreciation to the GRDM officials for providing them with food.
The Oudtshoorn Municipal Health Office donated ‘food socks’ to families in Buffelsdrift.
Planning and Economic Development Department officials, comprised of the EPWP, Tourism and Local Economic Development, and Human Settlements sections, took Madiba Day activities to a new level when they rolled out the following activities at Kusile Baby Care in Thembalethu. In the morning, they divided themselves into different groups. The first group painted the outside walls of the school building with a primer. After that, others begin painting the building with a beautiful topcoat colour. Other officials, who are much more handy with a hammer and nails, installed PVC ceilings. Some of the female colleagues spent time reading and feeding toddlers and newborns. While others prepared a ‘braai’ lunch for the children and their educators. The daycare center also received a coat from officials.
GRDM Planning and Economic Development officials installing PVC ceilings and feeding toddlers at Kusile Baby Care in Thembalethu.
Environmental Health Practitioners (EHP) of Garden Route District Municipality’s Wilderness region celebrated Mandela Day with 60 children from Klipdrift Primary School. The EHPs painted a classroom and supplied colourful tires to improve the playground area. EHPs also shared slices of cake and snack parcels with each child, while they also played games and shared the importance of giving back to others.
EHP officials of GRDM shared cake with children from Klipdrift Primary School and improved their playground.
Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) Firefighters proved that they can do more than fight wildfires and protect communities. They made sandwiches and distributed them with cool drinks to homeless people in George’s Shoprite parking lot.
GRDM Firefighters sharing sandwiches and cool drinks with homeless people in George.
Garden Route District Municipality’s (GRDM) Office of the Municipal Manager, donated 51 pairs of shoes and funds to Mzoxolo Primary School. The shoe donations sprout from the Walk a Child to School campaign and included more staff donations too. The school is already collecting small donations from learners on Fridays to buy shoes for those who are in need. Principal Raymond Eagan thanked the GRDM for the shoe donations and funding. He said: “Our school is home to 1554 bright minds and 42 dedicated teachers.” Learners are mainly from Borchards, Thembalethu, Maraiskamp, Parkdene, and Lawaaikamp. The Principal also said the school’s name, Mzoxola, means “a beacon for peace,” and it was established in 1994 by Naledi Pandor.
Officials of the Office of the Municipal Manager GRDM donated 51 pair of shoes and funds to Mzoxolo Primary School in Lawaaikamp.
Tourism marketing and development Unit is responsible for coordinating regional tourism initiatives and promotes and develops tourism throughout the region, while working closely with eight (8) Local Tourism Offices (LTO). With a focus on selling and promoting the region’s vast potential, GR&KK also aims to attract global attention and foster economic growth in the district.
From 09 May – 11 May 2023, preceded by a Business Opportunity Networking Day (BONDay) on 08 May 2023, the Africa Indaba Show aimed to provide a platform for thought leadership, knowledge sharing, and market insight. BONDay is developed in collaboration with global tourism organisations, continental experts, and industry associations.
During the trade show, African tourism exhibitors showcased their offerings to international and local buyers, destination marketing companies and leisure tourism service providers. The event allowed travel trade professionals to meet face-to-face with some of the most influential buyers on the continent, and gain a deeper understanding of Africa’s excellence and endless potential. As a result of these opportunities and quality connections, Africa will be able to shape its future.
According to GRDM representatives, several new and existing connections were made over the course of the three days, as the GRDM delegation engaged with various domestic and international buyers interested in learning about our area, re-visiting or expanding their tourism offerings by integrating the Garden Route & Klein Karoo into their existing packages.
The following top four tourism offerings were most popular under the tourism buyers
Educational trips to familiarize tour/travel agents of existing and new products/offerings in the Garden Route & Klein Karoo
High-end luxury travel (5 Star)
Incentive travel (Golfing, wine routes, craft beer and gin experiences)
Camping and caravan offerings in the Garden Route & Klein Karoo – most interest from the domestic market
The Western Cape stand was hosted by Wesgro, with the GR&KK Regional Tourism Office also forming part of it to promote the region along with Visit Knysna, George, Wilderness and Uniondale Tourism LTOs.
Africa’s Travel Indaba is an iconic African leisure trade show, owned by South African Tourism, with the specific objective of creating market access for our vast array of African leisure tourism products.
Media Release: Tourism sector recovery in the spotlight
For immediate release
14 November 2022
The Economic Development and Tourism Unit of Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM), recently facilitated Tourism Information Sharing Sessions held in Oudtshoorn and Oubaai respectively. Sessions were organised by the Department of Tourism in collaboration with GRDM; an initiative that is in line with the broader objectives of the Tourism Sector Recovery Plan.
The main objectives of the programme are to:
implement goals and objectives of the National Tourism Sector Strategy (NTSS)
assist in the recovery of the Tourism Sector;
promote access to information;
initiate and facilitate platforms where the department can communicate its priorities, planned projects and programmes; and
build capacity of businesses within the tourism sector through sharing information on services offered, and opportunities for SMME’s especially the rural enterprise.
The following information, was furthermore shared with stakeholders: Funding and support to the tourism sector (capital and non-capital) through the Tourism Incentive Programme (TIP) – Department of Tourism. The TIP was established by the Department of Tourism during the 2015/16 financial year with the purpose of stimulating growth and development in the tourism sector. It aims to provide financial assistance to privately owned tourism enterprises.
Five programmes are currently funded under the broader TIP, namely:
1. The Green Tourism Incentive programme (GTIP)
The Green Tourism Incentive Programme (GTIP) is a resource efficiency incentive programme of the Department of Tourism. The GTIP objectives are to encourage and support private sector tourism enterprises to adopt responsible tourism practices by moving towards the sustainable management of water and energy resources, whilst adhering to responsible tourism practices. Through grant funding, the GTIP assists private sector tourism enterprises in reducing the cost of investing in more energy and water efficient operations, while increasing their competitiveness, profitability, employment and operational sustainability in the long term. The GTIP was initially launched in 2017 and reviewed in 2021 resulting in additional benefits to the tourism sector for the installation of solutions for the sustainable management and usage of electricity and water.
2. Tourism Transformation Fund (TTF)
The Tourism Transformation Fund (TTF) is a dedicated capital investment funding mechanism established by the Department of Tourism in collaboration with the National Empowerment Fund (NEF) and focuses specifically on financial support for black entrepreneurs investing in projects in the tourism sector. The TTF aims to drive transformation in the tourism sector in a more direct and impactful manner that will not only assist black-owned tourism enterprises to expand and grow, but also to catalyse the rise of a new generation of black-owned tourism enterprises to propel the tourism sector to greater heights.
3. Tourism Equity Fund (TEF) – applications are currently placed on hold.
4. Market Access Support programme (MASP)
The Market Access Support Programme (MASP) aims to assist small inbound tourism enterprises to access and engage with tourism buyers in new and existing markets by reducing the cost burden of qualifying enterprises to attend and participate in predetermined international and domestic tourism trade platforms. The programme aims to not only facilitate growth in foreign tourist arrivals and increased foreign exchange earnings for South Africa, but also to stimulate enterprise growth and expansion that will ultimately lead to further job creation and transformation in the sector.
5. Tourism Grading Support programme (TGSP)
The Tourism Grading Support Programme was introduced to encourage wider participation in the tourism grading system and to reduce the cost burden of grading on small tourism enterprises. The programme also aims to stimulate an increase in conformity to quality standards in tourism which in turn will enhance the overall visitor experience and improve South Africa’s competitiveness as a tourism destination.
The following information/presentations were furthermore shared with the delegates at the event:
GRDM’s Tourism officials Denver Johnson and Kayakazi Klaas, with the Manager for Economic Development and Tourism, Ms Melanie Wilson, represented the Garden Route and Klein Karoo regional tourism brand at the sessions.
Media Release: Garden Route domestic tourism trip attended by Journalists and Bloggers
19 October 2022 For immediate release
Early this year, the Western Cape Tourism, Trade and Investment Promotion Agency (Wesgro) entered into a three-year partnership agreement with Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) to accelerate the region’s economic growth, investment, trade and tourism. Clear targets and deliverables were set out in this agreement. In order to increase domestic demand along the Garden Route & Klein Karoo, a familiarisation trip was organised with business and media delegations from Gauteng and Western Cape. The focus of this trip/educational was mainly on family and budget friendly packaging that is on offer in our region.
The trip consisted of 15 participants, including tour operators offering family-friendly packages, media representatives (print and online) focusing on family-friendly experiences, Wesgro representatives, and GR&KK representatives. The five-day trip took place across the entire Garden Route & Klein Karoo region
The initiatives are in line with the Growth and Development Strategy and Garden Route Economy Recovery Plan to boost the Garden Route economy.
Itinerary summary and highlights of the GR&KK Famtrip
Day one, the group met each other for the first time as they arrived at George Airport from their different flights with the tour operator – Tours 4 SA receiving the group. The drive to Garden Route Game Route was indeed pleasant with inviting weather and the group commenting on the diverse landscape witnessed enroute.
GRDM’s Executive Mayor, Alderman Memory Booysen, and a delegation from Council welcomed the group with a networking lunch at Albertina’s Garden Route Game Lodge, highlighting the region’s beauty and splendour.
Day two, was utilised to explore the Garden Route Game Lodge property and to engage with management. The purpose of the trip was to promote the region as a tourism destination.
The group enjoyed the Western Cape Butterfly Sanctuary in Ruiterbos, which was officially opened in November 2021 and is the first and only butterfly sanctuary in the region.
On the third day, the group experienced the Karoo in its true essence in Oudtshoorn, from an ostrich farm safari to visiting the Cango Caves. A highlight of any trip to Oudtshoorn is this experience. The evening ended with an amazing night game drive at Buffelsdrift Game Lodge. This was an experience of the nocturnal side of wildlife, with many animal sightings and a coffee break under the stars while on the game drive which ended the night on a high note.
Day four, saw the group once again experiencing why many visitors to the Garden Route & Klein Karoo enjoy self-drives through the region Guests travelled from Oudtshoorn to Plettenberg Bay to visit the SAASA sanctuaries (Jukani and Birds of Eden). Feedback from the guests was that it felt like an ‘Amazon’ experience as they navigated through the world’s largest free flight aviary and bird sanctuary.
Day five offered a taste of adventure that included zip lining, climbing and hanging from ropes at the Timberlake organic village between Sedgefield and Wilderness at Acrobranch. This wasfollowed by a boat ride in the Wilderness National Park.
As the group left George after a closing lunch at Redberry Farm, they felt invigorated on the one side, but also sad that they had to bid farewell to the beautiful Garden Route and Klein Karoo.
According to Mrs Amagene Koeberg, GRDM Tourism Coordinator, “continuous engagements are still underway with the group as they publish their experiences and share it with their various audiences through different platforms, as some of the participants have already shared TikTok videos, images, videos and some of the tour operators already engaging with our products/services to include the offerings into their packages. These platforms are being monitored and more statistics and reach will be relayed over a period of time as content gets released, “she said.
Media Release: GRDM celebrates Public Service, Heritage and Tourism months – All in one
In celebration of Heritage Month, the Garden Route District Municipality (GDRDM) Councillors and employees will tomorrow celebrate its significance on the South African (SA) calendar by dressing up in South African colours including any South African attire, SA Sports gear, even local sports gear, national flag colours, to name a few.
The institution will be posting few images of how the staff embraced the celebration leading up to the Heritage Day that will be celebrated on 24 September 2022.
Public Service Month
Did you know? September marks Public Service Month in South Africa. Public Service Month (PSM) is an integrated strategic national event in the calendar of the Department of Public Service and Administration.
September marks Public Service Month (PSM) in our country. The integrated government wide programme will encompass:
Public Service Month
Police – Commemoration Day
The Public Service Month serves as a reminder of what it means to serve communities and to also look at the impact the government has, especially around issues of service delivery. As part of the Public Service Month, public servants are expected to:
Roll up their sleeves and spring-clean their service delivery points;
Visit schools, hospitals, police stations and courts, talk to citizens, mediate the delivery of services and getting things done;
Unblock the bottlenecks and red-tape in the delivery of services;
Ensure the systems and infrastructure are working and use public resources efficiently to the benefit of the citizens; and
Recommit themselves to belong, to care and to serve the people.
Enjoy and let’s recommit to serving our communities.
Tourism Month is celebrated annually in September, and provides a heightened month-long focus on the importance of the sector to the South African economy. It features themed activities that are aligned to the United Nations World Tourism Organisation’s (UNWTO) World Tourism Day celebrations.
This global observance day by The United Nations World Tourism Organisation aims to foster awareness of tourism’s social, cultural, political and economic value and the contribution that the sector can make towards reaching the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals.
The Tourism Sector Recovery Plan encourages South Africans to travel domestically to sustain jobs and boost tourism.
The Department Tourism developed the Tourism Sector Recovery Plan with the tourism sector and it contains a set of interventions to protect and rejuvenate supply, reignite demand and strengthen enabling capability to support the sector’s recovery.
And, did you know that the Garden Route & Klein Karoo is one of the most beautiful, awe-inspiring stretches of land in South Africa, if not the world?
Media Release: Partnership between GRDM, Wesgro, SATSA, FEDHASA and Local Tourism Offices – Destination Marketing Organisation Launch
For immediate release 11 July 2022
This morning, the Garden Route District Municipality launched a partnership with Wesgro, SATSA, and FEDHASA, as well as Local Tourism Offices in the Garden Route. In line with the mandate and mission of the parties to collaborate for purposes of tourism promotion of the Garden Route & Klein Karoo, the Destination Garden Route & Klein Karoo project has been initiated.
The purpose of the project is to collaborate for the purposes of tourism promotion of the Garden Route and Klein Karoo region in a manner that embodies strategic cohesiveness and the efficient utilisation of resources between the stakeholders. The stakeholders have all recognised the need for a coordinated approach when implementing the Project and to this end have committed themselves to conclude a Memorandum of Understanding.
The areas of collaboration include but are not limited to marketing and promotion, events, strategic initiatives (including cruise and air route development), and tourism, with the purpose of conducting joint marketing and development initiatives, as amended from time to time by the Steering Committee.
With the Garden Route and Klein Karoo region being a beautiful asset of the Western Cape, the Garden Route brand will now be promoted to the domestic and international traveler in a joint approach, supported by Government, together with the private sector that will participate and do all the right things to showcase this region as a whole.
The partnership was officially launched this morning at the King George Hotel, in George. The launch coincided with the establishment of the Sustainable Tourism Cluster workshop, as per the Garden Route Growth and Development Strategy and the 7 priority clusters that were identified.
Feature Photo: FLTR: Corleen Barnard, Tourism Manager: Oudtshoorn & De Rust; Joan Shaw – Tourism Manager: George, Wilderness & Uniondale; Alderman Memory Booysen, GRDM Executive Mayor; Monika Leul, Chief Marketing Officer at Wesgro; Melanie Wilson, GRDM Manager for Economic Development & Tourism and Lusanda Menze, Executive Manager for Planning & Economic Development at GRDM.
Media Release: Calitzdorp Hot Springs to host a Music, Arts, and Food Gathering with a purpose
6 July 2022 For Immediate Release
Echo Outdoor Gatherings is no stranger to the regional electronic music scene and for years they have hosted events of the highest quality.
After holding their flagship event – Elements of Life – successfully at De Hoek Mountain Resort near Cango Caves for the past five years, Daniel Mentz (event organizer), branched out to Calitzdorp Hot Springs in March with another exciting festival: Valley Of Dreams. The three-day event turned out to be a huge success, which was sold out completely, with people trekking from across the country to attend. According to David, the event attracted nearly 600 festival-goers, which was also a much-needed boost for business and tourism. Festival-goers venture out into the area during an event to explore and some opt to stay for longer as they usually travel from all over the country to attend such festivals.
“Our festival-goers want to make the best of their stay and frequently talk about what they were up to when venturing out to explore the area,” said Mentz.
This July, Echo Outdoor Gatherings will return to Calitzdorp Hot Springs with an even bigger event called ‘Elements of Fire’.
From Friday, 29 July to Sunday, 31 July festival-goers can look forward to a weekend that promises to be a visual and sonic experience like no other. Food stalls will sell falafels, breakfasts, steaks, and freshly pressed juice. Vegan and vegetarian options will also be made available.
Various craft stalls will sell items like dream catchers, leather works, jewellery, clothing brands, and macrame. There will also be two fire shows every night.
Winter Warmer Drive
Echo Outdoor Gatherings wanted to say thank you to the community of Calitzdorp for their warm welcome and decided to give back. This is why they are currently running a food and blanket drive for Friends Of Calitzdorp Animals (FOCA).
FOCA was launched six years ago when the founding member helped some friends to look after stray animals. Today they feed 250 dogs, 70 cats and facilitate up to 30 sterilisations a month. FOC are also constantly building kennels and continues to educate the local residents on animal welfare.
‘The amount of neglect FOCA witnesses every day is horrifying, to say the least,” said Mentz.
To supplement the Winter Warmer Drive, Echo Outdoor Gatherings and Feel Good Entertainment will donate 10% of the bar proceedings for the weekend to FOCA.
Garden Route District Municipality is proud to host the Echo Outdoor Gatherings events as Daniel takes pride in what he does. Every event is carefully planned and those attending must adhere to strict rules.
“Family is at the core of Echo Outdoor Gatherings and will always be,” said Mentz