Skip to content Skip to left sidebar Skip to footer


21 July 2023 Speech by Alderlady Iona Kritzinger at the District Export Campaign

Speech by Alderlady Iona Kritzinger at the District Export Campaign

21 July 2023

The Western Cape Department of Economic Development and Tourism is rolling out a province-wide Export Awareness Campaign. Today it is the Garden Route’s turn. Alderlady Iona Kritzinger delivered the official welcome at the event. The programme includes the Provincial Growth for Jobs Strategy, Export portal, complexity mapping tool, existing commodities, and presentations by various DTIC, IDC, SEDA, SEFA, DoA and Exporters Club.

One critical goal of the Growth for Jobs Strategy of the Western Cape is to, by 2035, ensure that the Western Cape will be an R1 trillion inclusive economy and in percentages, it means growing at between 4% and 6% per annum. This will be achieved by enabling a competitive business environment in which growth is driven through business exploiting opportunities. We have to triple exports by 2035!

Speech at the Export Awareness Dialogue by Alderlady Iona Kritzinger on 21 July 2023

Distinguished guests, delegates, and fellow colleagues,

On behalf of the Garden Route District Municipality, I extend a warm welcome to each and every one of you gathered here today for this crucial session on broadening our understanding of exporting and the opportunities the Western Cape holds for you.

For nearly a decade, our municipality has shown its unwavering dedication to fostering the growth of exports from our region. Today, as we focus on implementing interventions identified in our Growth and Development Strategy’s key strategic areas, our commitment to furthering export initiatives is stronger than ever.

In 2018, we took a bold step by hosting our region’s first Investment Conference. During this momentous event, we welcomed esteemed business delegations from countries like China and Sweden. The conference served as a platform to explore niche products unique to our region, such as honeybush and buchu, and to discover potential business opportunities for exporting.

Following the conference, we launched the Export Readiness Assessment Programme in 2018. This program aimed to support businesses already producing products with export potential. We appointed an export consultant who conducted one-on-one business assessments, paving the way for 4 of these companies to become successful exporters of their respective products today.

As a District Municipality, we remain steadfast in our commitment to this objective, and we are actively engaged in partnerships that further promote export development. Our collaboration with Wesgro on the Export Development Programme and our joint efforts with the Departments of Agriculture and Local Government on the Garden Route Agro-processing Support Programme exemplifies our dedication.

Your presence here today reflects the shared commitment to the growth of our region’s exports. I wish you all fruitful and productive deliberations throughout this day. Together, let us seize the opportunities that lie ahead and propel our district towards a prosperous future – as our slogan reads – Garden Route District Municipality is “your route to prosperity”.

Thank you.

17 May 2023 Media Release: Garden Route and Klein Karoo Tourism Office elevates the region at the 2023 Africa Indaba Show

Media Release: Garden Route and Klein Karoo Tourism Office elevates the region at the 2023 Africa Indaba Show

For Immediate Release
17 May 2023

Garden Route and Klein Karoo Tourism (GR&KK) Regional Tourism Office (RTO) of Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM), recently attended the 3 day Africa Travel Indaba 2023 held at the International Convention Centre (ICC) in Durban. In accordance with the GRDM Tourism and the Growth and Development Strategies, GRDM must market / sell the region.

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.

GR&KK tourism representatives who attended the 2023 Africa Indaba Show last week in Durban. FLTR: Joan Shaw – Tourism Manager from George/Wilderness/Uniondale Tourism, Denver Johnson – GRDM Tourism Officer and Thozeka Sikali from Visit Knysna.

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.

Learn more about each local tourism office by accessing their websites via the GR&KK website here:


19 October 2022 Media Release: Garden Route domestic tourism trip attended by Journalists and Bloggers

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.


15 March 2022 Media Release: Growth And Development Of The Agricultural Sector In The Garden Route

Media Release: Growth And Development Of The Agricultural Sector In The Garden Route

15 March 2022
For immediate release

Clyde Lamberts from the Western Cape Department of Agriculture was invited to speak at the first Garden Route Skills Mecca (GRSM) Forum of 2022 and his focus was on the growth and development strategy of the department for the Garden Route. He opened his comprehensive presentation with the following quote by Allan Savory:

“Agriculture is not crop production as popular belief holds – it’s the production of food and fiber from the world’s land and waters. Without agriculture, it is impossible to have a city, stock market, banks, university, church or army. Agriculture is the foundation of civilization and any stable economy”.  

To put this quote into perspective, Lamberts shared one of the Department’s recent success stories: A farm in Herald was in a dilapidated state due to a lack of interest in purposing the land. A businessman who was passionate about farming bought it, and spent the next five (5) years turning it into a viable business that now produces honeybush and proteas. He is the first black commercial farmer to produce honeybush in the Southern Cape. It is because the Department assisted him that his business was able to create sixteen (16) permanent jobs, with opportunities for an additional twenty (20) seasonal workers.

Before this, in Waboomskraal, the Department assisted another farmer, who became the first black farmer in the area to produce proteas and hops.

Lamberts noted: “When all spheres of government work together in an integrated fashion, these are the type of results we will see”. 

Lamberts listed the activities and services the Department provides to farmers and all other stakeholders as the following:

  • Independent agricultural advice and information
  • Supporting Livestock farmers – Development program. Livestock Forum
  • Performance testing/annual evaluation/ID limitations and opportunities
  • Investigating and implementing new hardy breeds and crossbreeding
  • Investigations in lowering inset cost through conservation agriculture – cover crops
  • Investigations into pasture species for marginal lands
  • Crop production advice and information
  • Niche crops/markets
  • Training

The type of training that is provided includes evidence-based and practice-based farmers’ capacity building. This is done through farmers’ days, demonstrations, peer-to-peer learning, and face-to-face interactions. Since 2018, the department trained 820 beneficiaries and this ranged from vegetable training to farm implement operation training.

The Department has a memorandum of understanding with GRDM and vacant land has been identified that the municipality owns which is conducive for agricultural development opportunities. The Department is researching the potential of commodity processing facilities in the Garden Route, which will be a source of immediate job creation – a game-changer for job creation in the region.

The Department furthermore envisions the building of Agri-Business Platforms for clients where potential products can be processed ready for consumption. Through Conservation/Regenerative agriculture, farmers are encouraged to rehabilitate and look after their own soil to turn it into organic matter that fertilizes with very few chemicals. Trials on livestock projects have yielded very positive results to date, and the global view is that going regenerative holds many financial and ecological benefits.

Agritourism needs to be promoted as it holds several untapped opportunities for the tourism sector. There is a need to compile tour packages to visit farms and processing facilities for both local and international tourism. The Roads Department has a role to play as well, as it must ensure easy access through regular road maintenance and upgrades.

The Department is in the process of revisiting mechanization which would allow for a central point that offers services such as ploughing, for example, as well as repair and maintenance services on farm implements.

Lamberts concluded his presentation by saying that we can be very proud of our district and that the Department is very excited to continue its work in the area.

Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) has entered into a collaborative strategic partnership with Wesgro to promote tourism,  investment and trade across various areas and economic sectors

17 February 2022 Media Release: Wesgro enters into a contract with Garden Route District Municipality to drive economic growth

Media Release: Wesgro enters into a contract with Garden Route District Municipality to drive economic growth

17 February 2022
For immediate release

The Western Cape Tourism, Trade and Investment Promotion Agency (Wesgro) recently 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 are set out in this agreement.

According to Lusanda Menze, GRDM Executive Manager for Planning and Economic Development, “Wesgro has committed to attracting local and international investors and will use the GRDM investment prospectus to do this”.

“They are, amongst others, required to develop a database of businesses per strategic sector, a list of local and international stakeholders, potential investors they engaged and provide a report of the potential leads they generated,” he said.

Speaker of GRDM, Ald. Georlene Wolmarans signs the partnership agreement
Speaker of GRDM, Ald. Georlene Wolmarans signs the partnership agreement, with her is Yaw Peprah, Wesgro Chief Business Officer.

The agreement also states that one-on-one mentorship of 30 companies across the region has to happen. Exporters in the Garden Route shall be given practical guidance on how to implement business processes to become export-ready. Targeted export promotion of Garden Route companies to international clients is also required at international trade exhibitions where companies will be matched to potential buyers, distributors and importers.

The final part of the agreement will require Wesgro to promote tourism promotion by creating awareness of attractions, properties and itineraries in the Garden Route. Fifteen (15) participants from the travel and trade media companies from Gauteng and Western Cape will be invited to the Garden Route to place a spotlight on the region’s domestic leisure market. The focus will be primarily family- and budget-friendly activities and accommodation such as caravanning, mountain biking, watersports, high-adrenalin and nature-based tourism.

Feature image: Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) has entered into a collaborative strategic partnership with Wesgro to promote tourism,  investment and trade across various areas and economic sectors. Pictured (fltr): Joshua Palm (Wesgro Assistant Export Manager), Towfiq Hendricks (Wesgro Head of Investment Promotion), Germaine Habiyaremye (Wesgro Administrator: Agribusiness Investment Unit), Sibylle Pfeiffer (Wesgro District Portfolio Manager), Yaw Peprah (Wesgro Chief Business Officer), Ald. Georlene Wolmarans (GRDM Speaker), Melanie Wilson (GRDM Manager: Economic Development and Tourism), Lusanda Menze (GRDM Executive Manager: Planning and Economic Development) and Passmore Dongi (GRDM Manager: Projects, properties, facilities and resort management).