FOR all the tears shed for our economy, there is a ray of hope for young people, entrepreneurs and businesses: Tourism.
Tokozile Xasa, Minister of Tourism, said so when she launched the Tourism Monitors Programme at Uncle Tom’s in Soweto.
She said the programme formed part of a long-term plan to boost tourism destinations through safety and development of sites.
“Tourism precinct development recognises that tourism supply is not evenly dispersed throughout Mzansi. It’s mostly concentrated in distinctive geographical areas or precincts. Such precincts are anchored and clustered around attractions, activities and infrastructure.”
She said tourism monitors would be extended to all other provinces to address safety and support for Mzansi visitors.
The young people who will be hired to be monitors and protect the tourists will benefit from the programme.
They will get a monthly stipend of R3 600 in line with the expanded public works programme, for a period of 36 months.
“It is intended to place special focus on making sure tourist hotspots are safe nationally.”
She said as tourism was on the rise in Mzansi, the people cannot be left behind.
“We can’t however grow it without our communities, so as we look forward to launching this initiative in other parts of the country, let’s all continue to show and prove to the rest of the world that South Africa is a value driven tourism destination – that we value and continue to deliver value to our nation’s tourists.”
The launch started with Xasa, her deputy Elizabeth Thabethe, and the monitors touring the popular Vilakazi Street – a street that has been made famous because it had two Nobel peace prize winners, Nelson Mandela and Archbishop Desmond Tutu, lived on it.
It is now a vibrant tourism destination and many visitors make it a tourist pilgrimage.
Besides Vilakazi Street, there are many other tourism activities in Mzansi for visitors to explore and experience.