Sustaining Breede Valley’s tourism industry

Environmental and economic sustainability go hand in hand, especially in the hospitality industry. So when it comes to “sustaining” the tourism industry in this region, one of the priorities is to nurture and promote our natural environment.

With World Tourism Day on Tuesday 27th September and much of the global focus on the importance of sustainability, Worcester Tourism Director Suzanne Scholtz explains what this means in terms of South African tourism.

“The theme for this entire month is ‘Rethinking Tourism,’ with inclusivity, sustainability and sustainability as sub-themes.”

So, with sustainability at all levels being so crucial in these times, we invite interested stakeholders to a free presentation in Worcester with guest speakers, each specialist in their own field, next Tuesday under the theme of “Sustainability in the tourism sector”.

“Keeping in mind the effect tourists have on carbon emissions while traveling, it’s only fair,” Scholtz says, “for the tourism industry to try to give back as much as possible. With l education as the key to success and assuring people that it doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg to ‘go green’, we’ve made it our mission to educate the public on how they can reduce its carbon footprint by making even small changes to their daily routines and operations.

“It doesn’t have to happen overnight, but it should be part of everyone’s long-term planning to help save the world as we know it. We have to start with the man in the mirror if we really want to make a difference! »

Jaco Brand, landscape technologist and permaculture specialist.

Tourism of the future

To make a difference in the regional hospitality sector towards economic sustainability, Nik Wullschleger, an expert in natural sciences, resources and the environment who will be one of the main speakers at the event, said that “the sustainability of the Tourism industry is essential to ensuring a strong industry – an industry that balances the needs of visitors with those of host communities, without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. Putting people and planet before profit is key to results, and like any other economic sector, tourism can have a significant impact both socially and economically.

“Host communities such as Worcester receive tourists and derive income from them, but need to consider what can be provided in return.

“It is our duty, as operators or custodians of natural, cultural and human resources, to minimize our negative impacts, while ensuring that beneficial impacts are encouraged, enhanced and shared.

Putting ideals into practice

When it comes to environmental sustainability, Jaco Brand, also a speaker at the upcoming ecotourism event, is an average practitioner himself.

A landscape technologist and permaculture specialist in edible gardening in the pretty agricultural valley of Rawsonville, Brand practices what he preaches by reusing and recycling everything possible, especially all the benefits of nature – from household materials to making compost from chicken waste – and believes in using water only for plants you can eat, such as fruits, vegetables and herbs, rather than cosmetic plants.

Growing a healthy mix of 14 different fruits, including peaches, avocados, kiwis, cherries, plums, prunes, guavas, limes and pomegranates, as well as almonds, Brand also hosts cooking classes ; and one-hour classes on permaculture and how to harvest its riches.

His talk at the event will include companion planting, how to make his living environment more sustainable in his own backyard, and some practical tips for any garden, like using sweet potatoes as a ground cover under his trees, how to reuse seeds for replanting, and the importance of planting food instead of lawns!

Celeste Scholz

Sustaining their food supply with vegetables, herbs and olives, enthusiastic students of sustainable agriculture learn about permaculture methods at Kuruma Farm cottages run by Celeste Scholz (right).

Quality matters

But if one owns a guesthouse or B&B, when it comes to measuring up to quality and economically sustainable standards in the hospitality industry, Christopher Phillips is the man to talk to about grading. the quality.

An independent rating assessor whose job it is to check the quality of guesthouse accommodation in local and district municipalities, Phillips will speak at the event about perhaps the most useful key to staying ahead of today’s economic challenges in tourism – registration with the Tourism Grading Council of South Africa. This, since the harmful social and economic impact of the Covid on tourism, is now completely free.

The only officially recognized quality assurance body for tourism products in South Africa, the TGCSA enables hotel guests to see where they stand against global standards and to be seen not only by domestic visitors but also by foreign tourists from countries as culturally diverse as Japan, Germany, the United States, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands and France.

Phillips says: “It is important to the economic growth of the region in the area of ​​tourism that all accommodation is of guaranteed quality and that visitors are warmly welcomed, so that first and last impressions are memorable.

TGCSA’s certified star rating gives confidence to domestic and international visitors, while strengthening the South African tourism brand and giving these bed and breakfast owners an edge over all unrated establishments.

Marketing

Registration with the council also includes opportunities to be listed in above-the-line marketing and advertising campaigns on television, radio, print media and outdoor campaigns, as well as advertisements in below the line such as promotions and public relations campaigns.

Listed guest houses are also free to use the council’s logo and their own well-deserved rating stars in their print advertisements, business cards, websites, brochures and letterheads. And through the TGCSA website, they will automatically be connected to new audiences and potential customers. They also have the right to advertise in the council’s accommodation guide which is distributed by South African call centers and tourism offices around the world, providing international coverage.

How to attract visitors

Then it’s up to the hosts! “The wine industry in this region is of course an attraction for many,” agreed Phillips, but to attract visitors on a larger scale Worcester guesthouse owners would of course not only have an interest in establishing a reputation word of mouth for their friendliness and ability to know what customers want, good concierge service, attention to detail and knowledge of “must see” tourist sites, but also for their attractive additional packages for waiting customers .

“As a destination, we need to come together with other stakeholders and offer specialized exploration packages and routes – such as nature routes, horse trails, rafting packages, cultural routes, game farms and adventure routes.”

Those interested in learning more can reserve a free spot on Tuesday, September 27 at 6:30 p.m. for 7:00 p.m. at The Barn, 170 Church Street. Reservation is essential. Book at [email protected] or send a WhatsApp to 076 200 8742.

About John McTaggart

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