Tourism has received a massive boost of R53.569-million from the Northern Province coffers and more than R20-million will be spent on marketing the province to visitors.
In his budget speech on Thursday, Mac Jack, MEC for Finance, Economic Development and Tourism, pointed out that tourism had been one of the resilient sectors supporting the national and provincial economies in the face of mounting challenges.
With this sector targeted as a key job creator in the National Development Plan, the budget allocated is R53.6-million and of this amount 38 percent will be transferred to the Northern Cape Tourism Authority for marketing.
Jack said five tourism enterprises would be targeted for financial support through grant funding and forty enterprises for non-financial support.
“We also aim to do product development including road sign erection for the Karoo Highlands Route; road sign survey and application for the Heritage Route, Kalahari Red Dune Route, and the N12 Route; and Witsand Nature Reserve Tourism Facility rejuvenation.
“We will also implement a number of interventions, which will focus on upskilling the tourism industry and will vigorously embark on tourism awareness campaigns targeting 10 schools to inculcate a culture of tourism.”
A total of 60 campaigns against illegal tourist guiding will be conducted at all main tourist centres in the province.
Tourism development will also take advantage of opportunities linked to the ocean’s economy and more specifically Operation Phakisa. “In this regard the department will conduct a detailed study to determine opportunities for sustainable tourism experience and enterprise development on the West Coast.”
A model for flagship visitor information offices has also been developed with the purpose of improving destination information promotion and services to visitors. The first of the flagship visitor centres will be launched later in the year in the Frances Baard District Municipality. Similar facilities will be added in the years to come focussing on Hanover, Nieuwoudtville, Upington, Kuruman and Steinkopf.
Domestic tourism and affordable travel will also be encouraged through the revitalisation of municipal resorts in partnership with municipalities.
The Northern Cape Tourism Authority will enter into several collaborative partnerships with neighbouring provinces and entities such as South African National Parks (SanParks) to boost tourism in the Province.
“This will enable collaboration on joint marketing and promotion campaigns.”