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Township Tourism Gains Momentum in Hazyview

Rich Cultural Heritage

The Shabalala Interpretation of Culture Centre hosted more than 70 international tourists to boost township tourism and the economy.

Township tourism is gaining momentum in Hazyview with international tourists visiting the area. The Shabalala Interpretation of Culture Centre (SICC) recently hosted 74 overseas visitors. They were treated to various indigenous food, drinks, dances and music. Foreigners flocked to the Kruger National Park through Phabeni Gate and ended their day with a spectacular African experience at SICC.

The centre’s founder, Goodman Nkosi, said it is a true reflection of eco-tourism, and that Shabalala Village is very hospitable and eager to welcome or host visitors. “This will bring sustainable growth to our provincial tourism through eco-tourism. This trend allows for the creation of a replacement source of income into the community that also contributes to the revival of lost folk art and handcrafts,” said Nkosi. He was thrilled to see how the international tourists enjoyed exploring the villages and tasting local food and drink. “Some of the vendors also benefited as they bought from them.”

Nkosi urged local tourists, tour operators, travel agents and hotels to support and assist in developing eco-tourism practices and promote sustainable community development.

“We need all stakeholders to join hands by making sure that we protect tourists, so that they can spend their money locally,” he said.

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Nkosi added that foreigners want to learn about the various cultures in Mpumalanga.

“In most cases, tourists who visit our province are only taken to popular and well-known sites. After that, they see no reason to return. The township tour exposes them to something they’ve never heard of or seen, and will keep them coming back. In that way, our local economy will also grow. This is a win-win situation between the host and the hostess.”

In contrast to traditional tourism, community eco-tourism is often a tool for economic development to promote both capital inflow and employment opportunities in the community. It often targets more impoverished areas where implemented. It encourages entrepreneurship for local members to organise the community to implement and run successful community-based eco-tourism enterprises.

He said the visit showed that tourists want to support and understand South Africa’s indigenous people in rural areas, and called upon domestic tourists to follow in their footsteps to support locals who have something to offer the recovering tourism sector.

Written By: Tumelo Waga Dibakwane - The Lowvelder


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