Inclusive growth of coastal tourism, on World Tourism day
Share this article:
Cape Town - While the South African tourism sector experienced great losses during the pandemic, what better way to revive the spirit and celebrate Tourism Day today with the endless opportunities that lay ahead given the steady growth in the industry.
As tourism is seen as an opportunity to lessen the unemployment rate in the country, WESSA Tourism Blue Flag Project Manager Morgan Griffiths said that tourism forms part of the source of sustainable job growth.
“Tourism formed a key economic driver and employer in South Africa. The pandemic certainly set back this sector, but as South Africa recovers and starts to attract vaccinated tourists from around the world, it has potential to be a source of sustainable job growth. Especially that of SMMEs and supporting rural jobs and enterprises. Celebrating World Tourism Day draws our attention to this aspect, as well as the benefits of sharing our cultures, history and natural heritage to the world.”
WESSA undertakes a great deal of environmental and sustainability training across South Africa. One of the key programmes they implement is the international Blue Flag Beaches, Marinas and Boat Operators Programme.
WESSA is the national operator for the international Blue Flag Programme, a programme of the Foundation for Environmental Education. Municipalities and private companies seek Blue Flag accreditation as a competitive branding and marketing advantage.
For WESSA, it provides an opportunity to promote responsible tourism and sustainable management of marine and coastal environments, especially through the protection of marine water quality, safety, security and environmental education.
In a statement, Premier Alan Winde mentioned that while there still needs to be an official confirmation from the South African Covid-19 Modelling Consortium, it is clear that the Western Cape’s third wave has come to an end.
“As we celebrate World Tourism Day, I call for the Western Cape to be moved to Alert Level 1 immediately with the termination of the National State of Disaster as soon as possible.”
“It is not fair on our small businesses, especially in the hospitality and tourism sector, to have restrictions in place for a day longer than they are required to protect the health system. We must get the balance right in saving both lives and jobs, and we must be agile in ensuring that changes are made as soon as possible.
“I likewise encourage our own residents to explore the different regions of our province to see for themselves why the rest of the world loves coming here every year, and in doing so, you will also help create jobs at a time when our economy needs it the most,” said Winde.
As much change is still needed in order to shift the minds of locals into preserving the country, Griffiths encourages people to get vaccinated, as vaccinations will prevent further lockdowns.
“Local, national and international tourists seek destinations and activities that are safe (personal security and health), within healthy or pristine environments and wanting to know that their presence does not harm local people and the environment.
“Reputation is everything. Every action that prevents environmental degradation improves personal security and contributes to sustainable and inclusive tourism growth are key. Clients and tourism operators can promote sustainable growth through participating in schemes such as Blue Flag and Fair Trade. Ultimately, every South African's participation in the vaccination drive is key so that we can end the need for further lockdowns and be de-listed from so-called red lists of countries that tourists must avoid,” said Griffiths.