Unbeknown to many businesses and the public at large, our company Ugu South Coast Tourism is an amalgam of government and the private sector who jointly oversee operations within our mandate in tourism.
To ensure that we have a meaningful relationship with private sector tourism practitioners, we also have 10 Area Committees (ACs) which we believe are vital within the context of tourism management.
Each AC essentially takes ownership of local tourism matters and through annual planning receives grant money from us to activate projects in their localised area. Furthermore we usually provide extra resources for events that take place throughout the district and each AC is an important element of our eventing programmes.
All ACs are encouraged to ensure that rural tourism forms part of their functional mix and through this we believe that more emergent participants in the tourism industry will come to the fore.
We have been attending Annual General Meetings for these ACs and what has become evident is that in limited instances, tourism products and local businesses do not seem to put their hand up to sit on these very important forums.
There is a saying in business “If your business relies directly or indirectly from decisions made by a committee, sit on or work with that committee”. Apathy in tourism is not unique to small pockets of our region – it seems to be a worrying malaise elsewhere in South Africa. Many tourism associations have closed down because of apathy and financial restrictions.
One proactive local AC Chair summed it up by saying “Some businesses score big time during the peak seasons then they mumble from behind the froth of a daily dose of beer for the rest of the year. They should get involved and roll up their sleeves for tourism.”
For us to assist in great tourism and leisure initiatives we need to have the committed inputs from all within this dynamic sector. We also recommend that prior to getting involved businesses do need to join Ugu South Coast Tourism – the membership fees range from R150- R360 per annum.
Thankfully our membership base is growing month by month and the more tourism reliant businesses that join, the higher the prospect of even more outstanding people sitting on our invaluable ACs.
The principle of community based tourism is enshrined in our tourism make up and we in this Paradise will continue to work within the macro tourism management paradigm as well as the localised tourism considerations.
As they say in true South African parlance “Local is Lekker”- even here in our Paradise.