A new strategy to promote heritage and cultural tourism was launched by Tourism Minister Marthinus van Schalkwyk on Friday.
By growing heritage and cultural tourism, South Africawould develop its entire tourism sector, enhancing the country as a tourism destination, and create jobs, said Van Schalkwyk.
The strategy aimed to guide the integration of heritage and cultural resources into mainstream tourism. It would also stimulate sustainable livelihoods through heritage and cultural tourism products. The strategy also aimed to diversify the tourism sector and raise awareness of heritage and cultural resources.
Currently, South Africa was promoted around the wildlife experiences it could offer, he said.
Heritage and cultural tourism was the fastest emerging competitive niche within domestic and international tourism markets. This category accounted for 40% of international tourism. “The combination of culture, heritage, and tourism is therefore an extremely potent economic engine,” said Van Schalkwyk.
Cultural heritage tourism had provided opportunities for a wide range of SMMEs in the arts and crafts industry, cultural landscapes, and heritage sites and cultural festivals.
In developing the National Heritage and Cultural Strategy, the tourism department engaged with a range of stakeholders in the heritage and cultural fields, as well as the tourism sector, private sector, and local communities.
It would invest R6 million over three years for further development and active promotion of the eight World Heritage Sites in South Africa. These are: RobbenIsland, the Cradle of Humankind, Mapungubwe Cultural Landscape, the Isimangaliso Wetland Park, the uKhahlamba/Drakensberg Mountain Range, the Cape Floral Kingdom, the Richtersveld cultural landscape, and the Vredeford Dome.
A further R80 million would be invested over a three-year period in projects known for their “global significance”. These were the Dinosaur Interpretative Centre in Golden Gate’sHighlandsNational Park(R50 million over three years), the National Heritage Monument (R20 million over three years), and the First Indigenous Peoples’ Projects (KhoiSan) in Graaff-Reinet (R10 million over three years).
SA – the Good News via SAPA