The Drakenstein Local Tourism Association (DLTA) is celebrating Women’s Month in August by recognizing women, who play an important role in the local tourism industry.
According to Annelize Stroebel, DLTA general manager, tourism remains one of the most significant economic contributors to the region and the sector is powered by some very impressive women. “Tourism is one industry where women are showing their mettle and we thought that Women’s Month presented the ideal platform to pay tribute to some of the female role players, who are making their mark in Paarl. Included in the line-up is Maika Goetze of Cascade Manor, Karike Conradie of Kikka, Hybre van Niekerk of the Paarl Historical Walk and Tours and Tammy Bell from the Grande Roche.”
These four women are passionate about Paarl, its historic significance and incredible offerings. Although coming from diverse backgrounds, they are united in their enthusiasm for growing the Boland town as a prime destination. “We need to make sure that South Africans become tourists in their own country and not necessarily dream of holidays in exotic and distant places. When we reflect confidence and excitement about our country, we entice more visitors to come and experience it,” mentions Maika Goetze, owner-manager of the Cascade Manor Country Manor Hotel & Spa. She views their Fair Trade tourism accreditation as one of her greatest accomplishments.
Hybre van Niekerk has been fascinated by Paarl’s history from an early age and her walking tours exploring the third oldest town of South Africa are a great drawcard for international visitors. She echoes the need for support from locals as interest for her highly informative guided walks are predominantly from foreign visitors. “I think it is essential that industry role players learn to work together to grow. Referrals between guides and operators are so important and are mutually beneficial for the growth of the town and tourism,” states Hybre.
Karike Conradie from the highly popular Kikka florist and coffee shops admits that it is vital to offer a unique product in a fairly saturated industry. “Many people think this is an easy industry, but you have to be innovative and remain relevant. Since starting this business in 2004, Kikka has become a part of the rich tapestry of Paarl. It is a place to connect and creates a welcoming sense of community.”
The women they meet on a daily basis serve as inspiration to their entrepreneurial spirit and commitment to the tourism industry. In the spirit of Women’s Month, they embrace the tenacity, resilience and integrity of South African women. According to Tammy Bell of the iconic Grande Roche hotel, she is celebrating the crucial role of women in tourism and is convinced that women have a future in this industry. Offering advice to younger women interested in a career in tourism, Tammy says: “Attitude is everything! Work hard and be passionate about what you do.”
These four dynamic women agree on the challenges faced by the industry and raise the crime rate, lack of government support for small businesses and the need for strategic planning around tourism at a national level as key concerns. However, they remain proudly Paarl and seriously invested in the future of tourism in the so-called Pearl of the Cape Winelands.
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