Pretoria – Tourism brings entrepreneurship opportunities, creates employment and has the potential of alleviating poverty in rural communities, says Deputy Tourism Minister Tokozile Xasa.
She was speaking at the launch of the Kai Garib Caravan Park in Keimos in the Northern Cape on Friday.
More than 500 members of the local community and tourism business owners attended the official handover of the Caravan Park to the Kai Garib Municipality and witnessed the ribbon cutting ceremony.
The caravan park is a social responsibility implementation project funded by the Department of Tourism under the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP).
It is envisaged that the park will create employment opportunities and develop a vibrant, equitable and sustainable economy that will assist the local community sharing in the benefits of tourism.
“Some of South Africa’s top tourism destinations, national parks and cultural sites are located in rural areas, and yet these areas are the hardest hit by poverty and unemployment.
“When we invest in infrastructure projects such as this park, it is with the view of bringing tourism closer to rural communities, boosting the local economy and ultimately creating jobs that will alleviate poverty,” Deputy Minister Xasa said.
A total of 41 people from the surrounding communities were employed and paid stipends during the construction of the park.
The construction included perimeter fencing, paved pedestrian walkway, ablution blocks, conference hall, reception, caretaker office, tuck shop, landscaping, water supply and reticulation, 36 parking bays, swimming pool and area lighting and recreation equipment.
Kai Garib Mayor, Marius Louw, thanked the department for bringing tourism closer to the people of Keimoes.
“We are honoured to have been bestowed as custodians of this tourism facility. We will embrace it and utilise it to advance tourism in our area,” he said.
Acting Head of Department for the Northern Cape Department of Economic Development and Tourism, Drinie Samson, lauded the efforts of the municipality to ensure that members of the community were employed to build and maintain the facility.
“We are proud of the work you have done to ensure that this facility was built and completed in the allocated time. As the Northern Cape department, we commit to assisting the municipality with management and marketing plans to ensure the successful management of the park,” Samson said.