Five Knysna Tourism board members had the opportunity to meet with Derek Hanekom, Minister of Tourism when he was in Knysna last weekend to visit local voters’ registration stations and attend the Knysna Literary Festival.
Clive Bennett said that the meeting was extremely constructive and positive. “The minister reiterated the newly-elected President Cyril Ramaphosa’s positive outlook for tourism and his conviction that the country is able to more than double the number of people currently employed in the tourism sector,” he said.
The board members had the chance to discuss their vision for Knysna and the important role that tourism plays in the local economy.
Paddy Gordon, Manager of the Garden Route National Park and based in Knysna, said that Minister Hanekom has always been in favour of promoting natural areas for tourism. “Speaking on behalf of SANParks, I confirmed that we are very willing and happy to be part of the tourism economy of the Garden Route. On his part, the minister said that tourism must be inclusive and benefit everybody.”
Knysna Tourism Vice Chairperson Albert Lombaard said that it was very exciting to see how passionate the minister is about his portfolio. “I feel very positive about growing tourism in the Garden Route with the intensified marketing efforts that he is planning for South African Tourism. The minister firmly believes that growing tourism is very possible if we do the right things, such as removing barriers to international visitors and making it easier for them to come to South Africa, because we have a great offering,” he said.