Toti community tourism organisation gets young leader

2013-09-13 00:00

THE next three to five years will be most exciting for Amanzimtoti and its surrounding areas, says the newly elected chairperson of the Sapphire Coast Toti Tourism Committee.

At just 33, Jacques van Schalkwyk, a local businessman who has lived in the area for the past 25 years, is the youngest chairperson ever of the group, and determined to put that youthful energy to good use to bring about a positive change to the community.

“I believe the area has a lot to offer and that we need to market ourselves better and not belittle ourselves as ‘the town on the south’,” said Van Schalkwyk. “Crime fighting needs to be the centre of our attention. The negative publicity that transpires outside our province is one of the factors affecting tourism,” he added.

Van Schalkwyk believes that the next three to five years will be most exciting for Amanzimtoti and its surrounding areas. He intends focusing on establishing six tourism channels: activities tourism, business tourism, retired tourism, medical tourism, educational tourism and cultural tourism.

The committee would like to assist businesses in the area to apply for signage to gain maximum exposure.

He emphasises: “I would like to focus on local tourism, keeping our locals spending locally so we can afford to improve on our service levels.”

He says that ideally, the Sapphire Coast Toti Tourism organisation needs to be looked at from a business point of view as the marketing division for the town.

He acknowledges that there will be challenges ahead, saying,“My focus is to find the solution to these challenges, in order to ensure the best outcome.”

Van Schalkwyk is well aware of the core issues facing locals as he has been sporadically involved in the local tourism committee for the past 10 years.

And he believes the success of the committee can be attributed to the intricate role previous chairmen have played in uplifting the area.

“My predecessor and mentor ahead, Kim McCarthy, has laid the foundation for this community tourism organisation. Kim has given many thankless hours of her time, and I acknowledge her for the ground work that she has done,” he added.

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