Women take lead in tourism

2015-09-23 06:00
The newly elected Sapphire Coast Tourism Board (front, from left) Liana Kleingeld (ordinary member and portfolio: Transport), Kim McCarthy (chairperson and Portfolio: Accommodation and       by-laws), Monique Botha   (Vice-chairperson, treasurer and

The newly elected Sapphire Coast Tourism Board (front, from left) Liana Kleingeld (ordinary member and portfolio: Transport), Kim McCarthy (chairperson and Portfolio: Accommodation and by-laws), Monique Botha (Vice-chairperson, treasurer and

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AMANZIMTOTI Tourism appointed their new committee and for the first time, Women’s Month boasts an all-girl Sapphire Coast Tourism committee. “The committee is a diverse spread representing every village along our South Coast. It is also representative of a variety of stakeholders in the industry, from dive charters and backpackers to transport, events co-ordination and holiday accommodation,” said newly elected chairperson, Kim McCarthy.

“Our vision as a committee is to reassert our backing of publicising and growing events in town, creating unity in our community and bringing a positive influence in. We also would like to see all stakeholders working together,” McCarthy said.

The team aims to do this by enforcing the strength of the organisation, which rests in the number of members­.

Even though there is a strong women’s lead, outgoing chairman, Jacques van Schalkwyk, will offer support from the sideline.

The organisation will be relooking at Van Schalkwyk’s idea of introducing a man-made reef. “The idea is that the reef would bring increased income to the Umkomaas­-Umgababa area by drawing additional customers to existing dive shops. We will see how we can make it possible and are working with Aliwal Shoal Scuba and the relevant corporates,” said McCarthy.

She said the most significant achievement of the organisation last year was seeing body corporate working with Sapphire Tourism to put up extra lighting along Beach Road, ensuring safety and security, and the committee would like to see this initiative extended all along the coast.

The organisation plans to offer complimentary Wifi with data limits on the beach by December and a local company is supporting this initiative.

Another initiative is to launch a mobile app, giving tourists independent information on where to stay, locations of restaurants and events, etc.

“We are also working on a project to promote tourism in schools and introduce packages, such as walking tours, and an initiative to discover scuba­ diving. It is a great career option for pupils and leads to active involvement in marine preservation,” said Liz van der Mescht (orindary member and Portfolio: Umkomaas Diving).

“In the weeks going forward, we will be engaging in collaborating with the city and redefining by-laws. With the Commonwealth Games coming to Durban, there are so many changes that will level the playing field for everyone in the industry,” McCarthy added­.

Activities as usual are planned for the December holidays for Amanzimtoti, Warner’s and Winklespruit beaches.

“Currently we are looking forward to a bumper Sapphire Coast Goss andamp; Balfe Marathon on 18 October. This event has grown from 1 200 entries two years ago, to 2 000 entries last year and this year it will be even bigger. Sapphire Tourism is looking for businesses to come alongside us, to hire trains and for supporters along our beautiful coastline,” McCarthy said.

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