‘Tourism PMB’ has new chairman

2016-06-01 06:00

TRANSFORMATION is top of the agenda for the newly elected Msunduzi Pietermaritzburg Tourism Association’s (MPTA) chairman, Lwazi Nsele.

With Pietermaritzburg in his blood Nsele, from Edendale, matriculated from Linpark High School and became a street vendor in the heart of the city.

With his braaied chicken business in Market Square from 2000, his business quickly grew from one table to three catering for the needs of the city working class.

“It was here that I recognised the potential for tourism because I often had tourists visit me and buy food. It was an authentic experience of the city and our culture, and that’s what I want to promote,” he said.

Nsele said he did not initially think he would get into tourism and was happy running his vendor business until a friend asked him to start a tourism programme for tertiary students, which involved taking them around the city and showing them popular sites.

“It was during this time that I met various business people whom I have learnt a lot from. Melanie Veness, Pietermaritzburg Chamber of Business CEO was one of them and was instrumental in me getting invited to sit on the tourism board. My exposure to tourism in the city expanded and I met many people who helped me get to know the industry,” said Nsele.

For Nsele, giving tourists an authentic experience of Pietermaritzburg­ is key and in doing so, transform the tourism­ industry to include township areas and its young entrepreneurs.

“Because of my experience in the industry over the years I know that transformation is key if we are going to increase traffic into the city. People need to be exposed to a different scene, the one that we get to see on a daily basis, like township businesses and street vendors.

“However, in doing so we need to educate those in these areas about tourists and explain to them the benefits of their visits to their businesses as well as improve safety in the areas so that tourists will want to visit there,” said Nsele.

Pietermaritzburg is the gateway to the Midlands and the Drakensburg.

“Not only do we need to ensure that the tourists stop in our city, we need to solidify the relationships between municipalities and across boundaries,” he said.

He said his focus is to raise the profile of the city and promote the big footprint Pietermaritzburg had in the liberation struggle.

“We need to teach our communities the importance of tourists, keep places clean and understand Pietermaritzburg’s history themselves. My aim is a complete transformation of the industry promoting service delivery and encouraging communities to raise the bar,” said Nsele.

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