Going for gold in Harding

2018-06-14 06:01

OUT of the blue, there has been a rush towards Harding thanks to reports of the possibility of a gold deposit in existence close to a nearby village. Naturally, we await the outcome of tests to determine if the report is accurate.

Industrial tourism is sometimes an under- valued aspect of our industry. The stereotype we perceive of tourists is people, dressed up in their newly acquired holiday garments, setting off to the beach or inland with cameras or binoculars as large as silos. This is not always the case.

Industrial tourism can also hinge around other primary or secondary activity whereby specialists, construction teams, engineers and value chain providers converge on a hub or area of industrial development. Here I think of the coal town Lephalale, where tourism and property prices have boomed exponentially mostly due to a power station having been constructed.

Even if the hype around Harding comes to nought there are other initiatives within Operation Phakisa that can be construed as value for tourism in an industrial sense. We have proposed boat building clusters, fish farming, agri- initiatives in the macadamia sector and development of new light industrial hubs in the pipeline. Let’s hope they all come through because, in a diversified tourism market, it would be good news for our sector.

Given we have excellent marine protected areas, I am ambivalent about possible offshore exploration for oil. It is seldom that industry and nature-based tourism fit hand in glove so the sourcing of inward investment has to be considerate of our environment and the ecosystems that give our tourism industry credibility.

We pride ourselves in offering visitors a healthy environment in which to enjoy leisure pastimes. In chasing that ever tempting pot of gold, we should always ensure that we do not stifle opportunities already open to us.

Having said that, I am hopeful that rural Harding does strike it lucky- the communities there need an injection of opportunity.

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