By SYDNEY MORWENG
Celebratory announcement was held at Endumbeni a popular joint in Kanyamazane, a stone-throw away from Nelspruit recently.
MTPA’s role is not only about heritage sites and wildlife but about improving and sustaining local tourism both in townships and rural areas, and this were its core-business lies.
This partnership with Stokvel Movement will play a significant role in socio-economic upliftment of black communities from as far back as 60s.
Estimated to contribute a staggering R5, 6million in investment markets in South Africa, stokvels constitute approximately 800 000 members country-wide in black communities, have been given a new dimension by virtue of being recognized as one of the major role players’ in uplifting blacks livelihoods in South Africa but has been overlooked.
Stokvel as an essential sector of the economy has in partnership with MTPA tailor-made special travel packages earmarked for township tourism in the province.
Mme Busi Skenjane, a senior representative of the Stokvel Movement and businesswoman heaped praised on this historic partnership, and said other stokvel organizations should heed the call by playing their part in uplifting their social-wellbeing through tourism and create wealth for their respective families.
“Our people, especially those in ‘elite league’ have identified stokvels as waste of time and energy due to elementary things which normally takes place at stokvel gatherings, however, they forget that the same organizations they’re bad-mouthing are the ones producing lawyers, doctors, politicians and so on,” she said with vigor tone.
“You look at the kind of contribution we’re making in the GDP of the country, this will tell you the kind of market share we possess at our disposal yet some ‘white’ companies or banks tend to give us cold shoulder when we approach them for advice.
This has to change, and organizations such as the MTPA have taken the liberty to lead by example in extending an invite to us, in an effort to find the common ground amongst ourselves in improving domestic tourism in Mpumalanga with the possibility of reaching other provinces,” says Skenjane.
Dissatisfied with turbulent number of visitors in the province which is below 80% thus positioned at number 6, MTPA is still adamant that local tourism should be of key importance in community coherence.
With all kinds of marketing jargons being implemented and thrown around time will only tell, if the agency has hit the right cord and out-number other provinces for the top four position.
According to Sabelo Mahlalela Board Chairperson at MTPA, although non-committal on figures, said the strategy behind approaching Stokvel Movement is simply to increase domestic tourism in the province, and leverage on opportunities presented by the movement.
“We realize that dwindling numbers could affect our target, thus we have to constantly keep strategizing and unlock possible opportunities,” he said.
“At the moment we’re working on special project-to be named soon- on the flow of tourists to visit townships as they make their way to KNP and other destinations.
Secondly, we will unveil details of the partnership to be entered between Mpumalanga- known for wildlife and Bio-diversity, Swaziland –for cultural/heritage tourism and Mozambique for idyllic beaches.
In doing so, we will be in position to inform discerning travelers that we now have a ‘beach in Mpumalanga’ and as a result this will increase tourist visit,” quipped Mahlalela.
To celebrate Stokvel Movement and its growth in the tourism industry a book was launched by the movement whose contents are on various stokvel issues and traveling information.