Tourism is not just an important economic driver, but also allows for people from dynamic backgrounds to come together. A call for a harmonious living is being made by the Mpumalanga provincial tourism department, following weeks of unrest and the looting of shops owned by foreign nationals in areas around Gauteng.
The Department was honouring 22 people from different sectors of tourism at an event hosted by the Mpumalanga Tourism and Parks Agency. Individuals who run hotels, tourists attractions and others are tour guides were rewarded for excellent performance in their field of work.
The tourism sector is still providing employment even under tough economic times. 35-year-old Netto Maluka is a tour guide from Lekazi, just outside Mbombela.
His company, Mbombela Experience sells tours to tourists from all over the world, taking them to their desired destinations in the province.
He has been doing this for the past five years.
“The award will help us get ahead in the business. We are happy to have won. The business takes tourists on kasi tours, the Kruger National Park as well as the panorama route,” says Mbombela Experience owner Netto Maluka.
The provincial Finance, Economic Development and Tourism has condemned the recent attack on foreign nationals.
The Department says the tourism sector is highly dependent on people from outside the country.
“As this sector contributes economically and it employs people despite economic conditions, it has to be sustained. These individuals are receiving the awards to be encouraged to do more. We would also like to discourage our people to stop attacking foreign nationals as the survival of tourism in the province depends on neighbouring countries like Mozambique and Eswatini,” says Mpumalanga Economic Development MEC Pat Ngomane.
Last year, tourism contributed 1.5-million jobs and over R400 billion to the country’s economy. Author-Siphephile Kunene