2017 – The Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development
As you are aware, 2017 has been declared by the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) as the year of sustainable tourism for development. The UNWTO’s definition of Sustainable Tourism is “tourism that takes full account of its current and future economic, social and environmental impacts, addressing the needs of visitors, the industry, the environment and host communities”. This definition has been simplistically illustrated above.
As the 27th of September is World Tourism Day, the N3 Gateway thought it appropriate to reflect on our initiatives to help support sustainable tourism development over the past year.
- Visitor needs: If a visitor can’t find you, they can’t visit you. The N3 Gateway is supporting tourism business along the corridor to market and promote their towns, routes, activities and businesses. Through our website, we propose self-drive itineraries, and our aim is to ensure that every moment spent on the N3 corridor is enjoyable and memorable. N3 Gateway promotes, among others, the uptake of Tourism Grading and Service Excellence standards among our members.
- Community needs: The communities along the corridor must benefit from tourism for tourism to be sustainable. As such, N3 Gateway is supporting the development of feasible SMMEs with sound business plans, which allow more local community members to participate in the tourism value chain. Such projects include the development of the Adventure Tourism Incubator which will see the development of trail building teams and support services around key mountain bike trails in Karkloof, Clarens, Ladysmith and the Central Drakensberg; the development of Chefs Training project in Mooi River and the development of food gardens in Van Reenen. N3 Gateway is currently also facilitating the development of a more inclusive tourism strategy for one of our members.
- Industry needs: Through capacity building workshops, the N3 Gateway team has supported more than 220 individual businesses along the corridor on topics such as sustainable tourism, resource efficiency (energy, water and waste management) and social media. Our Basic Social Media Training has been very well received and members are encouraged to arrange these in their areas. Further workshops planned will cover topics such as tourism marketing strategies, service excellence and waste management. N3 Gateway is currently developing a compliance guide for tourism SMMEs.
- Environmental needs: These aspects are being covered through all other initiatives. As an example, the ATI, Chefs Training and the Van Reenen projects all include training on environmental best practice. The resource efficiency workshops and waste management projects were developed with a view on improving the environmental performance of tourism businesses within the corridor.