23 September 2020
The Federation of Unions of South Africa (FEDUSA) has appealed to the Departments of Arts and Culture and of Tourism to involve local communities this Heritage Day in its effort to revive cultural
tourism following the COVID-19 pandemic devastation which saw tourism companies close shop and hundreds of workers lose their jobs.
For its part, the Department of Tourism should ensure that World Health Organization Protocols on managing the spread of the pandemic are fully complied with so that the industry reopens safely, and workers are not exposed to danger recklessly.
FEDUSA believes that it should come naturally to a country so rich in cultural heritage and beautiful landscapes as South Africa to use it both as a competitive advantage against other major tourism destinations – as has been shown by research that tourism is a global industry – and as a strategy for rural development to uplift millions of people who reside in the country side.
Domestic tourism must therefore be reshaped to continue investing in the local markets to save the precious heritage sites that have become popular tourist destinations.
Central to such reform efforts should be plans to revive and develop cultural tourism with regional nodes as the vehicles of carrying out national plans on the ground; that are aimed at specifically motivation both domestic and international tourists to go and experience local cultures in the form of heritage and historical sites; cultural festivities, oral histories, traditional song and dances, and
However, for all these plans to be successful, the Department should have plans to deliberately include and secure the participation of local communities including the training and employment of local tour guides especially young people, supporting local artists such as musicians, dancers and
story tellers, and subsidizing local craft industries for traditional apparels and eateries for traditional cuisines and beverages such as umqombothi – with the caveat of enjoying the later in modest quantities.
Of course, government expenditure on infrastructural development such as ensuring that a network of good rural roads and communications links, clinics and police stations are in place for the comfort, safety and security of tourists should be integral to the plans.
For interviews please contact:
Ms Riefdah Ajam
FEDUSA General Secretary
079 696 2625
FEDUSA Media and Research Officer
072 637 8096