Local tourism entrepreneurs created through training course
A group of six Georgians are being given the opportunity to become tourism entrepreneurs. A new accredited Site
Guide Training Course was recently rolled out under the banner of the George Municipality. According to Melanie Martins, coordinator of the project, the graduates will work closely with the local tourism offices and accommodation providers to guide tourists and introduce them to all community activities and sites in the George area. A site guide can be defined as a person who is trained by an accredited institute on a specific site to guide visitors in a language they can understand and who then interprets the cultural and natural heritage of that site they visit.
The success of this training will allow community tourism to be marketed more aggressively to local and international markets.
Mart van der Walt, the training facilitator of Drum Beat Academy, says the company is a specialist in the hospitality and tourism training industry with offices all over the country. They are now in the Garden Route to offer world-class training.
Van der Walt, who has been a lecturer for more than 12 years and is a national and international tour guide, brings a lot of experience to her training.
"Our training is very hands-on, fun and practical," she said.
The academy offers a variety of courses and has been operating for more than 17 years. It is registered and accredited with Cathsseta (Culture, Arts, Tourism, Hospitality and Sport Sector, Education and Training Authority).
The presence of a site guide gives tourists the assurance that they can enjoy their visit in a foreign country or town and they will experience so much more than travelling on their own. Martins says all marketing and community tourism projects are directed to increase visitor numbers to George. The tourism section initiated a community tourism project named "Dine with a Local" in Pacaltsdorp and Thembalethu. It aims to attract visitors to local areas that were previously not part of the mainstream tourism activities in George.
Community tourism activities and attractions rely on well-informed, accredited local site guides to take tourists on community tourism routes.
Iona Kritzinger, portfolio councillor for Planning, came to meet the group that started on the Culture Site Guide training. Back, from left are: Sebastian Pieterse, Mzwandile Gingcana and Werdi Alaart (trainees), Kritzinger, Neil Carelse (trainee), Melanie Martins (tourism coordinator) and Mart van der Walt (training facilitator of Drum Beat Academy). Front: Desmond Jandyck and Melissa Treurnicht (trainees).
Dawid van der Vyver met sy vlieglisensie wat hy onlangs verwerf het. Foto: Eugene Gunning