Experience The Essence Of Ekasi
TAKING TOWNSHIP TOURISM TO THE NEXT LEVEL, WITH PHILIP SITHOLE
The city of Durban has implemented a very active programme aimed at attracting tourists to explore local communities brimming with rich culture and history. The marketing team at Durban Tourism believes that an influx of tourists to these areas will not only empower communities by way of economic benefits, but will create a platform to share our fascinating cultural heritage globally.
Nelson Mandela cast the very first democratic vote in our first-ever democratic elections, in a suburb called Inanda. In this very suburb, Mahatma Gandhi developed his ideas of non-violent resistance philosophies now known across the globe. Such stories deserve to be shared with the world. Research indicates that tourists are now seeking experiences, as opposed to merely sight-seeing, making Township Tourism a perfect option
-Philip Sithole, Head: Durban Tourism.
Q | What is your vision for Township Tourism?
A | Our vision for Township Tourism is tourism-led economic development, in the historically disadvantaged areas of eThekwini, which include the Inanda, Umlaziand Clermont townships.
Q | When was your vision for Township Tourism born?
A | In the past much focus was placed on marketing Durbans climate and beaches. Then,in the late 1990s, in an effort to spread tourism to other areas, the Inanda Heritage Route was conceptualised. The initiative succeeded in drawing visitors to the destination, to explore its rich attributes: our political history, culture &religion, natural environment and contemporary lifestyle. This success story has inspired eThekwini Municipality to diversify its tourism product offering to include other surroundingtownships such as Umlazi and Clermont.
Q | Mention some of the benefits of Township Tourism?
A | Townships have become sprawling and vibrant neighbours, birthplace of an exciting new urban-African culture. Township Tourism creates economic opportunities for locals, with income generation and job creation within an industry that is largely labour intensive, thus employing a wide variety of skills. Tourism benefits have a positive multiplier effect to other sub-sectors and related industries like,transport, retail, services, food and beverages.
Q | Name some of the townships in Durban that are already experiencing an influx of tourists.
A | Statistics have shown steady growth in the number of tourists visiting Inanda, Ntuzuma,KwaMashu (INK), Umlazi & Clermont.
Q | What are some of the attractions a tourist can expect to see and experience during a typical township visit?
A | Historic & Heritage Sites, e.g. Gandhi Settlement, JL Dube & Inanda Seminary at Inanda; Cultural & Religion, e.g. Shembe Religion at Inanda; Adventure, e.g. UmzinyathiFalls & Inanda Dam; contemporary lifestyle, e.g.Maxs Lifestyle at Umlazi; Zazi Street lifestyle at Clermont; Cultural Events, etc.
Q | How are communities being groomed to become tourism ambassadors within their local communities?
A | Tourism Awareness Programmes are conducted in the form of workshops, seminary,cultural events, etc.
Q | What training and mentorship programmes exist that can equip local entrepreneurs operating within the townships, with the necessary skills to take advantage of this new brand of tourism.
A | Product Development Skills to meet the required quality standards; Hospitality Business Development Skills; Business & Financial Management Skills; Marketing Skills; Customer Care; Tour Guide Training, etc.
Q | Whilst hosting various international delegations in Durban, you have treated them to a township experience. Name some of these delegations, what was thenature of their visit, and what was their feedback?
A | US Civil Fighters, e.g. Jesse Jackson,Andrew Young; Uma Johnson; USA Consulate& delegation; Statesmen e.g. Kenneth Kaunda former Zambian State President; President of India and many others, have visited the townships and have all marvelled the richness of political history & culture found in townships. Some international students, e.g. from Germany have spent months in the townships for their exchange programmes, etc. and have been impressed about the warmness of the people.
Q | Tell us more about the Know Your City campaign, and how is DurbanTourism involved?
A | In addition, the City has embarked on a Social Tourism Programmes which targets different groups to create awareness about heritage sites that are situated in Townships,e.g. Senior Citizens, People with Disabilities;Stokvel Groups, Religious Groups, etc.