North West Tourism on Rustenburg Adventure Tourism and Accommodation programme

Promotion of event tourism for economic upswing

Tourism establishments in the Bojanala District stand to benefit from the Magaliesberg Biosphere- Sunrise to Sunset 100km Walk. The event is an all- female, four day excursion on foot, through the mountainous are of Magaliesberg. The Rustenburg Adventure Tourism and Accommodation (RATA) flagship programme, which is supported by the North West Department of Tourism, was established three years ago. In essence, it seeks to endorse tourist attractions, promote adventure tourism and as a result increase economic activity and its impact in the North West Province.

The Provincial Department of Tourism has demonstrated support for the cause by enrolling its employees as participants in the walk. According to the Head of Department Adv. Neo Sephoti the patronage is in line with the department’s constitutional mandate to develop tourism in the province. This is one of the projects in 2019 that we as a department decided to be part of and therefore enrolling 12 female staff as participants. It is a great partnership, one that we remain hopeful of its sustainability and would encourage other departments, organisations and companies to get involved in, so that its reach expands and the benefits increase.

The department envisaged to partner with Tourism Associations around the Province, in a quest to amplify, advertise and market Tourism Products and events that they have, the Sunrise to Sunset Walk fits perfectly with part of what we wanted to achieve, said Adv. Sephoti.

Spokesperson for the North West Department of Tourism Dineo Lolokwane, who was part of the four day experience says, event tourism plays a catalyst role in tourism growth and development, this will also amongst other things yield to infrastructural development, which will ultimately benefit local communities. The North West Provincial Tourism Events Strategy puts great emphasis on event tourism as it is one of the key drivers of economic growth. The stimulation of event tourism coupled with long term commitment is needed to ensure increased exposure of tourism offerings and return visitations. The Sunrise to Sunset 100km Walk is testament to that, as we saw people from other provinces and internationals such as Ms Hilary Douglas from France, said Lolokwane.

Notably, not only does the event market tourism products but through the enrollment of participants it generates money that will go towards a number of development projects. Co- owner of Ons Dorphuis Guest House and member of RATA- Alna van der Walt, says growing and giving back to society is key to their organization.

RATA has been in existence for more than 18 years, and is passionate about growing and giving back. Therefore, funds raised through this event will be channeled to our non- profit company to plow back and ignite the sector.

We will focus on empowering upcoming Tourism businesses, run collaborative marketing associations, create information signs such as road and route markings as well as support different charities in the community, said van der Walt.

One of the participants from the Department, Sera Theko who is the Assistant Manager of the Tourism Industry Performance division, says being part of the walk was a great experience for her.

I think overall this is a good marketing strategy because it brought extensive experience on the beautiful rich scenery of Magaliesberg to the participants who will go back and encourage more people to visit, she said.

Source: Government of South Africa