Tourism in George is on the move with a new accredited Site Guide Training Course that was rolled out by giving six Georgians the opportunity to become tourism entrepreneurs.
According to Ms 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. Ms Mart van der Walt, the Training Facilitator from 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 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 give tourists the assurance that they can enjoy their visit in a foreign country or town and they will experience so much more than traveling on their own.
Martins says all marketing and community tourism projects are directed to increase the visitor’s 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 areas where local areas were previously not part of the mainstream tourism activities in George.
These community tourism activities and attractions rely on well informed, accredited local site guides to take tourists on community tourism routes.
Caption: Cllr Iona Kritzinger, Portfolio Councillor for Planning, including Tourism, came to meet the group that started with the Culture Site guide training. From left are trainees, Sebastian Pieterse, Mzwandile Gingcana, Werdi Alaart, Cllr Kritzinger, Neil Carelse, Melanie Martins (Tourism Coordinator), Mart van der Walt (Training Facilitator from Drum Beat Academy).