A two-day workshop to promote domestic tourism and empower emerging tour operators took place in February. Petrus van Niekerk, Manager Economic Development at the Knysna Municipality said an educational tour was organized, designed to impart knowledge through experience.
“A collaboration between the Knysna Economic Development Department, the Garden Route District Municipality and the Department of Tourism, almost 45 people attended the workshop where experts in a number of related fields shared and unpacked their knowledge.”
The first phase at the Royal Hotel on Day 1 was chaired by the Thulani Sibeko, the Director of National Department of Tourism. Sibeko highlighted the importance of tourism and said a tourism culture should be cultivated. “Domestic tourism is the backbone of any town’s economy and it is important to adopt a culture that not only invite visitors, but also encourages locals to explore their town.”
On the second day the group visited the Knysna Heads and learnt that the Knysna Estuary is the second largest in the country. The next stop was Judah Square, the largest Rastafarian community in the country. Brother Zeb an elder in the community welcomed the group with a song, ‘one love, one heart’ and the resident tour guide stepped in and took the group through their journey, their struggles and ultimately their triumphs.“
The final stop was MadAboutArt, an NGO in Dam-se-Bos that exists exclusively for children fighting HIV. Van Niekerk said they guide the children to change their narrative through art and education. “The NGO has the largest HIV/AIDS library and a soup kitchen that is a lifeline to many children frequenting the NGO.”
He thanked everyone for coming and said the workshop would not be possible without partnerships. “A special thanks also to Brenton Tours, MadAboutArt, Lithemba Art and Tours, Vuka Ukhanye Tours and Judah Square Rastafari for offering their services free, and Knysna Tourism for all their assistance.”
Whilst the verdict is still out on the origins of how the town was named Knysna one of the tour guides leading the party relayed a story to depict that it’s, ‘Nice here’ “Knys – na”, get it?