Kouga Municipality Celebrates and supports women in tourism

07 Sep 2023

Kouga Municipality proudly participated in and supported the Women in Tourism event held on 29 August 2023, at the Rainbow Skills Development Centre in Humansdorp.

The event, hosted by St Francis Tourism, gathered a diverse and enthusiastic group of women from the tourism industry to celebrate and empower women's roles in shaping the future of tourism. 

The event began with a warm welcome from St Francis Tourism Office Manager, Hantie van der Westhuizen, who set the tone for a day of inspiration and connection.

The attendees were privileged to explore the remarkable facilities of the Rainbow Skills Development Centre, including the “stroopwafel” factory – a school dedicated to learners with mental and physical disabilities – a thriving vegetable garden, and an exquisite function venue.

Notably, the centre's commitment to self-sustainability was showcased through the culinary experience provided, as they treated guests to a delectable three-course meal prepared using locally sourced ingredients, many of which were harvested from their own garden. 

One of the highlights of the event was the insightful presentation by Mandisa Magwaxaza, Co-Vice Chairperson of the Southern Africa Tourism Services Association (SATSA). Magwaxaza's empowering words resonated with the audience as she emphasized the pivotal role women play as nurturers within our communities. Her message revolved around the theme of resilience, inspiring attendees with the notion that resilience is not about resisting change, but rather about creatively redefining and refining one's vision. 

Kouga Finance and Economic Development Portfolio Councillor, Lorraine Maree, delivered an inspiring speech that aligned with the event's emphasis on community, connection, culture, and conservation.

She reiterated the municipality's commitment to tourism and its vision of ensuring that the desires and aspirations of the local community are integrated into the tourism experience. Maree highlighted the evolving trends in tourism, where visitors seek to leave a lasting, positive impact on the destinations they visit. 

Dr Jennifer Minaar, a dedicated General Practitioner based in St Francis Bay, shared her expertise in women's health. Her presentation delved into a holistic bio-psycho-social approach to well-being, shedding light on the complex relationship between estrogen and women's health. 

Heidi Muller, CEO of Adventure Racing World Series and owner of Expedition Africa, concluded the event with an exciting announcement. She said that the Adventure Racing World Championships are scheduled to take place in Kouga in October 2023. This global event is not only a testament to the region's natural beauty and rugged terrain but also an incredible boost to the local economy and tourism sector. 

The Women in Tourism event at Rainbow Skills Development Centre provided a platform for women to connect, inspire, and be inspired. 

"Tourism is more than an industry, it is a bridge that connects cultures, strengthens communities, and uplifts economies,” said Kouga Executive Mayor, Hattingh Bornman.

“Kouga Municipality is dedicated to nurturing tourism that respects our heritage and enriches the lives of both residents and visitors."

The municipality remains committed to fostering an environment that recognises and celebrates the vital contributions of women in shaping the tourism industry's future.