Homestays: Gem of Eastern Cape Tourism

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Thursday, 25th March 2021

Heavyweights in Government Tourism and Small Business Development met up recently with the local businesswomen of Kwam e-Makana Project at the 1820 Settlers Monument to launch a Basic Quality Verification programme to help boost township tourism.

The Basic Quality Verification programme is spearheaded by South African Tourism and the Tourism Grading Council of South Africa in an aim to provide accommodation products in rural areas and townships with credible quality assurance.

South Africa Tourism CEO Sisa Ntshona said that the Basic Quantity Verification programme is about encouraging small business that don’t necessarily meet the formal criteria of full grading to actually be part of Tourism and the launch signified how the Tourism industry is working toward an inclusive recovery.

“What we have picked up from research and everything else is that there is a big big need globally for authentic experiences in South Africa where one can get to immerse themselves in the culture, in the people and everything else,” Ntshona said. Therefore the Programme, according to Ntshona provided a framework to assistant people who welcome travellers or tourists into their own homes to make sure that the overall experience of both the travellers and host is enhanced.

Tourism Deputy Minister Fish Mahlalela said homestays that took up the quality grading schemes within the Programme would get access to expert advice, training and ongoing support from the Tourism Quality Assessors. “Quality Assessors will assess your business, expose you to different markets and advise you on how to make the most of your business."

“We can't expose you to the market if you do not have the necessary quality assurance,” he added.

According to Mahlalela, benefits for the Programme participants included:

· Improves your reputation as a credible business.

· Assures your customers that you can provide a quality experience.

· Increases repeat visits.

· Provides you competitive advantage because you are accredited.

· Government departments will now be able to consider using your services

  as you are graded and can provide quality assurance.

The Kwam e-Makana Project Chairperson Buyiswa Gora said their Project started with 55 homes in 2004. It was the brainchild of former Premier of the Eastern Cape Nosimo Balindlela. During 2004, Balindlela initiated the “800 room project” as an attempt on her part, to increase the tourism spend in disadvantaged areas by having Eastern Cape Government employees stay in designated houses when they travelled for business purposes.

At the launch, five homestay owners who completed the Basic Quality Verification assessment received certificates of compliance. The other homestay establishments are currently concluding assessments and the handover of certificates of compliance will follow, said Gora.

This launch forms part of a two day programme which took place in Makhanda and East London respectively. The two areas were selected to pilot the Basic Quality Verification programme.

This project highlights South Africa’s priority in service excellence to provide a quality experience to all tourists.

Take a look at what happended during the Basic Quality Verification programme launch by visiting the Makana Tourism Facebook Page.

Read more about homestay experiences.

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