To grow the tourism pie and overcome obstacles to growth, operators with diverse offerings should work together to promote all tourism product owners and suppliers as a whole.
“If a guest wants to participate in an activity we don’t provide, we should say ‘it’s not a problem’, get on the phone and organise it with a service provider who does,” says Operations Manager of Heritage Tours and Safaris, Paul Kilham.
“Helping each other to help tourism as a whole is crucial – St Lucia would collapse without tourism as it’s vital to the employment in the area,” he adds,
One of the local tourism businesses Heritage Tours and Safaris works closely with is the Veyane Cultural Village, with Induna (headman) at Khula Village and Director of Veyane Cultural Village, Philip Mkhwanazi, highlighting that the village provides guests with an “authentic experience” of the Zulu culture.
Veyane Cultural Village was established in 2002 and won the National Lilizela Tourism Awards in 2017. “We are supporting seven different families with school uniforms every year. We teach the traditions of the Zulu culture in local schools,” said Mkhwanazi. “Seasonality has been an issue as it affects the payment of salaries.”
St Lucia is one of the settlements in Umkhanyakude District Municipality that offers a wide range of tourism activities.
The iSimangaliso Wetland Park was South Africa’s first World Heritage Site and includes Lake St. Lucia, which is home to huge pods of hippos. With a variety of ecosystems like swamps, beaches, wetlands and coastal forests, St Lucia provides a number of tourist activities.
From whale watching, hippo and crocodile tours to the very popular turtle tours, tourism in St Lucia has a large conservation angle offering not only traditional Big Five game drives but other once-in-a-lifetime experiences.
These include watching the resident turtles lay their eggs and, later, seeing the hatchlings make their way down to the water, according to Kilham, who says these are some of his company’s most popular tours.