The Waterberg is one of South Africa’s hidden gems, offering a large variety of activities, attractions, natural splendour, great services and accommodation. For the last few years, the area has seen a slow rise in tourism. Despite being close to the major economic hub of Gauteng, it has yet to achieve the visitor numbers of other rural destinations like the Natal Midlands and the Garden Route.
Tourism is one of the biggest employers in the area and has the potential to stimulate the local economy in a very promising way. A growth in tourism will see a ripple effect in the establishment and growth of supporting services and infrastructures, to the benefit of all the communities in our area.
For this reason, it was decided to restart active destination marketing efforts in the Waterberg area, through the establishment of Waterberg Tourism NPC. Waterberg Tourism has been registered as a non-profit corporation for the inclusion of all stakeholders, and to encourage local communities to take ownership of the initiative for the benefit of the entire area.
Waterberg Tourism is completely non-profit, seeking only to serve its members by competitively marketing the Waterberg area as an outstanding tourism destination, to local and international tourists. It has been started by the local community and will be managed for the benefit of the community by community members. It will enhance the economic prosperity of the area and allow members to benefit from marketing that gives them easier access to economic value created by tourism developments in the area.
It is the vision of Waterberg Tourism that by marketing tourism to the area, we will be investing in the economic and environmental future of the area. Competitively marketing the Waterberg will help establish sustainable economic health and development, create more jobs, resulting in improved training and capacity building, and thus leading to a stable, and sustainable local economy. By marketing the area as a tourism destination, Waterberg Tourism will also be working towards conservation efforts of our precious natural resources by contributing to their viability and increased public awareness.
- Creating awareness of the Waterberg as an ideal weekend break-away destination for local markets (especially those in Gauteng and Polokwane), and stimulating increased visitation to the area from these markets;
- Expanding existing tourism and supporting industries (like agriculture, the production of consumable goods and so on);
- Creating new tourism opportunities in trending markets and activities (niche markets like adventure tourism and art and culture);
- Encouraging skills development and training (which in turns contributes to the overall economic landscape by growing existing businesses and the establishment of new businesses);
- Sharing ideas and information amongst members to support, develop and market tourism initiatives in the area; and
- Partnering and establishing new relationships with influential local, regional, national and international businesses, organisations and associations to promote the Waterberg.
In achieving these goals, there will be several other positive ramifications within the broader community, like the building of better and new internal relationships between various stakeholders, thereby building a better community spirit and internal co-operation (which in turn creates other additional social benefits); as well as fostering environmental conservation and stimulating education and awareness of environmental issues in the area.