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Vaal River recovery plan could facilitate sustainable tourism

 

Last week during her visit to various tourism resorts in Parys and surrounding areas, the Minister of Tourism, Patricia de Lille, undertook to drive a sustainable recovery plan for tourism.

It comes in response to the severe damage that recent floods caused to resorts on the banks of the Vaal River.

She visited the area on invitation of the FF Plus. During her on-site visits to various resorts, the Minister observed the enormous damage to the resorts first-hand.

The Minister was informed not only of the physical, observable damage, but also of the negative ripple effect it has had on job creation and the local economies in the affected areas stretching from Gauteng to the Northern Cape.

Communities on the Vaal River are predominantly dependent on tourism and agricultural activities for economic survival.

The FF Plus also facilitated a meeting between the affected interest groups and the Minister during her visit.

During the meeting, the various parties agreed to, firstly, compile a practical recovery plan to be implemented as soon as possible. The respective interest groups will collaborate to do strategic planning for the implementation of the "Vaal River Recovery Plan".

The plan will be submitted to the ministry early in July during a follow-up meeting to be held in Bloemhof in the North West.

The main aim of the plan is to provide relief to tourism businesses that suffered damage to, among other things, limit job losses and to develop a blueprint for the sustainable recovery of the tourism sector on the banks of the Vaal River.

The Minister undertook to approach the newly appointed Minister of Electricity, Sputla Ramokgopa, to possibly negotiate some leniency for the affected tourism businesses, allowing them to pay lower utility fees to Eskom for a limited period of time until they are once again able to generate revenue.

The FF Plus welcomes Minister De Lille's practical approach and willingness to cooperate with local interest groups to address the current crisis as well as to bring about sustainable development in the tourism sector.

The FF Plus will continue to make constructive contributions to protect and develop the tourism sector to ensure that the sector's full potential is unlocked for the country's benefit.

 

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