Wildlife Resorts empowers disadvantaged women in tourism
Five young disadvantaged women from the /Ai-/Ais Richtersveld Transfrontier Park (ARTP) recently graduated from the SA College for Tourism (SACT) in Graff Reinet town in South Africa with certificates in hospitality.
The women are mainly from vulnerable groups within the Park and were selected as part of a development programme in Southern Namibia and Northern South Africa, based on the mandate that Namibia Wildlife Resorts (NWR) received from the two Transfrontier Conservation Area (TFCA) partner countries to develop tourism in the region.
The programme aims to empower marginalised women with the necessary skill sets to operate within the hospitality industry.
Zelna Hengari, NWR’s Managing Director said, “as NWR, we embraced this mandate and as a result, have overseen the development of tourism products such as the Desert Knights Mountain Bike Tour Challenge and the Desert Kayak Trails which are all within the ARTP.”
“We aim to employ them to provide a platform where they can showcase their newly acquired skills”. At the same time, I am pleased that two of the graduates were privileged to receive internships for further training at the five star Drostdy Hotel in Graaff Reinet,” she added.
During the ceremony, past graduates from SACT, Tshepiso Thelingoane and Innocent Ngwenya presented the Keynote Address, providing personal stories of how the training at SACT has had an impact on their career development. Award certificates were presented by Her Royal Highness Princess Irene of the Netherlands, carrying forth the legacy of her father, Prince Bernard of the Netherlands, one of the Founders of the Peace Parks Foundation.
Knowing the importance of training within the tourism sector, SACT has also established a Tracker Academy aimed at providing an opportunity to young men to receive training on the art of tracking. During the ceremony, 24 young men graduated as Trackers, who will then be placed within the tourism industry for internships.
Since tourism contributes significantly to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of Namibia and South Africa, the work that SACT instils goes hand in hand with the philosophy that Dr Anton Rupert believed in when he founded the Peace Parks Foundation together with Nelson Mandela and Prince Bernard of the Netherlands.
He believed in conserving crucial landscapes which surpass international boundaries and training people to manage these areas, from a conservation and tourism perspective to stimulating economic growth through eco-tourism within these areas.