Neighbours join hands

A deal has finally been sealed between the Northern Cape Tourism Authority (NCTA) and the Free State Gambling, Liquor and Tourism Authority (FSGLTA) to strengthen their brands and increase visitor numbers to both provinces.

The ceremony took place at the McGregor Museum in Kimberley on Wednesday (01/08).

The signing is regarded as having formali­sed the working relationship between the two agencies, which has been ongoing for ten years.

This is the second memorandum of its kind signed by the Northern Cape, following the first one signed with the Western Cape earlier this year.

Kenny Dichabe, chief executive officer (CEO) of the FSGLTA, said the signing of the memorandum was to ensure that whatever they agree on could be implemented.

It is meant to take what­ever opportunities the two provinces have to offer, and package it in such a way that it benefits both in terms of diversifying.

“In this regard, the tourism experience will be the highlight,” Dichabe said.

“It is important that, when signing an agreement, the groundwork is already completed – to make sure that the progress made is not limited to signing, but that there is also action.

“We took a while to sign the memorandum, but we were working behind the scenes to make sure that we would be able to implement whatever we put on paper,” he explained.

Dichabe emphasised that the signing of the memorandum could not have come at a better time, as tourism had never been declared as a key issue by the national strategy before.

Sharon Lewis, CEO of the NCTA, said the memorandum enabled a whole new understanding of what South Africa was all about,by allowing both parties to understand more about each other’s culture.

“There are so many things to learn about in the Free State, like bringing a holistic experience to the cultural villages,” Lewis said.

“This adds to being able to extend the package of the Northern Cape into the Free State, and vice versa, so we can keep visitors within our borders longer, to increase the economic impact,” she elaborated.

The signing of the memorandum was lauded for its potential to enable the two government agencies to develop their strategic plan, as well as the annual performance plan.