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Tourism Month launched in George

Minister of Finance and Economic Opportunities, Mireille Wenger, Minister of Mobility, Daylin Mitchell, Premier of the Western Cape, Alan Winde and the Mayor of George, Leon van Wyk, kicked off the start of Minister Wenger’s Tourism Month Tour in George, on the Garden Route.

Speaking at the first stop, Wonki Wear pottery, in George, Minister Wenger said: “I am thrilled to begin my tourism tour right here in George, on the Garden Route which is a popular stop for both local and international travellers, and I am looking forward to visiting other regions during the course of September.”

Wonki Wear pottery was started roughly 20 years and has grown in popularity, as more locals became interested in learning pottery and in the product.

Minister Wenger said: “The story of Wonki Wear is the story of so many of the wonderful tourism orientated businesses we have in the Western Cape. The tourism sector is an important contributor to our economy and creates many jobs. Wonki Wear, for example, produces roughly 3 000 pottery items per day and employs approximately 100 local people – a few have become world renowned potters.”

The next stop was Redberry farm, an agri-tourism business, which offers many different options for the family to enjoy, such as berry picking, a giant strawberry, and the biggest standing hedge maze in the southern hemisphere. Last year alone, the farm produced 500 tons of strawberries.

“Redberry farm is a truly impressive example of the berry industry, which is the single biggest employer in the region. But it also doubles as a tourist attraction, with around approximately 30% visitors coming from abroad. Like locals, they will take stories of their fantastic experiences back home and encourage others to visit our beautiful destination again”

“The story of local businesses like Wonki Ware and Redberry Farm should be the story for all entrepreneurial ventures in the Western Cape: one of being brave, taking initiative, tapping into unique ideas, and building your business up through a combination of hard work, resourcefulness, and passion,” said Premier Alan Winde.

He added: “Job creation is a core priority for the Western Cape Government. Wonki Ware alone employs dozens of locals and that must be lauded. As the business grows I hope it will offer even more employment opportunities to the community.”

While trying his hand at a bit of pottery at the Wonki Ware factory in George, the Premier praised the owners and staff for all they do in helping to “mold” job creation in the town. “This is exactly the kind of entrepreneurial spirit we as the Western Cape Government want to nurture in the province,” he added, “Where a pastime or hobby like pottery is transformed into a fully-fledged, thriving business which helps create employment.”

At Redberry Farm Premier Winde said: “I am immensely impressed at all that this one business offers to locals and tourists. There seems to be something for everyone who visits here.” The Premier encouraged other would-be entrepreneurs to consider basing their businesses in their passions. The Premier said: “Tourism is a major job creator in the Western Cape and we need to utilise the sector to its full potential.”

Leon Van Wyk, Executive Mayor of George Municipality said he was excited to be able to host the Premier and the Minister of Finance and Economic Opportunities and accompanied the team to the Wonki Factory and Redberry Farm.

Mayor Van Wyk said: “We believe that this will be a most interesting morning for our visitors from the Western Cape Government, we would certainly like to see many more tourists coming to visit George and explore the myriad tourism opportunities we have to offer within our municipal area.”

Minister Wenger concluded: “I encourage our residents to get out and explore our province this tourism month, as I will be doing in the coming month. Many tourism businesses will be offering specials to celebrate Tourism Month, and this is a great opportunity to support this industry which struggled so much during the pandemic.”