The Deputy Minister of Tourism Tokozile Xasa today handed over a Tourism Visitors' Center, a project created to provide information to tourists in Middelburg.
"This Visitors' Information Centre will connect Middelburg to all Visitors' Information Centres in the country, as a way of attracting visitors to Mpumalanga in general, and Middelburg in particular", the Deputy Minister highlighted.
The project fits into the Department's Social Responsibility Implementation programme (Expanded Public Works Programme) objectives, having created temporary job opportunities and skills development through labor-intensive methods.
The job creation element of the project included upgrading of the Tourism Information Centre, and as a result, the renovations of the information centre created 49 jobs for the surrounding communities.
After the handing over of the visitors' centre, the Deputy Minister together with other local government leadership interacted with members of the Mhluzi community at the Themba Senamela stadium, as part of the National Imbizo Focus Week.
"The Imbizos give us an opportunity not only to create awareness on government programmes, but also to ensure that our people have access to all essential services offered to them. We are happy to have interacted with the community of Mhluzi, where the various issues such as unemployment and poverty were raised.
We are confident that as government, we will address these issues as a way of improving the lives of our people", said the Deputy Minister.
The Deputy Minister encouraged the youth to actively participate in the tourism programmes offered both by the local government in its various forms, as well as the National Department of Tourism, in order to help create a vibrant economy.
In his welcoming address the acting Mayor, as well as the MMC for Infrastructure Development of the Steve Tshwete Local Municipality Mayor Councillor Jonas Matshiane, lauded the importance of the launch of the centre as a major boost to the municipality's efforts in attracting investors to the municipal area.
"With Tourism being one of the sectors that are growing in leaps and bounds, we jointly embarked on initiatives that sought to create a tourism environment that would appeal to the needs of visitors from different cultural backgrounds", said acting Mayor Matshiane.
Addressing the masses gathered at the stadium the President of the Middelburg Chamber of Commerce, Advocate Mthokozisi Xulu, praised the launching of the centre as an opportunity to kick start a vibrant tourism industry for Previously Disadvantage Areas as well as Small, Micro and Medium Enterprises.
"The visitors' centre will help unlock the value chain of the tourism industry beyond just accommodation. It is strategically located as part of the South Africa/Maputo N4 Corridor and this will go a long way in demystifying tourism as a sector that our people cannot access", concluded Advocate Xulu.