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September 4, 2019
BKCOB | KOMANI UPDATE | Third Quarter
September 4, 2019

Women in Tourism | Eastern Cape Chapter – 1 Year in!

• By: Sandy Loppnow | ShowMe™ East London

It is hard to believe that it is already 12 months since Women in Tourism Eastern Cape held it’s official launch in August 2018, at a spectacular event hosted by the then interim Branch Committee of the WITEC East London Branch. The event was a vibrant and colourful event with over 100 women in the Tourism Industry as well as key Government Tourism Agencies in attendance. So 12 months down the line, where is the WITEC (Women in Tourism Eastern Cape Chapter) today?
Led by the dynamic Lizelle Maurice (Interim Chairperson WITEC), we are very pleased to say that the Eastern Cape Chapter is leading the Women in Tourism movement in South Africa, being the first to draft a constitution, set up branches, create a website and actively market and sign-up membership as well as start important programmes to benefit the women in the chapter.
This year also saw the launch of the pilot Mentorship Programme in the East London Branch, which is being run in partnership with the Eastern Cape Parks & Tourism Association (ECPTA). Mentoring and internships are two of the key priorities in up-skilling and developing our membership and thus our tourism offering.
The East London Branch has also held 6 networking sessions, each at different hospitality venues around the city, showcasing the venues and networking with members and potential members within the tourism industry space. These were well supported and hosts are benefiting from having had their venues showcased, by receiving over flow referrals from other WITEC member establishments.
In addition, this year also saw the formation of the WITEC Strategy, mapping the way forward in conjunction with our strategic partners; namely BCM Tourism, ECPTA and DEDEAT. Members were invited to an information session where they were addressed by Chief Director National Dept of Tourism, Maylene Broderick, who congratulated the WITEC Chapter on being the drivers of the WIT programme in the country, and shared the exciting news that the WIT Eastern Cape Chapter were in line to benefit from the UNWTO Women Empowerment In the Tourism Sector Programme. More details would be available after their conference in Ghana in November 2019.
The members also received information on key tourism incentives and opportunities from Monga Bacela (National Empowerment Fund) who presented on the Tourism Transformation Fund, as well as from Lourie Nel of the IDC who presented on the Green Tourism Incentive Programme. Siyabulela Lazarus from ECPTA presented on Commercialisation and Concessions in their Public Private Partnership Programme and last but certainly not least, Phindile Mavundla presented on the BCM Tourism Support and Capacity Building Programme. Members also got valuable information from Nokukhanya Mbonambi, Provincial Quality Assurance Specialist from the Tourism Grading Council.
In the evening after the strategy session, a regional networking event was held at Park Place Boutique Guesthouse to introduce the WITEC branch members to each other as well as all the tourism partners, creating a cohesive group of players, eager to make WITEC a leading driver in our provinces tourism.
Today, WITEC has 120 paid up members and has 6 Branches, namely East London (Buffalo City), Port Elizabeth (Nelson Mandela Bay), Mthatha (OR Thambo District), Queenstown (Chris Hani Municipal District), Aliwal North (Joe Gqabi District) and the Alfred Nzo District. Committees have been set up in the East London, Port Elizabeth and Mthatha Branches, with the rest to follow after their AGMs.
August is Women’s Month and this August we call all women operating within the tourism industry in the Eastern Cape, to join WITEC and become part of a dynamic group of women, eager to make meaningful changes to tourism in the Eastern Cape. It costs R500.00 per annum to become a member. To join, visit our website Membership page www.womenintourism-ec.co.za and sign up.