The Department of Tourism in the North West Province prides itself during this women’s month with the progress attained thus far in the development of women and the industry at large.
Of the many Tourism programmes such as the Tourist Guide and the Incubator programs driven by either the provincial or national offices. The department has always encouraged women to partake in such and the results are beginning to be yielded.
One of the benefited to such programs is Refilwe Tladi (31) who wears many hats. By day she is a tour operator ferrying tourists to various destinations and by night she is a mother, wife, fitness fanatic and manages a car wash business.
Her undying passion for the tourism industry and valuable experience gained from her early childhood days has shaped her into the industry guru that she is today. She started her own business tour operators company in 2015, Thallera Tours based in Rustenburg, the company provides a variety of tour experiences along some of the most finest and fascinating destination routes in and outside the North West Province.
In 2016 she joined the National Department of Tourism’s Pilanesburg Incubation Programme. This programme is a government initiative that provides a variety of business skills including assistance in access to markets, financial management and networking. “The incubation Programme has taken part in my business growth and the growth of my brand, a lot of opportunities were presented to me including amongst others the trainings and workshops I have attended to learn more about Tourism trades, marketing, costing, market access and customer care as well as attend the Tourism Trade show such as Asia and Malawi where I showcased my brand and business offerings in South Africa especially the North West Province” Tladi said.
The success of Thallera Tours is also for the benefit of local communities through auxiliary projects that the business is involved in. “As one of the Tourism Friendly Ambassadors we also sponsor the Mrs Africa Pageants, my company got the opportunity to drive the finalists and take them on Tours in the province. The Tourism Friendly brand and the Mrs Africa pageants are involved in many charity works in communities along the Hartbeespoort Area where they supply sanitary towels to girls, sports equipment to schools, food and toys for children”, added Tladi.
In the pursuit of steering tourism growth in the province Tladi also works hand in hand with establishments, product owners and many other key stakeholders. “Under the recently established and registered Tourism Organisation in the Bojanala District called Bojanala Platinum Tourism Organisation (BPTO) we work with Tourism products from accommodation, adventure, arts/crafts, safari, transport and events as well as share best practices, said Tladi.
Even though establishing a viable business in a competitive industry and one that is seen to be male dominated may have its challenges, Tladi says she strongly believes in women encouraging each other in the pursuit of economic emancipation. “Since the National Department of Tourism came up with the initiative to form Chapters in provinces for Women In Tourism we have seen women being on the forefront and taking charge. There is no doubt that this is going to play a huge role in the economic development and growth,” she said.
Tladi’s sentiments were further echoed by MEC for Tourism in the North West Desbo Mohono. According to Mohono women should take advantage of such programmes and many others that will create a network of business operations that will ultimately contribute immensely to the economy of the province. “The business incubator model is a vibrant tool for nurturing innovative ventures regarding economic development and job creation as critical components of entrepreneurial infrastructure. It is going to assist growth of emerging and small start-up business enterprises into financially and operationally independent business ultimately and we would encourage women to take full advantage of these programmes and many other such as the Women In Tourism Chapters that is a support structure for especially new entrants into the market,” said the MEC.