The drive to develop rural tourism assets is a global move, as inclusive tourism economies are beneficial for both tourists and hosts. Through rural tourism, outlying communities are included in mainstream economies, tourists are afforded more authentic, nature-based experiences, and conservation becomes a central tenet. On the KZN South Coast, this welcome trend has unearthed unique tourism assets for potential investors.
Globally, the majority of the 1.8 billion live in rural areas of low and middle-income countries with these youth three times more likely to be unemployed than adults – as outlined by the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO). The result is forced migration to the cities, with local towns and villages dying out, while custom and heritage is lost.
“Rural tourism is a necessary solution to our growing youth unemployment, a way to retain local culture and traditions, and an important impetus for local conservation,” Phelisa Mangcu, CEO of South Coast Tourism & Investment Enterprise (SCTIE). “On the KZN South Coast, we are committed to developing rural tourism assets to enhance our tourism offering for global tourists, while supporting local communities.”
KwaXolo Caves Adventures
One of the prime examples of rural tourism offerings is KwaXolo Caves Adventures on the KZN South Coast. This is a unique adventure heritage tour that takes visitors into a series of caves which are adorned with San artwork dating back centuries. These are accessed using a via Ferrata system with a guided tour of the caves, and impressive views of the gorge and waterfall.
The success of this rural tourism experience has prompted its development, with Phase 3 of the project currently in the final stages. The construction of an extended 1.06km zipline and landing deck will significantly enhance the experience for those looking for adrenaline tourism. This presents significant investment potential for businesses to establish an on-site lodge for overnight stays, extended ziplining opportunities, transportation to and from the site, as well as recreational activities such as quad biking, paintball, and more.
Umzumbe River Trails
Hiking trails are an incredibly popular tourism attraction, and an area that was identified for development on the KZN South Coast. This prompted the establishment of the 71km Umzumbe River Trails, a guided hiking or biking trail through the hinterland offering participants a nature-based adventure alongside authentic Zulu experiences in homestays along the way. One notable investment opportunity is the establishment of a lodge alongside the dam which has been supported by a feasibility report issued by Umzumbe Town Planning. Potential also exists to develop recreational activities around the dam that extend the lodge offerings.
“As SCTIE, we will continue to engage with local communities, and traditional leaders to develop our rural tourism assets and uncover areas of further potential going forward,” concluded Mangcu.
To find out more about these and more investment opportunities, get in touch with SCTIE, the KZN South Coast’s One-Stop Shop for investment. Contact SCTIE on 039 682 7944, email [email protected] or visit www.investkznsouthcoast.co.za. To become a Buy Local member or find out more, visit the Buy Local tag at www.investkznsouthcoast.co.za or click here for a membership form.
Keep updated on Facebook; South Coast Tourism and Investment Enterprise on YouTube; @infosouthcoast on Twitter or Instagram; and South Coast Tourism and Investment Enterprise on LinkedIn. Follow the hashtags #uncover #uncoverkznsouthcoast #uncoverpotential #kznsouthcoast! And click here to check out previous SCTIE press releases.