The Cradle Tourism Company (TCTC), an independent non-profit company to help drive tourism in this highly acclaimed tourism hotspot was officially launched today, Thursday 31 March 2016.
Under the guidance of Chairman Gilbert Hickman, as well as a strong Board of tourism representatives from the region, the TCTC will promote tourism leadership excellence and be actively involved in visitor destination marketing and management excellence for the area.
Hickman, TCTC Chairman, says the TCTC creates an exciting opportunity to create stronger brand awareness for the area and diminish any brand confusion amongst visitors who perceive the broader Cradle of Humankind destination as being only it’s visitor centre, Maropeng. “Not only can we support the various hospitality properties in the area but we can provide a vital role in supplying visitor information.”
“This has always been a very close community and we will endeavour to encompass all stakeholders so that it is a win-win situation for the area. We would like to ensure that local businesses are viewed as preferred suppliers and work with the Cradle of Humankind Management Authority and it’s supporting sister agency, the Gauteng Tourism Authority, to not only offer mentorship and training programmes for the disadvantaged communities in the area, but also to see how these groups can be integrated into the mainstream tourism economy for this World Heritage Site and surrounds,” he says.
Hickman says stakeholders will all be a ‘Proudly COHLTA (Cradle of Humankind Local Tourism Association) member. Speaking at the launch attended by a number of high profile property and tourism owners in the area, industry role-players and local media, Hickman said the new TCTC will be an assurance to visitors that anyone carrying the stamp will have passed certain quality criteria. All COHLTA members will undergo a Quality Assurance Assessment, to ensure they offer an experience befitting of a World Heritage Site.
Visitors will have a central portal on the website www.thecradleofhumankind.net to easily source tourism information on allocated experiences ranging from Adrenalin pumping (Adventure), Craft and culture, Meet & Greet (Conferencing, Meetings and Events), Spend the Night, Stones and Bones (Human Origins and the Evolution of Humankind), Wedding Bells, Wildlife Wonders, and Wine and Dine, etc. “It has been segmented according to interest with direct links to the various properties. We will in time offer an online booking option and we already offer an easily downloadable App.”
The TCTC is currently financially supported by the Gauteng Provincial Government (i.e. the Cradle of Humankind Management Authority). The end objective post government’s seed-funding is to make it a privately-run and funded association with some level of accountability to government, the custodians of the World Heritage Site and the Brand. Melanie Muraour, membership co-ordinator for the TCTC, says the response to date has been very positive with a number of high flagship offerings already on board including Guvon Hotels, Bush Willow Tented Camp, Valverde Country Hotel, The West Rand Chamber of Business and Tourism Tourist Information, Silverbush Farm, Riverstone Lodge, Alpha Conference Centre and De Hoek Country House to name just a few.
Adrian Amod, Director, Brand Management for the Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site, as well as a member of the Muldersdrift Communication Action Group (MCAG), says he welcomes the launch of the LTA. “This area has incredible tourism potential, not only because of its World Heritage status, but also because of the diversity of the tourism offering. There are approximately 400 plus competing tourism options offering an array of diverse experiences. It is in fact one of the fastest growing tourism hubs in Gauteng and with the launch of the long-awaited TCTC, the Cradle of Humankind Visitor Centre, Maropeng, and the broader area is bracing itself to host increased numbers of international and domestic visitor from all walks of life. We believe the TCTC will assist in spearheading this growth even further.”