Milestone achievement for N3 Gateway
The month of March has been a particularly exciting one for the N3 Gateway Tourism Association. Over and above this month being the first anniversary of its establishment, of particular importance was the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding with Open Africa for the N3 Gateway to become part of the Open Africa network of 56 Routes throughout Africa.
This is a milestone achievement for the N3 Gateway Tourism Association’s members. Open Africa will be assisting with the development of a N3 Gateway webpage on its website, with direct links or pages to the N3 Gateway members.
“This means that the N3 Gateway members will be marketed nationally and internationally through the Open Africa system,” commented Laurence Fenner, N3 Gateway Project Manager.
Furthermore, Open Africa has agreed to assist the N3 Gateway Tourism Association with applications for funding to get Gateway members listed on the Open Africa website (www.openafrica.org), which is crucial to the ongoing success of the Project. Currently the N3 Gateway is solely funded by N3 Toll Concession, a member of the Association and founder of the Project.
In the past year, the N3 Gateway committee has been successful in establishing it as a Section 21 Company, and has Tourism Associations, routes and meanders, as well as Co-Operatives as its members, representing some 2000 stakeholders.
Current members include the likes of: Grasslands Tourism Association; Tourism Van Reenen Primary Co-Operative; Emnambithi/Ladysmith Municipality; Bushmans River Tourism Association; Mooi River Tourism; Nottingham Road Tourism; Midlands Meander Association; uMngeni Footprint Route/Howick Tourism; and N3 Toll Concession. Registration of members is an ongoing process and if any tourism associations, meanders, routes or municipalities within the N3 Gateway region are interested in becoming a member they can contact Laurence Fenner on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Fenner elaborated on some of the N3 Gateway’s recent achievements.
“The committee is extremely excited, as we have been successful in securing a stand at Indaba 2009 in Durban. This is no easy feat as there are hundreds of potential exhibitors on the waiting list and they are extremely strict with the type of exhibitor that is permitted at Indaba,” said Fenner.
Indaba 2009 will mark the official launch of the N3 Gateway where the committee will intentionally interact with Provincial and National Tourism Officials, tourism bodies and the media.
In preparation for Indaba 2009, N3 Gateway Tourism Packages have been put together for the different areas and these will be used to market the N3 Gateway region. In addition, the N3 Gateway committee will make these packages available to the N3 Gateway Tourism nodes for further marketing purposes.
Equally exciting is the establishment of Tourism Nodes along the N3 Gateway Route. While this is an ongoing process to ensure that the N3 Gateway has full representation throughout the region, the following nodes are already operational:
- Makiti – Roadside/Reitz interchange, just off the N3;
- N3TC/N3 Gateway Route Help Centre at the Bergview Complex in Harrismith;
- Montrose Tourism Info Centre;
- African Spirit Old Station in Estcourt;
- Dragons Cave on the R74 between Bergville and Winterton;
- Woza Woza uMngeni Tourism Office; and
- Zulu Mpophomeni Tourism Experience Info Office.
“We have been working with Mooi River Tourism Association and the Mooi River/Mpofana Municipality to establish an N3 Gateway Node at the Woza Woza Info centre which is situated next to the Mooi River Toll Plaza,” continued Fenner.
The N3 Gateway is also in negotiations with Midlands Meander Association, Howick Tourism Association and the uMngeni Municipality to share their Tourism Node at Howick Falls.
A N3 Gateway wall map has been developed and printed by Map Studio and will be distributed to the Tourism Nodes only, for the purpose of directing tourists to the various N3 Gateway members’ areas. A directory of all N3 Gateway members will also be produced in the future, which will complement the Route Map and provide further benefits for N3 Gateway Members.
Furthermore, the Community Tourism Developments Projects all along the N3 Gateway are starting to benefit through the cross marketing efforts of the N3 Gateway.
For example, the Shembe Church beading group at Zulu Mpophomeni Experience near Howick is unable to market its wares as they are too remotely situated for Tourists to find. Now like all communities in the N3 Gateway region they will be able to sell their goods at the Tourism Nodes and craft shops along the N3 Gateway, this in turn will help these communities become self sustainable.
“All these successes are due to the cross marketing activities taking place amongst the N3 Gateway members. We envisage that this will grow substantially in the future and that the benefits will be far reaching throughout the N3 Gateway region,” concluded Fenner.