President of the IIPT Mr. Louis D’Amore recently visited Knysna, South Africa, and presented an information session to members of Knysna Tourism. His visit has resulted in several important tourism initiatives. Knysna Tourism Development Manager Glendyrr Fick has identified and developed a number of projects in Knysna, which, together with IIPT, has the potential to be implemented throughout the African continent as well as other regions of the world.
One of the projects that Fick is most excited about is the Green Chefs initiative. This community tourism chef’s training program is designed to add value to nature-based experiences presented at all nature reserves and national parks in Africa and, eventually, across the globe.
Members from the community are trained as chefs and given the knowledge, skills, and tools to not only cook delicious and nutritious meals according to traditional recipes, but to grow and cultivate their own ingredients. This empowerment program will enhance nature-based experiences by including a traditional meal, storytelling, and interaction with locals, thereby creating a holistic offering for travelers.
This creates a sense of pride in the Green Chef about his/her heritage and culture, which in turn creates a sense of pride of local heritage in the host community.
Fick envisions an international Green Chefs’ network of empowered individuals who will take their knowledge back to their communities. Many people in local communities earn an income from catering, and they cook for their families on a daily basis. By investing in a project of this nature, we improve these skills and encourage entrepreneurship.
Through creating awareness of culinary traditions, light will be shed on other aspects of cultural heritage, as well as how it may be promoted and preserved. This project may also foster stronger relationships between local communities, their environment, nature reserves, national parks, and destination marketing organizations.
And, of course, every tourism experience becomes more special when you are being nurtured with a wholesome plate of delicious, home-cooked food, served with an inspiring message.
TRADITIONAL METHODS OF CONFLICT RESOLUTION AND RECONCILIATION
A collaborative research project will be organized involving several African universities in identifying traditional methods of conflict resolution and reconciliation among Indigenous peoples of Africa.
AFRICAN DIASPORA HERITAGE TRAIL
Knysna Tourism will identify a trail within the region with the potential to be part of the African Diaspora Heritage Trail (ADHT) - a project launched in 2002 by the Hon. David Allen, then Minister of Tourism, Bermuda. The ADHT links historical sites related to the African Diaspora throughout the world with links back to Mother Africa.
KNYSNA TO BE AFRICA’S FIRST PEACE TOWN
Knysna Tourism CEO Shaun van Eck took the opportunity during Mr. D’Amore’s information session to request that Knysna become a “Town of Peace” following on the initiative of Pattaya, Thailand, which was declared a “City of Peace” as a legacy of IIPT’s Third Global Summit that was held in Pattaya in 2005.
This suggestion was welcomed by all concerned, as Knysna is home to the world famous Judah Square Rastafarian community, owns the Knysna Tourism Living Local brand, and has embraced the philosophy of Naturally Knysna – an initiative that asks us to exist as a natural system. Becoming the first Peace Town in Africa is simply the next step on the ladder of evolution.
PLEDGE NATURE RESERVE TO BE DECLARED AN IIPT PEACE PARK
Pledge Nature Reserve has been taken from being a waste dumping site to a beautiful park filled with indigenous plants. This urban forest offers amazing views of the famous Knysna estuary, town, and even the Knysna Heads, and is a haven for birdwatchers as the indigenous trees attract a variety of birds – including the elusive Knysna Loerie. IIPT has indicated that it would like to establish Pledge Nature Reserve as a Peace Park, thereby elevating the reserve’s status on a national level, creating various entrepreneurial opportunities for local residents and providing the beautiful town with another tourism attraction.
Fick concluded by saying how honored she was to collaborate with IIPT on these amazing projects. “It is great to rub shoulders with individuals like Louis D’Amore, but even better to look forward to a working relationship between Knysna Tourism and the IIPT. I believe that together we can accomplish great things and promote peace through tourism.”
Louis D’Amore stated: “The trip to Knysna and the Garden route of South Africa was a most memorable experience. I am most grateful to Glendyrr Fick, Shawn van Eck, and other members of Knsyna Tourism for their warm welcome and hospitality and look forward to our further collaboration on the above projects and more.”