TAHS-SA to grow rural communities by inviting tourists into their homes

Traditional African HomeStays-SA (TAHS-SA) co-founder Cameron Murray said with their initiative, local communities incorporate tourists in their day-to-day lives and homes for a unique experience.

Murray said in this instance the tourists share everything with the community that relates to their day-to-day living, including food and other experiences. “In 2016 we came up with the concept to include local communities in tourism. We had to find a local chief who set up the meeting in Makhushu village in Nzhelele in the Vhembe district. We presented our TAHS-SA idea to them with the aim to create opportunities in a community and to use tourism as a vehicle to uplift the community. We provide training to the communities from grassroots level to teach the basics of hospitality, tourism, and how it impacts South Africa as a whole,” said Murray.

He mentioned that they offer two-night home stay experiences where guests stay with a family in Venda with a translator and a guide to accompany them. “The purpose of this is to try and understand the Venda culture, and what we can and cannot do in the community. We educate the travellers so they can respect the culture. We also created an art route in the community with all the bead makers, beer brewers, floor makers and wood crafters for the guests’ enjoyment,” he said.

According to Murray, TAHS-SA is a community-based tourism project that creates opportunities and enables rural residents in small villages.

Traditional African HomeStays-SA (TAHS-SA) co-founder Cameron Murray said with their initiative, local communities incorporate tourists in their day-to-day lives and homes for a unique experience.

Murray said in this instance the tourists share everything with the community that relates to their day-to-day living, including food and other experiences. “In 2016 we came up with the concept to include local communities in tourism. We had to find a local chief who set up the meeting in Makhushu village in Nzhelele in the Vhembe district. We presented our TAHS-SA idea to them with the aim to create opportunities in a community and to use tourism as a vehicle to uplift the community. We provide training to the communities from grassroots level to teach the basics of hospitality, tourism, and how it impacts South Africa as a whole,” said Murray.

“South Africa’s tourism trends compliments the worldwide growing interest in rural tourism as an unconventional, yet authentic form of tourism. Each traveler has a different view and expectation of an authentic experience.”

He added that Covid-19 had a traumatic effect on residents as they rely heavily on international tourists to support the economy.

“It was hard for us to keep the momentum going. We want to develop the communities throughout South Africa.

“TAHS-SA will ultimately address the challenges of unemployment, poverty, inequality and lack of skills development in rural villages by using tourism as a vehicle for change.

“The Rural Homestay initiative will provide employment opportunities, which will increase income and enable skills development,” he concluded.

Credit by:  Maseo Nethanani

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