Cape Town - Did you know!? Monday, 16 January 2017 marks the first ever official Rooibos Day in the country, and in the world - a day dedicated to celebrating not only the uniqueness and wholesomeness of this iconic South Africa tea but also to bring homage to the proudly South African producers behind this export product.
The official Rooibos Day was launched in the heart of SA's rooibos producing country in Clanwilliam along the West Coast but is hopeful to be celebrated right around the world.
Rooibos tea, which is exclusively produced in the Cederberg area of the Western Cape, is currently being exported to over 60 countries worldwide.
The semi-desert area produces over 12 000 tonnes of rooibos annually.
And according to DA MP James Vos, speaking at the official opening of Rooibos Day in Clanwilliam, the importance of Rooibos Day stretches far beyond enjoying a cup of home-grown tea.
Apart from the more than 5 000 direct jobs the industry offers, "agritourism," he says, "can help to enhance the demand for local produce, boost regional marketing efforts, and create value-added and direct marketing opportunities to stimulate local economic activity.
"We have a wide variety of agricultural activities in South Africa – livestock, dairy, grain, wine production, fruit growing, and the most important of them all being Rooibos. All these can be developed into tourism ventures so that visitors can feel they are really part of the experience."
He says the key focus in the coming year will be promoting Rooibos Day, as well as other agritourism initiatives. "We need to export our goods to world markets, and to draw even more investment and visitors to our region," Vos says.
More and more, local produce is putting SA on the map.
In 2015, for example, Groot Constantia's Chardonnay was named the best in the world, and SA's wine industry overall remains one of the biggest drawcards for tourism in the country.
In the Karoo, locally and ethically farmed lamb is an equally sought-after agricultural product and in the Little Karoo around Oudtshoorn, ostriches and ostrich produce is of equal importance.
As South Africa is a massive agriculturally-orientated country, gaining a second benefit from the industry through tourism would be a welcome addition.
The idea of promoting agritourism is for other agricultural industries to gain equal fame in both export and tourism, and to provide a multi-dimensional tourism offering in the country.
In celebration of the first-ever #RooibosDay, South African celebrities all added their photos and thoughts to the trend... Check it out:
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