Tourism boost

TotT awarded with float­ing tro­phy in recog­ni­tion for con­tri­bu­tion to tourism de­vel­op­ment by SCT

Talk of the Town - - Front Page - LOUISE CARTER

BIG THINGS TO COME: Royal St An­drews Hotel owner Martin Bekker an­nounced at the Sun­shine Coast Tourism AGM on Tues­day evening that the hotel would spon­sor R1-mil­lion in prize money for next year’s Amanzi Fes­ti­val (pre­vi­ously known as Royal St An­drews Hotel Easter Fes­ti­val). Bekker was also hon­oured by SCT in recog­ni­tion for their con­tri­bu­tion to­wards tourism de­vel­op­ment on the Sun­shine Coast. Bekker is flanked by SCT tourism man­ager Sandy Birch, left, and chair­man of SCT Rick Pryce.

ROYAL St An­drews Hotel own­ers Martin and Linda Bekker an­nounced at the Sun­shine Coast Tourism AGM on Tues­day evening that they are award­ing R1-mil­lion in terms of prize money for the Amanzi Fes­ti­val (pre­vi­ously known as Royal St An­drews Hotel Easter Fes­ti­val un­der the ban­ner of Amaz­ing Events) to take place from March 30 to April 8.

The fes­ti­val was a mas­sive success this year, launch­ing a multi-sport event over Easter week­end that fea­tured rub­ber duck rac­ing, body­board­ing, surf­ing and an open wa­ter swim­ming con­test. Or­gan­is­ers Zweli Nk­winti and Dave Law­son has man­aged to ear­mark next year’s event on the in­ter­na­tional cir­cuit in the re­spec­tive sport dis­ci­plines, se­cur­ing the Port Al­fred events as in­ter­na­tional qual­i­fiers for surf­ing and body­board­ing.

The Bekkers have urged all other tourism stake­hold­ers to take own­er­ship of the event to be­come part of host­ing vis­i­tors and ath­letes as part of a plan to broaden the tourism in­vest­ment strat­egy.

“All of us to need to chip in and help. Get the peo­ple here and they will re­turn. The town knows what to do,” said Martin.

SCT Tourism man­ager Sandy Birch pre­sented an over­view of the new ad­di­tion of ele­phants in the Bathurst re­gion at Buf­falo Kloof Pri­vate Game Re­serve. It is the first time in 170 years that ele­phants are in the area and will be a great boost for lo­cal tourism when the re­serve opens to the public.

Fur­ther­more, Birch said 2016-17 was a year to cel­e­brate.

She men­tioned that the new web­site has made a huge im­pact and that the tourism brochures in­clud­ing TotT’s his­tor­i­cal news­pa­per pub­lished in 2015, was in high de­mand with vis­i­tors.

Birch said that sev­eral Sun­shine Coast per­son­al­i­ties, in­clud­ing Wil­liam Fowlds, Bob McKen­zie and Mau­reen Quin, have all fea­tured in­ter­na­tion­ally for their work.

The Sun­shine Coast has en­joyed ex­po­sure in mul­ti­ple mag­a­zine pub­li­ca­tions, as well as re­gional and lo­cal news­pa­pers. Sun­shine Coast Tourism won the best lo­cal des­ti­na­tion at the Get­away Show in Jo­han­nes­burg this year. Birch also said SCT at­tends the Tourism Ind­aba each year (Africa’s top travel show) and that she en­gages tour bus op­er­a­tors at these shows. There are nine tour bus op­er­a­tors with mostly Ger­man tourists that reg­u­larly stop in Port Al­fred. She said this av­enue is a great op­por­tu­nity to cre­ate a re­turn-again move­ment.

Birch praised the new fea­tures of the Ken­ton of­fice and said there were plans in the pipe­line to up­grade new tourism signs in Ken­ton, Bush­man’s, Bathurst, Port Al­fred and es­pe­cially Wharf Street, out­lin­ing the his­tor­i­cal sig­nif­i­cance of the build­ings and fea­tures.

Birch thanked Sten­den SA ex­ec­u­tive dean Wouter Hensens for his mas­sive con­tri­bu­tion to­wards tourism de­vel­op­ment and in­vest­ment in the area.

Birch said prop­erty pur­chases rose by 18% which is sig­nif­i­cant re­gard­ing the state of the econ­omy.

Hensens, as an ex­ec­u­tive mem­ber of the SCT board, pre­sented a “Tourism Master­plan: Vi­sion 2020” which looked at ac­cel­er­at­ing the growth of tourism, creat­ing crit­i­cal mass for high-qual­ity tourism ser­vices and align­ing and en­gag­ing all stake­hold­ers around an am­bi­tious strat­egy. Hensens named ar­eas of attraction such as beaches, rivers, na­ture, sports and recre­ation, cul­tural and var­i­ous ac­tiv­i­ties sur­round­ing these and said it need to be mar­keted op­ti­mally and worked into the strat­egy plan.

More­over, Hensens pre­sented eight strate­gies which will each be des­ig­nated as a port­fo­lio to SCT mem­bers that will en­com­pass the “2020 Vi­sion” for SCT. He ex­plained what each strat­egy com­prises of as well as the chal­lenges pre­sented in each. The area is pris­tine, and in­cludes the Kowie River, beaches and the nat­u­ral en­vi­ron­ment and lo­cal stake­hold­ers should am­plify this, he said.

The strate­gies in­clude: unite tourism stake­hold­ers, mon­i­tor tourism per­for­mance, fa­cil­i­tate ac­cess to the area, fa­cil­i­tate prod­uct de­vel­op­ment in terms of public ser­vices and spa­ces, fa­cil­i­tate prod­uct de­vel­op­ment and pri­vate en­ter­prise, sup­port events, pro­mote area through a clear brand prom­ise, pro­vide a one-stop shop for vis­i­tor in­for­ma­tion. “We need big-pic­ture think­ing,” Hensens said. SCT chair­man Rick Pryce de­liv­ered his chair­man’s report which thanked tourism em­ploy­ees and sig­nif­i­cant con­trib­u­tors to lo­cal tourism. Pryce awarded the tourism float­ing tro­phy of ex­cel­lence to TotT for their con­tri­bu­tion to tourism de­vel­op­ment on the Sun­shine Coast through its yearly Sun­shine Hol­i­day sup­ple­ment.

The Bekkers re­ceived a cer­tifi­cate of ap­pre­ci­a­tion for their con­tri­bu­tion to­wards tourism de­vel­op­ment on the Sun­shine Coast. Hensens, on be­half of Sten­den, was awarded a cer­tifi­cate of ap­pre­ci­a­tion in recog­ni­tion for un­leash­ing tourism po­ten­tial on the Sun­shine Coast. Bean and Olive owner Jo Wil­mot , re­ceived recog­ni­tion for her con­tri­bu­tion to the de­vel­op­ment of an in­no­va­tive tourism prod­uct.

The board has re­mained un­changed.

Pic­ture: LOUISE CARTER

Pic­ture: LOUISE CARTER

COM­MU­NITY IN­TER­EST: TotT was pleas­antly sur­prised at the Sun­shine Coast Tourism AGM on Tues­day by be­ing hon­oured for our con­tri­bu­tion to­wards tourism de­vel­op­ment on the Sun­shine Coast. Re­ceiv­ing the award are, from left, Tiso Black­star com­mu­nity news­pa­per busi­ness man­ager Mauneen Char­ter, SCT chair­man Rick Pryce and SCT man­ager Sandy Birch

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