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