East London fully booked as celebrations begin
EAST London’s economy has received an early bonanza for 2018.
Accommodation in the Eastern Cape city is fully booked as hundreds of ANC leaders and supporters have descended on it for the party’s birthday celebrations on Saturday.
Eastern Cape Parks and Tourism Agency executive marketing officer Nopasika Mxunyelwa said hotels and B&Bs had been the biggest beneficiaries of the ANC event.
“People who I have spoken to are saying that they are fully booked. We have also been contacted by some individuals who were looking for accommodation, and we told them that if the establishments are saying they are full, it means they are full, and we don’t have alternative places. The situation is that the city is fully booked,” said Mxunyelwa.
Independent Media visited several restaurants and nightclubs on Tuesday night, all of which were packed with people clad in ANC clothing.
Activities at some of the establishments continued until the early hours of yesterday, with patrons indulging in a broad range of liquor.
Hawkers trading in ANC regalia hogged Oxford Street between North and Stephenson streets, where the ANC’s Dr WB Rubusana regional office is situated, selling anything from shoes, hats and blouses, all in ANC colours.
Some used speed points to collect payments, saying they were doing this to avoid robberies as well as assisting customers who did not carry cash.
Buffalo City municipality mayor Xola Pakati said: “(Officials) have ticked all the boxes and want to deliver an incident-free event. Our safety and security agencies are ready... we are on standby for any eventualities.”
Pakati said the economic spinoffs of the events were touching all sectors of the economy.
“In terms of tourism, we are experiencing a big boost, which comes after a bumper festive season.
“Accommodation, rental and other establishments are fully booked and even ordinary people are taking advantage of this event and renting out their houses.”
Pakati said visitors who failed to secure accommodation in the city were redirected to the nearby Great Kei and Ndlambe municipalities.
“Various streets around the venues (being used for the event) will be closed on Saturday in order to manage the traffic.
“Thousands of people who will be travelling from all over the country will be greeted with friendly faces, a stern police force and an atmosphere that reflects both the magnitude and spirit of the event,” said Pakati.