SA set to surf global economic wave

2015-11-10 06:00

In global economic terms, South Africa’s vast oceans and inland waterways are a natural resource that has the potential to unlock an economic industry and contribute to the country’s job creation needs.

The success of last year’s Open Ocean Festival, which formed part of the Volvo Ocean Race Cape Town stopover, has been used as a platform from which to develop a nationwide annual Ocean Festival series linked to ocean initiatives.

The South African Maritime Safety Authority (Samsa) and Worldsport have decided to take the festival further, spreading it to other provinces and including inland waterways. The first South African Ocean Festival in Cape Town, currently underway, is again co-sponsored by the V&A Waterfront and Samsa.

The annual festivals will form part of South Africa’s new marine tourism and leisure strategy, which was formally announced this weekend at an event at the V&A Waterfront.

Tourists will celebrate and make use of South Africa’s more than 3000km of ocean coastline and inland waterways through water sports, music, food and education, thereby promoting destination tourism and much-needed opportunities for smaller businesses, skills transfer, development and job creation.

Additionally, the hosting of ocean festivals in other provinces will lead to the creation of a national ocean festival company or organisation.

The maritime industry contributed R19bn to the country’s GDP in 2013, with projections currently indicating that this is likely to rise to about R44bn in 2020.

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