Coming in number one

2015-12-03 06:00

A SUNDAY Times report (25 November) and based on research conducted by SafariNow (a respected online booking agency), cited Margate and environs as South Africa’s most popular, value-for-money, family friendly destination.

This is an amazing accolade when one considers the extreme competition there is all over the place. I do however, suggest that our entire destination can be considered in the same light. Take golf for example, surveys show that in general our excellent golf courses are generously priced for our golfing tourists. When I shared the green and cart fees with a group of German tour operators who were at a trade event in Pretoria, they were amazed at the value proposition.

When I first arrived here some two years ago, I mentioned to our tourism fraternity that the Greater South Coast was like an old dust-covered trophy that needed polishing.

Well, since then our municipalities have paid attention to phased beach amenity upgrades, new and award-winning hotels have come to the fore, investors are backing our destination, we have a new and well supported motor sport raceway, air flights to and from Johannesburg are popular, many films are being made here and our business tourism seems to have more impetus via the newly established South Coast Chapter of the South African Association for the Conference Industry.

When one factors in these considerations, one has to suggest that not all is doom and gloom (although there is a lot more to achieve) and our “trophy” is being buffed up for the good.

I have no doubt that if this positive trend continues we will achieve our stated vision for tourism as being “the most visited non metropolitan destination in KwaZulu-Natal”.

Getting there is a collective effort between the tourism industry, organs of state, Ugu South Coast Tourism and the community. We certainly will work hard at our mandate to assist all and sundry rubbing at that piece of valuable silverware.

The other evening I attended a “meet and greet” at Umtamvuna and one of the speakers from the local conservancy very aptly stated that we live in a paradise if we consider the natural marine and land based assets we have. This is the playground that we have to nurture for the now and future generations.

If all can be sustained in a price-sensitive manner, we will, as SafariNow indicated, remain SA’s number one.

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