Continued from page 1Ellie Bottomley of Raggy Charters said they are excited about the population of Bottlenose dolphins increasing in Algoa Bay. “We have been seeing newborn dolphin calves roughly every month. It’s really exciting to see the population of bottlenose dolphins growing,” Bottomley said. Bottlenose dolphins are known for being very inquisitive and often come close to boats and bow, riding the waves created.Not only is Algoa Bay the Bottlenose dolphin capital but the Bay is home to the largest colonies of African penguins. Dr Lorien Pichegru, Algoa Bay Hope Spot chairperson, said Algoa Bay is home to more than half of the world’s African penguin population. The deputy minister of tourism, Tokozile Xasa, Executive Mayor of Nelson Mandela Bay, Dr Danny Jordaan, councillor Zukile Jodwana and CEO of Nelson Mandela Bay Tourism, Mandlakazi Skefile, were a few of the esteemed guests who engaged with tourism stakeholders in the Bay on April 14. The stakeholder engagement proceeded to unlock and discuss the impact of unlocking the economic potential of South Africa’s oceans through operation Phakisa. The blue economy, which is also referred to as the ocean economy, is described as a marine based economic development that will lead to improved human well-being and social equity. It includes reframing oceans, which account for almost 71% of the earth’s surface, as ‘development spaces’ that are subject to special planning. One of the key growth areas identified within the NDP 2030 is coastal and marine tourism, which was also identified by the 2050 Africa’s Integrated Maritime (AIM) strategy as promising but under appreciated. It is estimated that tourism contributed an average of 9% to South Africa’s GPD and it supports 1.4 million job opportunities in the country. With the demand for ocean cruises having increased by 77% over the past decade and due to the improved infrastructure in ports, the number of cruise liners docking onto shores has increased drastically. Since the increase of cruise liner docking to Port Elizabeth in the recent year, it has seen the Bay local economy benefit about R25 million. The latest docking ship manifesto shows that 25 vessels – carrying about 14 400 passengers and 6000 crew members – were booked to dock in the Port Elizabeth harbour between November 2015 and April 2016. Nelson Mandela Bay Tourism CEO, Mandlakazi Skefile, said that an opportunity exists to grow partnerships with the cruise liner operators and ground handlers to grow their tourism offering within the Bay and possibly increase the amount of time the visitors spend in the area, thus increasing the economic spend.