City needs flagship events to boost tourism SUMMER 2015: OCCUPANCY DOWN BUT TOURISM SPEND INCREASED

2016-03-02 06:00

NELSON Mandela Bay Tourism (NMBT) has established after the evaluation of the summer season statistics that flagship events contribute greatly to visitor numbers and spend in the destination.

For the summer period there were a total of 76 993 foreign bednights sold and a total of 973 334 domestic bed nights sold in 2014.

This compares to 52 723 foreign bed nights sold and 959 876 domestic bednights sold for the same period in 2015.

Whilst the figures of the summer of 2015 show a slight decline in accommodation occupancy the income generated from tourism spend in the city had increased.

“Whilst NMBT saw success in sustaining the tourism contribution to the local economy for summer, we realize the city needs to gain new and retain flagship events such as the Rugby 7’s to increase the number of visitors to the city and thus increase the tourism revenue even further,” said Mandlakazi Skefile, CEO of Nelson Mandela Bay Tourism.

According to the NMB Sevens EIA 2014 report done by Grant Thornton there was a total number of 63 041 spectators spread over the two day event.

Nelson Mandela Bay’s Overall Income from the tourism sector for December 2014 was estimated at R334 472 917.52. The income from those coming here specifically for the rugby 7’s event (event was reason for visit) - was estimated to be in the region of R30 444 566.64.

Thus without the event the income tourism generated for December 2014 would have been around R304 028 350.87 and the overall estimated income for December 2015 R343 736 187.12.

Based on these figures December 2015 saw an increase on 2014 with a percentage of 11.55%, R39 707 836.25, when excluding the impact of the Rugby 7’s event in December 2014.

There is also an element of visiting friends and relatives as well as day visitors which can only be estimated at this stage. These visitors also contribute greatly to the tourism economy of the destination. One of the events that boosted the numbers of those that visit family and relatives is the Ebubeleni Music Concert that was extremely well supported and saw in excess a crowd of 15 000 people up from last year’s numbers of 9 000.

As per Fayroush Ludick, Regional Manager: Communications, SANParks, “Addo Elephant National Park outside Port Elizabeth, noted a 4.4% increase in visitors – from 27 601 in December 2014 to 28 815 last year. The park also registered an 18.6% increase in the number of activities sold, up from 3 061 to 3 629. The Park’s entrance gate along the N2 just outside Colchester, Camp Matyholweni, continues to attract more visitors due to its accessibility from PE. Gate entry figures increased by 13% over the corresponding months.

Skefile informs, “In conclusion, the occupancy stats at formal accommodation establishments give us reason to believe that hosting major events in a city contributes greatly to tourism as well as the economy of our region. That is why NMBT supports the hosting of mega events which has the capacity to attract people from out of town. That we have lost out on these two events, had a negative impact as we could have seen a much bigger increase in revenue to the city. We are looking forward to events such as the boxing day cricket test match this coming summer season. We need to bid for and host more of these events.”

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