Compliments for Kouga Municipality have been pouring in from residents and visitors in the wake of a successful festive season.
While the overall visitor tally is still to be finalised, the demand for municipal services was greater than that of last year, suggesting an increase in the number of people who spent the summer holiday in Kouga, Executive Mayor, Horatio Hendricks said.
“The municipal service departments were out in full force to meet the bigger demand and did a great job,” he said.
“We are very grateful to each and every one of them for helping to ensure a pleasant holiday experience for all.”
The cleanliness of Kouga’s towns and beaches, in particular, has been widely praised on social media by visitors and holidaymakers alike.
“Our cleansing teams worked till late and were often up at the crack of dawn. It is great to know that their efforts were seen and appreciated by the wider public,” Hendricks said.
Careful monitoring and management of the municipal reservoirs helped to prevent water shortages, despite the influx of holidaymakers and soaring temperatures increasing the demand for this precious resource.
“However, it is vital that we continue to use water extremely sparingly as the four dams supplying Kouga with water are currently sitting at a combined capacity of just over 14% - of which 5.4% is dead storage,” said Hendricks.
Early indications are that the local hospitality industry also did a booming trade as holidaymakers set out to explore all that Kouga has to offer - there was little accommodation left in Kouga between Christmas and New Year.
Kouga Local Tourism Organisation Chairperson, Deon Freemantle, said, “The festive season and celebrations were a huge success.
“The influx of visitors certainly added to the spend in the town and most businesses benefited as it stimulated a slow economy with disposable income that was seriously hampered by high fuel prices.
“We are very optimistic that our tourism trade has shown an upward trend, with the added benefit an increased number in international tourists visiting our area.”
A full programme of events also helped to attract more tourists, including day visitors, with the municipality’s Kouga Summer Festival that included the Opening of the Season and New Year’s Countdown.
There were also no drownings recorded at any of the official swimming beaches, with Kouga lifeguards keeping a close eye on bathers.
The safety of locals and visitors was further prioritised, with the municipality’s law enforcement and traffic officers working closely with SAPS, neighbourhood watches and security companies to minimise crime and traffic-related transgressions.
“What made this past festive season such a success, is the way roleplayers and stakeholder groups took hands and worked together in the interest of the region and its people,” said Hendricks.
“On behalf of the Council and municipality, I would like to thank everyone for their contribution. We look forward to building on this success and welcoming even more visitors to our shores next year.”