Category: <span>Tourism</span>

Media Release: Garden Route Coastal Resorts Perform Exceptionally Well Over the Festive Season

Media Release: Garden Route Coastal Resorts Perform Exceptionally Well Over the Festive Season

For Immediate Release
12 January 2022

The 2020 festive season was very bleak for most of South Africa and other countries. Tight lockdown restrictions, which included the beaches being closed, as well as longer curfews and a ban on the sale of alcohol, placed a damper on everyone’s holiday spirit. In 2020, people had no choice but to cancel their holiday plans. However, the recent festive season was a stark contrast compared to a year ago because restrictions were almost completely lifted. Holiday-goers flocked in their thousands to the Garden Route.

Like many other resorts, Garden Route District Municipality’s (GRDM) coastal resorts benefited from this. Victoria Bay and Swartvlei Caravan Parks reported a bumper holiday season, which started with a visit from the Berg-en Toerklub (BTK) from Stellenbosch University in early December. The group started their journey at Swartvlei Caravan Park, stayed there for one night and then hiked to Victoria Bay Caravan Park along the coast. There they enjoyed another braai, swimming and a well-deserved night’s rest.

As for the rest of the season, Marelize Claassen, Resort Manager, reported that Victoria Bay was at full capacity since early December. According to her, bookings are now decreasing slowly.

Swartvlei bookings increased from 12 December and reached capacity between 18 December 2021 and 2 January 2022. Holidaymakers are now heading home to tackle the new year.

It was a very busy season, and it was as if people waited two years to have this holiday – Marelize Claassen

On behalf of GRDM and its coastal resorts, the Municipality would like to thank everyone for their ongoing support and looks forward to seeing return visitors throughout the year.

Visit www.victoriabaycaravanpark.co.za and www.swartvleicaravanpark.co.za to book your spot. Remember to like our social media pages on Facebook by searching for our resorts on the platform.

02 December 2021 Media Release: WELCOME TO THE MOST BEAUTIFUL PART OF SOUTH AFRICA, THE GARDEN ROUTE

2 December 2021

WELCOME TO THE MOST BEAUTIFUL PART OF SOUTH AFRICA, THE GARDEN ROUTE

This is our second year of living through an unprecedented time. However, as Garden Routers, I continue to believe that we will bounce back from this situation as we are a resilient district.

South Africa, including the Garden Route District’s Tourism Sector, remains the backbone of our country’s economy; this is why we need people to visit us from all over the world. Support of our regional tourism sector is imperative because it advances prosperity, drives inclusive and sustainable development.

Last year, I also encouraged you to seek the little adventures the Garden Route offers, indulge yourself, take a break, and support our businesses. This year, my plea is the same. Please support our local businesses. Explore the region and the many tourist activities that are right on your doorstep; in turn, you will be contributing to the growth of the tourism sector. We depend on tourism for jobs and livelihoods. Thank you to the businesses that remain conscious of the current economic climate and provide budget-friendly tourism packages. This clever approach will attract more visitors to our region.

Before visiting us or when you arrive here, you will be able to find a myriad of activities to do in our region. A few that come to mind, include iconic sightseeing spots, fun-filled days and unmissable events, in particular this December. To see what I am talking about, visit our regional tourism website, www.visitgardenrouteandkleinkaroo.com.

While enjoying your time with us, you have to exercise caution and be tolerant while travelling. Please obey speed limits; road rules; do not text or call while driving; do not drink and drive, and always wear a seatbelt. Save our 24/7 emergency call centre number if you find yourself in a troubling situation – 044 805 5071. As we head into the festive season we’d like to keep the Covid-19 infection rates low, so please, adhere to the Covid- 19 protocols and regulations. Remember to wear your mask, wash your hands, sanitize, avoid large crowds, and keep your social distance – hang outside with friends and family!.

Thank you for all the efforts to keep safe and move forward. See you in the Garden Route!

Alderman Memory Booysen
Executive Mayor
Garden Route District Municipality

3 September 2021 Media Release: Tourism for inclusive growth

Media Release: Tourism for inclusive growth

For Immediate Release
03 September 2021

Tourism Month features themed activities aligned to the United Nations World Tourism Organisation’s (UNWTO) World Tourism Day Celebrations that take place annually on 27 September. The theme for this year’s World Tourism Day is “Tourism for inclusive growth.”

Annually, Tourism Month provides a heightened month-long focus on the importance of the tourism sector and the enormous contribution the tourism industry makes to provincial and national economic growth as well as job creation in South Africa. “This year, we align our efforts with the national and provincial government to emphasize the importance of domestic tourism and inclusive growth. The tourism industry has been severely affected by the Covid–19 pandemic, and in Tourism Month, we want to shift our focus to the recovery of the sector and to build back better. We believe that promoting our beautiful region and its diverse offerings to the domestic market could increase visitors/domestic tourists to the area, contribute towards employment in the sector, and contribute to the growth of the tourism sector within the district,” said Ms Amagene Koeberg, Tourism Coordinator for Garden Route District Municipality.

This year’s theme is all about tourism for all, and it is about the rural women and the innovative youth; it is for the villages, towns and the less-visited part of our country. “This theme is about the cultural diversity of our offerings and the travel tastes of the millennials. Importantly, growth is about the broad-based benefits and support for small enterprises that continue to bear the brunt of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Tharage, Director-General of the Department of Tourism at the Golden Gate National Park outside of Clarens at the launch of Tourism Month.

Tourism Month in SA aims to encourage South Africans to travel domestically to understand better the affordable, exciting and world-class attractions available on their own doorstep.  It also serves as an opportunity to promote domestic tourism and create a culture of travel amongst South Africans.

Initiatives such as the; SHO’T LEFT TRAVEL WEEK 6 -12 September 2021 will present great travel deals, with airlines, hotel groups, tour operators and tourist attractions offering discounts of up to 50%. These deals must be bought during this week but can be redeemed at any other time, depending on the partner’s terms and conditions. This presents an opportunity for South Africans to tour and experience their own country.

As the country begins to open up again during COVID19, the appetite for domestic travel must be re-ignited, and South Africans should be encouraged to travel their country.

By visiting the website: www.shotleft.co.za South Africans can access great holiday deals. Some of these deals feature Garden Route & Klein Karoo tourism partners.  By visiting our regional tourism website’s events page at you can be enticed by the various events/festivals hosted in our local towns during Tourism Month and beyond, suitable to please any and every tourist with the array of diversity we have to offer.

30 June 2021 Media Release:  “We are two weeks ahead of schedule” – upgrades at Calitzdorp Spa

Media Release:  “We are two weeks ahead of schedule” – upgrades at Calitzdorp Spa

For immediate release
30 June 2021

After almost a month of hard work, the Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) owned Calitzdorp Spa is gradually transforming into a new magical mountain retreat, reclaiming its rightful space in the magnificent mountain vistas of the Klein Karoo. Construction work, which was planned to be executed a number of phases, is currently well on track. “We are at least two weeks ahead of schedule,” Medron Bussack, Acting Manager for Calitzdorp Spa.

The roofs of the swimming pool chalets and mountain chalets have already been repaired. As of now, the reception area and main building’s roofs are being replaced with new steel-based, light roof thatch tiles. The contractors also replaced the roofs’ hip and ridge flashings with treated timber battens and related accessories. Amongst the work done has been a new face of the resorts Roman bath. Being one of the most popular tourist attractions of the Spa, the ‘mineral-rich hot spring bath’ is known for its healing and curative properties. The windows in the Roman bathing room were also replaced.

The next phases will commence as soon as funding becomes available in the new financial year, beginning on 1 July 2021.  These phases will mainly focus on more repairs and upgrades of the mountain chalets, as well as the ablution facilities at the four (4) camping sites and the four (4) pool lapas.

With the construction works currently underway, the GRDM wants to assure the public that the resort is still in full operation and looks forward to welcoming visitors to the resort!

 

25 February 2021 Media Release: How to apply for Tourism Road Signage

Media Release: How to apply for Tourism Road Signage

For Immediate Release
25 February 2021

Government and the private sector understands the importance of the Tourism Sector, in particular its impact on the economy. Tourism creates jobs, sustains livelihoods and promotes a country’s natural and cultural heritage. It is however important for each person to know where to find tourist attractions through clearly identifiable signs. Such signs are approved for five (5) years or rejected by a Regional Tourism Liaison Committee (RTLC) and in the case of the Western Cape, the Western Cape Provincial Government in collaboration with the South African National Roads Agency (SANRAL).

What do tourism road signs look like?

Tourism road signs in South Africa contain white symbols and lettering, displayed on a brown background. These signs are erected from the nearest numbered route, with additional signs indicating directions to a tourism attraction or facility. It does however become tricky in urban areas where there are a lot of signs, buildings, and other objects. This is why generic signs may be considered by the RTLC.

Purpose of tourism road signs?

The purpose of tourism road signs is not intended to advertise a tourism attraction, but to guide the public to a facility while a person can enjoy an excursion. Therefore, tourism road signs are intended to clearly indicate the route pedestrians and motorists need to travel along to reach specific attractions or facilities.

Who can apply for a tourism road sign?

Owners of registered tourism facilities and/or attractions may apply for tourism signs.

Approval of road signs

Approval for a tourism sign depends on the quality of the facility or service, the need for a road sign at a given point, and whether a sign can be erected without causing a traffic hazard.

Tourism road sign application process

Those interested in applying for a tourism road sign needs to contact their nearest Local Tourism Office (LTO) to discuss the requirements and to collect an application form. Each LTO is responsible for providing applicants with answers to specific requirements and indicate whether such a premises would be recommended by them. Once an applicant has completed all required documentation, it needs to be submitted to the issuing LTO. LTOs are subsequently responsible for submitting documents to the RTLC for review.

The evaluation of a facility by the LTO comprises of, amongst other things, compliance with warrants. Warrants serve as assurance of acceptable standards for a tourist, who is influenced to support the establishment by means of being exposed to the tourism road signage.

Approval of tourism road signage

If an application has been recommended by a LTO, or in some instances a Local Economic Development Unit of a Municipality, it will be forwarded to the RTLC and the Transport Directorate for review.

The requirements of Transport Authority vary according to the status of the road. More important mobility roads will have stricter requirements. Once the road authority has access to all the relevant documentation, information is processed in terms of the relevant road regulations. Technicalities such as the placing of the sign; distance from a crossing; number of existing signs; and the speed limit of the particular road where the sign is intended to be erected, are taken into account

When submissions are approved, an applicant will be furnished with a digital drawing of the sign. In addition to this, a list of approved manufacturers who conform to tourism standards will be provided too.

Rejection of tourism road signage

LTOs will provide clear reasons for why applicants have not been granted permission to erect tourism road signage. This decision will be preceded by an on-site inspection of the facility by the LTO to measure its compliance to a certain number of required tick-boxes.

If an applicant’s submission is rejected, SANRAL will inform the applicant of such a decision and provide the reasons behind it.

Fees payable

Applicants will be responsible for appointing a manufacturer to do the work in accordance with a letter of approval and for all costs related to the erection of the sign. SANRAL has specific conditions under which approval may be granted.

The tourism road sign is up, now what?

Once the sign has been erected, it becomes the property of SANRAL and may be relocated or removed at their discretion. Applicants remain responsible for the upkeep/ maintenance of their respective road signs.

If the applicant’s facility no longer complies with warrants, SANRAL may remove all tourism road signs. SANRAL or LTOs can, at any moment inspect a facility to ensure that it still meets the relevant authorised standards.

Contact information for offices responsible for signage:

Knysna 044 382 5510 40 Main Road, Knysna, 6570 www.visitknysna.co.za
Ladismith 028 551 1378 Otto Hager building, South Street, Ladismith www.ladismith.org.za
Mossel Bay 044  691 2202 cnr Market & Church Street, Mossel Bay www.visitmosselbay.co.za
Oudtshoorn & De Rust Tourism 044 279 2532 80 Voortrekker Rd, Oudtshoorn, 6625 www.oudtshoorn.com
Bitou Municipality LED 044 501 3000 4 Sewell Street Plettenberg Bay www.bitou.gov.za
Sedgefield 044 343 2007 30 Main Road, Sedgefield www.tourismsedgefield.co.za
Wilderness 044 877 0045 198 George Road, Wilderness www.tourismwilderness.co.za
Calitzdorp 044 213 3775 3 Voortrekker Road, Calitzdorp www.calitzdorp.org.za
George 044 801 9103 124 York Street, George, 6529 www.georgetourism.org.za
Hessequa 028 713 7829 19 Main Road, Riversdale, 6670 www.explorersgardenroute.co.za

*PLEASE NOTE

National roads are governed by the South African National Roads Agency (SANRAL), provincial roads by the Provincial Roads Department (PG: WC), district/secondary roads by the District Council and normal streets by the Local Municipality.*

ENDS

25 January 2021 Media Release: Garden Route Investment Prospectus formulated to attract domestic and foreign investment

Media Release: Garden Route Investment Prospectus formulated to attract domestic and foreign investment

For immediate release
25 January 2021

On Friday, 22 January 2021 the Garden Route Investment Prospectus was tabled and adopted by the Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) Council during an Ordinary Council meeting. This investment guide is the official regional publication which highlights many of the investment opportunities for the region.

According to Mr Lusanda Menze, GRDM Executive Manager for Planning and Economic Development, “the prospectus was developed and compiled during 2020 financial year and contains regional catalytic investment opportunities of all seven local municipalities, as well as opportunities relating to the GRDM”.

“The investment prospectus situates opportunity zones on several levels and provides an economic context for such zones,” said Menze.

The overarching objectives of this prospectus are to attract national and international investors to the Garden Route by:

  • displaying the vast range of investment opportunities available in the region;
  • providing insights into the region’s investment friendly climate; and
  • not only attracting new investments but also to expand existing investments in the Garden Route.

Local municipalities, business chambers, government agencies, private sector stakeholders amongst others, were consulted in the process of compiling the document and identifying the most promising investment opportunities. WESGRO, the Western Cape’s Tourism, Trade and Investment Promotion Agency, remains a partner in the roll-out of the process to attract investment and will work alongside stakeholders to promote the region’s opportunities.

The high-quality print catalogue is available digitally, while 200 printed copies are currently available for distribution. The GRDM is approaching growth and development in a holistic nature looking at all sectors of the economy. It is also important to view the linkages that would promote widespread socio-economic growth. Therefore, GRDM is looking at achieving the following:

  • to attraction both outward and inward investment;
  • investment in both hard and soft infrastructure;
  • making the business environment more conducive to business;
  • involve a participatory approach to local economic development;
  • involve Public Private Partnerships (PPP) wherever possible; and
  • move towards community-based local economic development

Local economic development is one of the key focus areas for the GRDM and by realising its strategic importance, sustainable and inclusive growth will be possible.

Click on the link below to download the document:

Garden Route Investment Prospectus

8 January 2021 Media Release: Let’s continue to support our tourism industry COVID-19 and beyond

Media Release: Let’s continue to support our tourism industry COVID-19 and beyond

For Immediate Release
8 January 2021

Feature image: Elethu Booysen, wife of Alderman Memory Booysen, Executive Mayor for Garden Route District Municipality, was treated on a trip by her husband out at sea for her birthday today, 8 January 2021.

We can all attest that the National Lockdown has kept us all more indoors than ever before. With the gradual opening of the Tourism sector, we finally had the chance to slowly dip our toes in the sparkling ocean experiencing the fresh, crisp and clean air inhaling the perfume of fynbos. Then, just as we were approaching the holiday season and visitors were gearing themselves to travel to the Garden Route our beaches were closed and the tourism sector faced yet another blow.

While reflecting on the Tourism Sector and its resilience, Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) Executive Mayor, Alderman Memory Booysen said,  “Our beaches might have been closed since 15 December 2020 to January 2020 the Garden Route continued to offer a countless number of experiences. Holiday makers still flocked from all corners of South Africa to our beautiful and diverse region to experience its offerings. From scenic drives, delectable locally produced cuisine and washing it down with award winning wine, craft beer and indigenous fynbos gin before the country’s move to alert level three where we saw the closing of the alcohol industry, to blood pumping adrenaline rushing adventures, world class golfing”.

The Garden Route and Klein continues to offer a multitude of outdoor adventures and is truly so much more than just its beaches.

GRDM and its Regional Tourism Office, Garden Route and Klein Karoo Tourism, would like to thank all the tourism stakeholders in the region for their vigorous and continuous work in ensuring that the region remains the tourism destination of choice. This year has shown that we truly are a region who perseveres through the toughest times. To the visitors, we wish to thank you for your support by visiting our region while we’ve been classified as a COVID-19 hotspot.

Thank you to everyone who continues to comply to the “new norms” we are required to adhere to.

While it’s still summer, and schools are still closed, be sure to expect plenty of sunshine – here is what you can still experience in the Garden Route under the risk adjusted level 3 restrictions:

  • Golfing at one of South Africa’s top golf courses
  • Kayaking/kloofing/canoeing
  • Bungee jumping/ziplining
  • Paragliding
  • Hiking/biking
  • Historical caves
  • Horse riding
  • Big 5 and nature drives
  • Get lost in our Indigenous forests
  • Coffee culture
  • Enjoy some much needed “R&R” and pamper time at a spa.

We wish you all a healthy and safe 2021. Let’s continue to curb the spread of COVID-19 by remembering to practice social distancing, washing our hands, sanitising and wearing of masks. Lastly, remember to avoid crowded places, close-contact settings and confined and enclosed spaces.

Stay safe, move forward.

 

ENDS

3 December 2020 News Release: Holidaymakers welcome to the Garden Route district

News Release: We invite holidaymakers to the Garden Route district

For Immediate Release
3 December 2020

Many businesses and tourists have been asking if travel to the Garden Route will remain permitted during the festive season. The Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) would like to allay stakeholders’ fears.

“The GRDM welcomes holidaymakers to visit the Garden Route over the upcoming holiday season,” said Alderman Memory Booysen, Executive Mayor of the GRDM.

“After months of restricted movement, it is expected that more people will flock to the Garden Route over December and January. Tourism remains one of the region’s biggest GDP contributors and job creators – the industry assists Garden Routers to make ends meet.”

“It remains important for everyone visiting the region to adhere to the COVID-19 health and safety protocols,” Booysen explained. “The GRDM observed that Garden Routers diligently adhered to these protocols during the peak of the pandemic earlier this year. This new period of mobility means that the risk of transmission will be greater and not limited to areas that currently experience a big surge in caseload.”

The Garden Route and Klein Karoo Tourism office also welcomed the Western Cape Government’s statement. “Western Cape municipalities are open for tourism this festive season, with all visitors requested to work with the authorities in curbing the spread of the Covid-19 virus,” it said.

Going forward, apart from regular handwashing and sanitising, Garden Routers are advised to keep wearing their masks when in public and to wear them properly – covering both their mouth and nose. Gatherings are best avoided, and if you must attend a gathering, the GRDM advises that you keep it short, and ensure that the room or area is well ventilated.

ENDS

Media Release: SafeTravels.CapeTown website launched to assist tourists visiting Cape Town and the Western Cape

MEDIA RELEASE BY DAVID MAYNIER

WESTERN CAPE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITIES

Date: 03 November 2020

Release: immediately

SafeTravels.CapeTown website launched to assist tourists visiting Cape Town and the Western Cape 

Today (03 November 2020), we launched the Safe Travels website, which was developed by the Department of Economic Development and Tourism together with our destination marketing and promotion agency, Wesgro, to help domestic and international tourists to navigate the restrictions on travel and be informed about the important health and safety protocols they need to follow when visiting Cape Town and the Western Cape.

The Safe Travels website also aims to inspire confidence in Cape Town and the Western Cape as a destination, and give peace of mind to those travelling for business or leisure.

You can visit this website at safetravels.capetown

As a result of national government’s risk-based approach to international travel and the ‘red list’ of countries restricted to travel to South Africa, there is still much confusion and uncertainty in the travel and tourism industry, especially as the ‘red list’ is not being reviewed consistently every two weeks as promised. (The last update was on the 19 October 2020.)

And so, to guide tourists and ensure their visit to Cape Town and the Western Cape is as hassle-free as possible, our Safe Travels website provides the latest information on travel restrictions and the ‘red list’, as well as visa requirements and the latest Covid-19 health and safety information.

The content for the Safe Travels website was largely developed using social listening tools which provided real-time insights into what potential travelers to South Africa and the Western Cape are concerned about so that we could develop the right content to help address these concerns.

To assist tourists in distress, the Tourism Safety Support Unit at the Department of Economic Development and Tourism are also available to answer queries via email.

Travellers looking to visit the Western Cape, and who require assistance can send their questions to tourismsafety@westerncape.gov.za

On the launch of the Safe Travels website Wesgro CEO, Tim Harris, said: “Featuring safety news, FAQ’s and safety initiatives implemented in the province,  SafeTravels.CapeTown has been established as the ‘go to’ page for all visitors coming to enjoy the world-class tourism experience on offer in the province. We invite visitors to peruse the site and put their minds at ease knowing that Cape Town and the Western Cape is travel ready.”

Welcoming the launch of the website, Minister of Finance and Economic Opportunities, David Maynier, said, “By providing this one-stop-shop for travellers, we hope to convince tourists who are deciding where to book their next holiday, that they can confidently choose to visit Cape Town and the Western Cape because we are travel ready.

“The Safe Travels website is an example of the many ways that we have worked hard since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic to support businesses, especially tourism businesses in the Western Cape.”

Minister David Maynier also added: “International markets are a key economic driver for the tourism sector in the Western Cape, especially during the summer season, and will be critical to the survival of the sector. Which is why we have maintained from the start that national government must scrap the ‘red list’ and allow all visitors entry into South Africa subject to presenting a negative PCR test conducted at least 72 hours prior to departure, together with screening protocols.

“There is simply no greater risk for transmission of the Covid-19 virus based on the purpose of travel, yet the negative impact of continuing to limit the entry of leisure travellers to South Africa, especially from our key source markets, is severe and extreme. Cape Town and the Western Cape are open and we are travel ready! Our proposed alternative approach to international travel will ensure we can re-open the economy safely to prevent further job losses in the Western Cape and South Africa during the Covid-19 pandemic.”

Notes for media:
To read the statement online, watch the videos and download a soundbyte from Minister Maynier visit: https://www.westerncape.gov.za/news/safetravelscapetown-website-launched-assist-tourists-visiting-wc

Media Queries:

Francine Higham

Spokesperson for the Provincial Minister of Finance and Economic Opportunities

(Responsible for the Provincial Treasury and the Department of Economic Development and Tourism)

Tel: 021 483 4327

Cell: 071 087 5150

Email: francine.higham@westerncape.gov.za