Steady growth in tourism


SUNSHINE Coast Tourism (SCT) reported a 30% growth in membership at its AGM which took place at the Halyards Hotel last week.

Mayor Sipho Tandani noted that the municipality had the support of Cacadu and commended tourism manager Sandy Birch for all she had done.

Tandani said he was very appreciative that Stenden South Africa decided to keep its campus in Port Alfred as it had done a lot to contribute to the economy and give back to the community.

TEAM WORK: Sunshine Coast Tourism (SCT) held its AGM at the Halyards Hotel last week. From left are tourism manager Sandy Birch, Cacadu project manager for tourism development and marketing Thandubuhle Mgudlwa, committee member Qame Mampana from Ndlambe local economic development (LED) and SCT chairman Carl Haller Picture: CANDICE BRADFIELD

Birch said that the Port Alfred Business Forum and SCT had been consolidated

One of the things tourism had achieved was forming the Ndlambe Heritage Society. They had also created a database of homestays in Nemato as well as a database of crafters.

“We have so many people who are incredibly talented in our area,” she said.

Birch said they have created a dynamic website which incorporates every town in Ndlambe and also started their monthly newsletter to let people know what is happening. She said they have also started networking evenings which have been very successful.

Birch said they have found a designer for galvanised totem pole signs which will have reflective lettering and will be placed at strategic intersections. This initiative will start in Port Alfred before moving on to the rest of Ndlambe.

Tourism is looking to take out blanket public liability insurance that will cover all events in Ndlambe.

Some of the event highlights of the past year include music concerts by the Parlotones, Kurt Darren, the Drakensburg Boys Choir and other big bands.

Expedition Africa, which will be showing on SABC3, SuperSport 1 and the Discovery Channel at the end of October, showcases the area very well, according to Birch. There will be seven episodes.

The Kenton Extreme festival and the Riparian festival were also significant events. The Bathurst Vintage Motocross, which was held for the first time this year, is set to become an annual event.

Birch said SCT chairman Carl Haller has agreed that Mansfield Family Fun Day, which was very successful, be held twice a year.

Residents and holidaymakers can look forward to Prime Circle and the Parlotones this holiday season, as well as the Ndlambe Jazz festival.

Tourism is planning to have a consolidated brochure made which will have a map of the whole of Ndlambe with hiking trails, klaces of interest and a list of everything there is to do in the area, said Birch.

Haller said their membership has grown from 80 to 120.

“We hope to reach 300,” he said.

Qame Mampana from Ndlambe’s local economic development (LED) said the municipality and tourism must work together.

“Our responsibility as a municipality is to develop infrastructure. Hard infrastructure, such as roads, and soft infrastructure, which is the vibe in the city,” she said.

Treasurer Mike Kirby said SCT was a non-profit organisation and expenditure for the past year had been about the same as their income, about R5-million.

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