Tourism fights to stay alive

Cindy Liebenberg
JEFFREYS BAY tourism is currently facing huge financial difficulties and the possibility of closing its doors has been mentioned.
However, chairman Andy Thysman said they will pull out all stops and fight for survival.
“We need about R10000 a month to survive and to run the office efficiently. We are appealing to all the businesses in town to please come on board and help us make this office the showpiece it needs to be.
“The tourism office is the first port of call for any tourist coming into town, and therefore it has to be seen as a professional entity capable of marketing the town and surrounds.”
Thysman claims they have received very little help from either the Kouga Municipality’s (KM) tourism department or the Eastern Cape Parks and Tourism Agency (ECPT).
According to him the top structures of the two entities are in collusion resulting in very little whittling down to the actual offices.
“A point in case is last year’s Billabong [festival],” said Thysman.
“The ECPT jumped on board and piggy-backed on the Billabong and not one cent found its way into tourism’s coffers.”
Thysman believes there are too many administrative structures and not enough ground work is done
The KM has repeatedly come under fire in the past for cutting the tourism grant and at times not paying it at all.
The Humansdorp office phones were discontinued on a few occasions because the bills were not paid.
Although the Jeffreys Bay and Humansdorp offices are both housed rent-free in municipal properties, they are responsible for all their running costs.
The KM has a fully staffed tourism department headed by portfolio councillor, Virginia Camelio- Benjamin, and managed by Cariena Strydom.
Camelio-Benjamin was unable to comment in time but has promised Our Times an interview in the coming week.
The membership fee for Jeffreys Bay tourism is R600 per year.
This affords the member a free website link and the right to display their promotional material at the offices. The front office also recommends their members on a rotation basis to customers.
To join the organisation, or for more info call (042)293-2923.

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