Attractions closed in Bay.
I am beginning to think the metro does not want tourists visiting our city and this is why:
This is not the first time we have had a problem, but I am now really fed up and it needs to be brought to the attention of the residents of this once beautiful city, so steeped in history.
On Sunday January 18, I had a large group of students from US who booked the art Route 67 tour. We started as usual from the Campanile to study the frieze, to be disappointed that everything was locked up.
So we could not see this beautiful piece of art and could not climb the Campanile. When on the Vuyisile Mini Square I was asked where there was a toilet as a lot of the students were in need.
I explained that there was one on the Donkin, so on we went, studying and discussing the artwork as we climbed the Donkin steps. Imagine my horror to find out that everything was closed up on the Donkin: no tourism office, no toilet and no entry to the lighthouse.
I had to cut the tour short as by this time everyone was suffering. At the little St Mary’s School House on the corner of Belmont Terrace sounds of joyous singing could be heard from a church service taking place, which the students so wanted to go to listen to.
That had to be cut short too to take the group early to the Phoenix Hotel, where they were going for lunch, just so they could get to a toilet!
On Saturday, my husband took a German tour group to Fort Frederick to discover it was closed. Went to the Donkin, where the group also needed toilets – they were closed so was the tourism office, therefore the lighthouse too. No 7 Castle Hill Museum, the South End Museum and the Campanile were closed.
The Red Location Museum is still closed so can the council please tell us what we can show our visitors, apart from the city centre which is also starting to look derelict? The library building – such a beautiful heritage site – looks terrible and there are trees growing out of the parapets.
The paving on the Vuyisile Mini Square is in a bad state and we have to constantly warn the tourists to watch where they are walking.
One German tourist commented: “I can see you have scrap yards here as there are drain covers missing.” This is right in front of our City Hall where the councillors walk daily!
The Post Office building is still in a state of repair as it has been for the last how many years! Newspaper House is looking dirty and derelict, and the Wool Board Building needs a good coat of paint.
I am pleased to see Pleinhuis has been painted and looks great.
The Donkin Reserve itself is terrible. The artwork is so beautiful and the visitors love what we have, but the grounds and paving, including the steps, are a disgrace and an embarrassment to us as guides and I am sure for the other guides as well.
If the powers that be could hear what guides from the other towns say about our city and how they hate to do a city tour in Port Elizabeth, especially those from Cape Town where they are so geared up for tourism, I wonder if it would make any difference! We as guides from Port Elizabeth feel so embarrassed and sad as we do our utmost to market and promote our city, but we get no assistance from the metro and just fight a losing battle.
That is why I have come to the conclusion that the Nelson Mandela Municipal Metro does not want tourists here.
-Lyn Haller, Umzantsi Afrika Tours