Tourism punt

Posted On Friday, 01 June 2001 03:01 Published by
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THE EASTERN CAPE could dominate the Indian Ocean tourism market, says Graham Vass, general manager of The Boardwalk Casino and Entertainment World in Port Elizabeth.

THE EASTERN CAPE could dominate the Indian Ocean tourism market, says Graham Vass, general manager of The Boardwalk Casino and Entertainment World in Port Elizabeth. Speaking at a Port Elizabeth Regional Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Percci) investment seminar, Vass said "people travel in
order to escape pollution, over-building, crowding, ruined scenery and look-alike facilities. They
are unlikely to return to holiday regions which seek to replicate that from which they have come.
The unique attraction of our province lies in the diversity of its cultural roots, the echoes of
its frontier history, and the call of our unspoilt natural places. To attract, and as important,
sustain an increase in visitors we must ensure that we pay prudent attention to vital concerns such
as environmental and cultural sustainability, well-mannered design in development, and above all,
the retention of the Eastern Cape's unique character. And there is no reason why economic
development and sensitivity cannot go hand-in-hand. Tourism is a multi-use, renewable resource.
Properly managed, it can generate income practically forever. If we adhere to that principle there
is every reason why the Eastern Cape, with Port Elizabeth as its gateway, should come to dominate
the Indian Ocean tourism market. That must be our goal", he said. Vass pointed out that
international tourism, which is worth $476-billion, is now the world's biggest export industry.
In South Africa, the total contribution to the economy from leisure tourism, excluding business
travellers, could exceed R45-billion this year. "The South Africa Foundation has estimated that
the tourism industry accounts for nearly 8,2 per cent of GDP, more than the seven per cent
represented by mining, and 1,1-million jobs, a sizeable proportion of formal sector employment in
the national economy. Furthermore, the Foundation believes that we can expect the industry to grow
at 5,5 per cent up to 2010, compared with global forecasts of 4,1 per cent," he said. Vass said
that South Africa needed greater diversity in its tourism asset base, as it did a greater balance
in their distribution. "We need more large scale tourism drawcards, especially in less advantaged
parts of the country, which act as investment nodes to attract visitors into South Africa's
undeveloped hinterlands. The Boardwalk is this type of hub, designed to encourage tourism flows
deeper into the Eastern Cape along the Emfuleni Corridor route network which we have established
with other partners in the private sector. Already we are seeing that the Boardwalk is developing
as a powerful visitor magnet for the region, and it is encouraging other investment in its immediate catchment area,
kick-starting a new cycle of tourism-generated urban renewal. At the other end of the corridor,
the Wild Coast Sun, which anchors it in the north east, is also providing the critical mass
necessary to stimulate business activity in that part of the province".

Publisher: CIMEC
Source: CIMEC

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