Cape West Coast lands new tourism facility
December 12th, 2012
Following a turbulent run prompted mainly by the global economic crisis and ensuing recession, local tourism is slowly rediscovering its growth momentum.
According to South African Tourism (SAT) calculations based on StatsSA data, 5 209 618 foreign tourists visited South Africa during the first seven months (January to July) of 2012, an increase of 10.5% compared to the same period in 2011. The main source market was the rest of the African continent, with tourist arrivals from the continent rising by almost 8.5% in the first seven months of the year relative to the same period a year earlier.
“We probably won’t be seeing an immediate return to the pre-recession stellar-run but prospects in local tourism are visibly improving and the medium term outlook is indeed encouraging. In order to prepare the industry for growth and creation of employment opportunities, we need to diversify our product offering to include developing untapped tourism nodes such as sports and adventure tourism,” says Christine Engelbrecht, head of the Tourism Strategic Business Unit (SBU) and development financier, the IDC.
Speaking at the launch of Windtown Lagoon Resort and Spa-a 35 room facility in Langebaan, in Cape Town’ west coast, Engelbrecht says local tourism needs to prepare for the anticipated rebound in large part attributable to the success of the 2010 Soccer World Cup, which marketed the country as a ‘must-visit’ destination. Says Engelbrecht: “Over the past decade the number of middle-income households has grown exponentially, yet not much effort is being made to attract this market to the fold. Western Cape residents are remarkably renowned for their outdoor lifestyle and we are hoping that local clients will make full use of this newly opened facility.” The IDC invested in the project and has equity in the facility.
Managing Director of the newly opened Windtown facility Enerst Knoors says the facility which is barely a five minute walk to the Atlantic Ocean would be one of the draw cards to Langebaan. “The perfect winds and the cold waters of the Atlantic ocean make this a preferred destination for kite surfing enthusiasts spread across the globe. In addition, we have incorporated a kite surfing school in the business that allows for enthusiasts to take up lessons while lodging at the facility. According to Knoors, the project is envisaged to create up to 15 direct jobs in the medium to short term with the figure expected to increase during the peak November/December holiday season.
Dave Osborn who is the Tourism manager for the Saldanha area is upbeat regarding the region’s tourism prospects following the launch of the newly built resort. “This area is a world renowned site for kite surfing evident in the number of local and foreign tourists visiting the area and the fact that the operators of this new facility are well known in the global niche tourism industry. The West Coast has generally a broad range of unique attractions which if developed could help create jobs in this part of the country. We are excited that this up-market infrastructure will further help raise the profile of this region,” he says.
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