Plett’s tourism at a strategic crossroad

Plett’s tourism at a strategic crossroad
6th September 2017 Comments Off on Plett’s tourism at a strategic crossroad News Leon van Wyk

Plett’s tourism at a strategic crossroad

 

Plettenberg Bay tourism is growing, but needs a plan.

PLETTENBERG BAY NEWS – While tourism in Plettenberg Bay is growing, the industry is currently at a fork in the road.

Plett Tourism chairman Peter Wallington told the audience at the tourism body’s well attended AGM at the White House Theatre on Tuesday 29 August that the industry, which has a R2.2-billion direct tourism economy, was growing and needed a strategy.

“What might Plett look like tomorrow? Maybe it could be a concrete jungle, an industrial town or an unmanaged region. Or, does Plett build on its strengths, protect its primary asset – the environment, from the ocean to the beaches to the forests – and develop a sustainable, inclusive economy?” Wallington asked.

“We can change the footprint. In four years a new tourism category, the Plett Winelands, has emerged and is in the top three attractions. With support, we can bring new categories to life, for example the bird route, Plett trails, Plett Arts Festival, heritage and culture, adventure and many more,” Wallington said.

Wallington said that a number of studies for other tourism projects had only reached pre-feasibility status as a declining budget led to the termination of the consultant focusing on this. “A development unit remains a pressing challenge.”

Several concepts need to be explored. One of these is revitalising the Plett CBD through retail, entertainment, heritage, culture and accommodation aspects.

“The existing municipal offices in Sewell Street could be a conference or hotel or entertainment complex which anchors the CBD. A restaurant or coffee shop could be developed on the Signal Hill site.

“The Central beach precinct needs to be redeveloped , and consideration should be given to how a marina might be incorporated. Central beach should be linked via a boardwalk to Poortjies. This would connect a number of leisure places.”

In Kranshoek there is an opportunity to create a Griqua historical village, to refurbish the museum, add a theatre as well as Griqua retail and offer guided historical tours.

This, he said, should be linked via a tourism walkway to the Robberg Cultural Bridge, an interpretative centre potentially worth R150-million. “The preliminary site evaluation is done and significant external developers are involved.”

In Kwanokuthula there is an opportunity to create a tourism hub, to create a walkway which links to existing facilities like taverns, lounges, proposed market and the Simunye Centre.

In Qolweni a backpackers has been in progress for many years. “It can become a catalyst for development in Qolweni. A proposal was also submitted some time ago to create a Plett Nature Park in the area below Brackenridge and adjacent to the Piesang Valley community hall precinct.”

Wallington said that it has not only been smooth sailing for the entity over the past four years.

“Plett Tourism is bypassed by elements within the municipality which undermines work.” He said one-year agreements have impacted negatively on tourism.

He said by the end of November an overarching agreement would be in place recoginising Plett Tourism as an agent of the Bitou municipality.

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Leon van Wyk The InvestGardenRoute platform has been established by Leon van Wyk, a chartered accountant by training. His experience in accounting, financial management, strategy, management, corporate finance advisory and economic development consultancy stretches over three decades.