This is one of the leading sectors within the Western Cape. It has been suggested that the Garden Route region produces 22 different agricultural commodities of which 19 are exported. Examples of agricultural products being produced in the region: milk, cheese, butter, meat, ostrich products, vegetables, stone fruit, berries, grains, fish, wine, salad ingredients, herbs, flowers, hops, honey-bush tea, aloe products, olives, etc.
Opportunities exist to increase production levels to cater for the national and international markets; increasing valued-added products through the agro-processing food chain; production of food, etc.
Would it be possible for the region to increase its overall production by 50% or 100%?
The Garden Route and environs is an extremely attractive tourist destination for the local and international tourist market yet it lags far behind Cape Town in terms of visitor numbers. The challenge is to increase air travel and other tourists to the Garden Route region. An additional one Boeing 737 flight per day through George Airport would add 60 000 travellers.
The ability to attract additional tourism would depend on accommodation, the quality of attractions, activities and events, restaurants, etc. The season needs to be extended. Collaboration would be required to extend the offering of activities, establishment of new attractions, revitalisation of the Outeniqua Choo-Tjoe steam train, origin of mankind caves, adventure and sporting events, business tourism, conference centre facilities, etc. Opportunities exist within the arts and crafts niche to broaden this aspect of the existing market offering.
Oil and Gas
Opportunities exist to expand the petro-chemical sector in the Mossel Bay area.
Timber, Wood and Furniture
Opportunities need to be examined to maintain and expand production at existing sawmills and wood or furniture production facilities.
There are a number of excellent public and private schools with good reputations in the region as well as colleges. Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University’s George campus offers a range of courses to undergraduate and postgraduate students. The potential exists to expand the footprint of these education institutions to attract students from further afield to larger residentially based campuses.
The Garden Route region hosts eight of the top 30 golf courses in the country. The various mountain bike tracks offer 1 000 km of trails within forest, karoo and mountain conditions. These tracks are reputably some of the best mountain biking tracks in the country. In terms of adventure sport activities, the region hosts a wide variety from paragliding, to abseiling, canoeing, surfing, motorcycle trips to trail running. All of these activities offer further business opportunities.
Business Processing and Outsourcing
A number of call centres and insurance companies are located in the region with additional opportunities for similar operations.
IT, Electronics, Technology and Intellectual Property
A number of technology based companies are located in the region.
Although a variety of manufacturing companies operate within the region, there is room for expansion particularly for companies operating in environmentally-friendly industries.