Alan Winde, Western Cape Minister of Economic Opportunities and Agriculture, visited the Cape Whale Coast on Friday, 21 April. Arriving via Clarence Drive his first stop was at Stony Point in Betty’s Bay. He met with Overstrand councillors Grant Cohen and Fanie Krige, staff of On the Edge Restaurant, Cape Nature management and tourism representatives. In the afternoon the Minister met with Overstrand Executive Mayor Rudolph Smith and his committee as well as with members of the business community.
Winde encouraged tourism role-players to focus on the unique elements of their destination and to highlight these in all marketing efforts. Every destination needs to set itself apart from all the other places competing for the tourists’ attention. He also said that data plays an important role in business management and decision making and it is critical for tourism businesses to understand who their markets are and what the special needs of these markets are. The Minister emphasised that quality data is valuable and there are many institutions willing to pay for access to reliable statistics. This is one aspect that tourism authorities should be paying more attention to.
Tourism is a business for all residents and petrol attendants, waiters and waitresses are as much in the tourism industry as any guest house owner. Therefore everyone needs to be equipped with knowledge of the area and the products available to ensure that they can answer questions and refer visitors to places of interest.
As an avid cyclist Minister Winde spoke of the Western Cape Cross Cape cycling route that will be launched next month. The Cape Whale Coast with all its cycling trails is part of this initiative that aims to open new job opportunities across different economic sectors. Tourism plays an important role in the economy of the Overstrand and we should always be alert to the opportunities offered by our region.