ATC171115: Report of the Portfolio Committee on Tourism on oversight visit to Western Cape Province, dated 15 November 2017


Report of the Portfolio Committee on Tourism on oversight visit to Western Cape Province, dated 15 November 2017

The Portfolio Committee on Tourism (hereinafter referred to as the Committee) having undertaken the provincial oversight visit to Western Cape from 1- 4 August 2017, reports as follows:


  1. Introduction

The tourism sector in South Africa still reflects the economic imbalances of the past. The government developed the National Development Plan (NDP) aiming to eliminate poverty and reduce inequality in society by 2030. The tourism sector has been identified as one of the key drivers for job creation and dealing with the triple challenge of poverty, inequality and unemployment. To achieve these goals, Government developed the Medium-Term Strategic Framework (MTSF) 2014 - 2019, which outlines five-year policy priorities for the current government administration. Tourism is strongly featured in the MTSF priorities and provinces and municipalities play a pivotal role in delivering on a tourism mandate. To that effect, the Committee has undertaken oversight visit to five provinces since the inception of its tenure in 2014. The Western Cape was the sixth province to be visited in a quest to ascertain the state of tourism in the province and contribution to the ideals and priorities of the National Development Plan.

The Western Cape has a significant role to play in achieving tourism goals in the country. This province has diverse cultural backgrounds, creating a demographic profile quite different from the national pattern and attracts international tourists from many source markets.  In strengthening tourism development, the province developed Project Khulisa, which means 'cause to grow' in isiXhosa, which is a targeted action plan to accelerate growth and jobs in the province’s most competitive sectors, which includes tourism.

The latest statistics indicate the sustained growth trajectory for Western Cape as a destination in both international and domestic tourist arrivals. The province attracted 1.5 million foreign tourists in 2016 who spent R18 billion. This is an 18.5 percent year-on-year increase from 2015 figures. The foreign tourist spend grew by 21.6 percent. The domestic tourist arrivals reached 2.1 million, which was 16.9 percent growth year-on-year. The spend by domestic tourists was R2.5 billion, which is a 24.3 percent increase year-on-year.

It is encouraging to note that the 2016 tourism performance indicates that the Western Cape added 26 000 jobs to the tourism sector, taking the province closer to their goal of adding up to 100 000 jobs to the sector by 2019. In line with the province’s objective to position the province as a business destination, they have increased the value of conference bids secured from R280 million in 2014, to R425 milion in the 2016/17 financial year. In 2017 alone, the province has added over 400 000 new two way international airline seats to make it easier for visitors to reach Western Cape, bringing the new seat total to 2.6 million. Improved air access played a role in the provinces’ increased tourism numbers.

These aforementioned tourism performance indicators are consolidated provincial figures. The Committee was interested in ascertaining how various stakeholders contribute to this encouraging tourism performance of the province. The Committee therefore made a considered decision to conduct an oversight in the areas outside the major tourism hub of Cape Town. Southern Cape was deliberately chosen for its famous Garden Route to ascertain how this destination could contribute to more tourist arrivals in Western Cape. The recent fires which eviscerated tourism facilities in Knysna were also considered to guarantee that the National Department of Tourism and South African Tourism provide necessary support.


  1. Objectives of the oversight visit

The purpose and objectives of the oversight visit were:

  • To assess the state of tourism in Western Cape,
  • To ascertain cooperation and coordination amongst the spheres of government in developing, managing and marketing tourism,
  • To assess the programmes implemented to promote growth and development of the tourism sector in the province,
  • To assess the level of stakeholder participation by both the public and private sectors,
  • To assess the support for cultural, heritage, and township tourism,
  • To evaluate support for sustainable livelihoods with regards to small, medium and micro enterprises (SMMEs), and
  • To evaluate the implementation of the Working for Tourism programme in Western Cape.


  1. Committee Delegation

The Committee delegation comprised of the following members:




Name of Member


Political Party



Hon. B.T Ngcobo - Chairperson

Hon. L.S Makhubele-Mashele 

Hon. S.D Bekwa


African National Congress (ANC)

Hon. J. Vos


Democratic Alliance (DA)

Hon. T. Rawula

Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF)

Support staff


Mr. J. Boltina

Dr. P.S Khuzwayo

Ms. N. Tshoma

Ms. S. Govender

Mr. S. Kheteng

Mr. M. Phuzi    

Committee Secretary

Content Advisor

Committee Assistant

Parliamentary Communications Officer

Intern writer



During the oversight visit, the Committee was accompanied by the following officials: Ms M. Titus who is Parliamentary Liaison Officer for the Tourism Ministry; Ms N. Ntenetya who is Director responsible for tourism in the Western Cape Provincial Department Economic Development and Opportunities; Ms S. Chettiar who is Deputy Director-General: Destination Development from the National Department of Tourism; and Mr S. Ntshona who is the Chief Executive Officer for South African Tourism.


  1. The oversight process

During the strategic planning for its five-year tenure, the Committee took a decision to visit all the nine provinces to meet and have engagements with various tourism stakeholders. The Western Cape Province was the sixth province to be visited by the Committee. A number of meetings and discussion sessions were arranged in consultation with the MEC and through the Office of the Head of Department for Economic Development and Tourism in the province. The Committee’s perspective entailed the oversight visits to meet four broad objectives, namely, to receive a provincial perspective on the state of tourism in Province; to follow up on investments made by the National Department of Tourism (NDT) on the Working for Tourism projects in the province; to assess provincial tourism attractions and  their maintenance; and to engage tourism stakeholders to get an appreciation of the best practices, challenges and suggestions on how the three spheres of government can improve on tourism service delivery. The Committee had an opportunity to visit Cango Cave and the Cape Agulhas National Park as part of inspecting tourist attractions.


  1. The oversight schedule

The Committee developed an oversight schedule that incorporated interactions with a wide array of tourism stakeholders in the Province.

Figure 2: Oversight visit schedule


Meeting Place


Monday, 31 July 2017

Committee Travel


Tuesday, 1 August 2017

  1. Briefing on the state of tourism in the Oudtshoorn and Kannaland Municipalities                
  2. Site visit to Cango Caves  






Wednesday, 2 August 2017

  1. State of Tourism in  Knysna and Bitou Municipalities                
  2. State of Tourism in Mossel Bay and Hessequa Municipalities 





Mossel Bay

Thursday, 3 August 2017

  1. Travel to Hermanus   


  1. Project Site visit to Cape Agulhas National Park 


Cape Agulhas National Park




Friday, 4 August 2017

Committee meeting with Provincial Tourism Authority: WESGRO and DEDAT

Cape Town

  1. Briefing sessions by Municipalities on the state of tourism

The oversight trip included briefing sessions with municipalities within the Eden District Municipality. The sessions were intended to obtain a perspective on the state of tourism in the Garden Route and a synopsis of prospects, opportunities and challenges experienced by the province, in particular with regards to rural and coastal municipalities. The Committee understands that municipalities operate in an ever changing environment which poses unique challenges that have an impact on their day to day operations. These challenges often affect delivery of the constitutional mandate on local tourism. The municipalities through the implementation of their Integrated Development Plans (IDP) should capitalise on their strengths, compensate for weaknesses, exploit opportunities and strive to contain and reverse threats.    A number of municipalities were engaged with regard to the aforementioned realities on the ground as follows:


  1. Oudtshoorn Municipality

The Oudtshoorn Municipality is nestled at the foot of the Swartberg Mountains in the heart of the Little Karoo region. The area is defined as a semi-desert with a unique and sensitive natural environment. It falls within the Succulent Karoo Ecosystem which is as a Biosphere. The area was once the indigenous home of the Koi-San people and the rock paintings on the walls of the caves in the surrounding area. The municipal area includes the larger settlements of Oudtshoorn, Dysselsdorp, and De Rust, and the smaller rural settlements such as Volmoed, Schoemanshoek, Spieskamp, Vlakteplaas. The town lies within the boundaries of the Eden District in the Western Cape Province and spans over 3 535 km2.

5.1.1     Tourism performance

The municipality has a population of 95 945 and a total of 23 878 households. The top three economic sectors are wholesale and trade at 16.6 percent: finance, insurance and business services at 23.3 percent; and general government at 24.85 percent. The tourism sector contributes R849 million; supports 6 516 jobs which is 24.1 percent of job market share. The municipality has total tourism related budget of R2 836 000.00. This is a huge improvement from previous financial years where tourism was budgeted around R10 000.00

The major tourist attraction in the area is Cango Caves with the average of 250 000 visitors per annum. Patrons come mainly from Germany and United Kingdom. Over the past 5 years there has been an increase in tourist from India. The highest number of visitors are domestic tourists.

5.1.2     Current position in relation to tourism Sector 

The current strengths with regard to tourism supply in Oudtshoorn include the Cango Wildlife Ranch (Crocodile diving ); Guest Houses, Hotels and accommodation facilities; Wildlife Hiking trails , Bush & Game Safari’s; Ostrich farms; Cultural experiences and  historical tours; Wine and food experiences; Mountain biking; Swartberg Pass natural attraction and indigenous flora; Route 62 through the town  & N12 Treasure Route; Klein Karoo Arts Festival  & Klein Karoo Klassic Festival; International Cycling Event -  the Cape Pioneer Trek  & Fairview Attakwas Extreme MTB; Cricket South Africa - African Cup Tournament with teams from all over the continents; Meiringspoort and Cango Marathon; and Sports Festival.

5.1.3 Investment focus areas

The municipality needs investments in re-positioning the Cango Caves and investing in new infrastructure; creating more tourist related activities around the Cango Caves; completing the cycling pathway from ODN to the Cango Caves; expansion of the Team Building Institute to promote Business Tourism; re-positioning Cango Mountain Resort into Entertainment Village; expanding Cango Wildlife Ranch - introduction of new animals new experiences; upgrading and maintenance at Swartberg Pass; and promoting Indigenous Knowledge and Heritage Research Centre.

5.1.4     Creating new attractions and product mix          

In order to create new attractions to add to the product mix, investment is needed for religious Tourism- Catholic infrastructure Dysselsdorp, Jewish History; township tourism overnight facilities/ Shebeens; creating new sports infrastructure - Cycling Velodrome; developing a strategy to promote Public Art ; eexploring medical tourism opportunities; developing route to Historical Buildings; creating Wildlife Park & Nature Reserve around the Succulent Karoo Biosphere; positioning the town as hub in the film Industry; and linking Agri-Park & Agro-Processing with tourism (Ostrich, Olive, Honey Busch Tea.

5.1.5 Transformation

Endeavours to advance transformation include promoting and supporting Homestays; creating Community based Cultural Roots, such as Postbox project, cultural infrastructure; supporting transformation initiatives to acquire stake holding in tourism related businesses; identifying opportunities for specialist initiatives for specific markets such as the Indian Restaurant; expanding youth hospitality learnerships program; and entrepreneurship in unique transport means such as donkey carts, Tuck-Tucks, and Velskoen Shuffle 

5.1.6     Calendar of events

The area has a number of festivals and it is essential to create a calendar of events. This should incorporate positioning the town as sports mecca; strengthening the position of the KKNK; expand on the Klein Karoo Klassic; strengthening Cape Pioneer Trek; hosting of national and international cricket events; creating more sports events such as Meiringspoort and Cango marathon; creating more events in hospitality, culinary, food & wine; expanding the Sports Festival; and expanding the Christian/ Religion Festival

5.1.7     Branding and marketing

Oudtshoorn markets its products locally and internationally.  To maximise on branding and marketing, the municipality wants to create tourism friendly town, through signage; negotiate tourism packages with local attractions and sell it to tour operators; promote public art, crafting and musical events on the main tourist route; promote and appoint tour guides to support tourist; start project with tourist, accommodation facilities to promote basic skills of 1st contact staff to speak basic language of foreigners; source funding to expand on marketing the town at Fairs and international platforms; develop De Rust Market as small/ investment town for artist /corporates; and source external funding to backlogs in infrastructure, roads, water sanitation.

5.1.8     Coordination and challenges

Tourism is coordinated through the municipality and the De Rust Tourism. Funding is derived from the municipality; membership fees; fundraisers; and ad hoc contributions from benefactors in private sector.

Challenges include lack of funding; Cango Caves need urgent funding to do maintenance at building; lack cohesion in marketing efforts as these are very fragmented; lack of resources that can be allocated to the development of tourism initiatives; security concerns - problems with street children and vagrants; limited involvement of previously disadvantaged communities; seasonality; limited capacity available to coordinate tourism development and mobilising funding; difficulty profiling rural product offerings; ineffective economic empowerment and economic inclusion strategies; lack up-keep and upgrading of sport facilities like swimming pool, netball fields, etc.; roads (potholes) need to be fixed and maintained; and improve tourism road signage within the towns borders as well as street name signage.


  1. Kannaland Municipality

With regard to the tourist industry, eco-tourism in the Kannaland region is still not well- developed. The potential exists to extensively develop the sector and involve the proclaimed nature and conservation areas; river valleys; mountain ranges with fynbos and the flatter parts covered with succulent Karoo vegetation. 

5.2.1     Kannaland Municipality in geographical context

The Kannaland Local Municipality is a Category B municipality situated within the Eden District. It shares its borders with the Central Karoo District to the North and Cape Winelands District in the east. It is one of the seven municipalities in the district. Mainly, it consists of the magisterial district areas of Ladismith and Calitzdorp and includes, Zoar, Van Wyksdorp and Hoeko. The municipal area extends over a distance of 135 kilometres east-west and 45 kilometres north-south. There are a few prominent mountain ranges within the municipal area, namely the Warmwaterburg, the Rooiberg and Amalienstein ridge. Kannaland is linked by road to all other major centres, such as Oudtshoorn, Montagu, George, Mossel Bay and Port Elizabeth.   

5.2.2     Kannaland Municipality in economical context

Kannaland’s most important economical trades are tourism and agriculture, especially soft fruits, small stock, ostriches and lucerne.  The most prominent industrial development is found in Ladismith in the manufacturing of cheese, wine and fruit processing, with Calitzdorp also well-established in the latter two trades and extremely well-known for its quality port production.  The Calitzdorp Spa is also a household name in the region as tourist attraction.

Zoar and Van Wyksdorp suffer economically. Zoar was registered as rural area (under Act 9 of 1987) and is strongly aimed at agriculture but suffers from a lack of sufficient irrigation water, and Van Wyksdorp suffers due to it being removed from the main traffic routes and connected in between with a gravel road.  The single biggest limiting factor that impedes economic growth and development in the Kannaland Municipal Area is its inability to develop its inexhaustible tourism potential and resources to a maximum.


  1. Knysna Municipality

Knysna Municipality has a Service Level Agreement (SLA) with Knysna and Partners for the next 12 months to perform the tourism function in terms of destination marketing for the Greater Knysna. Municipality has a total of 1 256 formal and informal businesses of which more than half (51 percent) are in the retail, trade and accommodation sector. The Greater Knysna is home to 73 835 people.

The tourism trends for 2015 as compared to 2014 indicate that the municipality share of overseas visitors was at 37.9 percent, while the share of domestic visitors was at 61.2 percent. A total of 39.8 percent of visitors in the Garden Route stay overnight in Knysna which increases the tourism expenditure in the local economy. The majority of overseas visitors are from the United Kingdom at 20 percent. Most of the visitors make use of guesthouses and hotels for short stay accommodation. A visitor to the Garden Route stays a minimum of 2 days in the Greater Knysna. The growth in bed nights in Knysna occurred mostly for hotels and Guesthouses.

A total of 37 percent of revenue earned from tourism overnight stays visiting the Garden Route and Klein Karoo stay in Knysna, this is followed by Mossel Bay, George and Wilderness at 23 percent. The growth in demand for bed nights in the Garden Route and Klein Karoo increased from 24 percent to 51 percent in the Greater Knysna indicating an increased growth in the number of visitors staying overnight in Knysna.    

Internet/websites and word of mouth is the most common source of information used. Rented car is most favourable mode of transport to the Cape Garden Route and Klein Karoo. About 71 percent of domestic visitors indicated they would return to Knysna for a holiday, while 27 percent of international visitors indicated they would return for a holiday. Visitors choose the destination to relax, shop and take scenic drives and visit the beaches.

The gross growth product of the Greater Knysna has grown with 2 percent. The leading sectors are finance, business and real estate as well as trade and accommodation. The tourism industry is regarded as a key economic enabler for the Greater Knysna area and forms an integral part of Knysna Municipality’s Economic Development strategy.


5.3.1     Tourism industry post fire disaster

The incident overview of the fires indicates that fires started in the early hours on the 6th of June 2017 and Knysna Council declared a local state of disaster on 9th June. Due to the weather conditions and the drought the extent of the fire spread exponentially across the whole Knysna Municipality within hours of the start of the incident. The fire spread to a total of 35 areas across the Greater Knysna area from Sedgefield all the way to Brakenhill and across the municipal boundary towards Plettenberg Bay. Communities were evacuated from the start of the incident in most communities. A total of 16 000 hectare plantations and forest have been destroyed.

  1. Impact on tourism


  • A total of 36 tourism businesses were directly affected by the fire.
  • A total of 22 tourism businesses were completely destroyed and would not be able to continue with business as normal.
  • A total of 291 bed nights will no longer be available for the immediate future until these businesses are rebuilt or replaced.


  1. Support required:  
  • Funding
  • Accommodation
  • Replacement of equipment and office equipment
  • Assistance for retrenched staff
  • Food parcels for staff, and others


  1. Challenges for tourism:
  • Lack of clear focus and strategy from local government in terms of what must be invested into the industry to achieve growth and development.
  • Confusing brand.
  • Determine the needs of the industry and a more responsive platform for inputs.
  • Identify the growth trajectory for the Greater Knysna as a tourism destination.
  • Determine gaps in current product offering and marketing approach.
  • Align resources to a clear plan to invest in the right areas with measurable outcomes.
  • Clarify role of local municipality vs that of the industry bodies.
  • Appropriate funding model (in terms of MFMA) for local tourism authorities other than a grant in aid.
  • Ensure Council takes ownership of its strategy to drive implementation of tourism development as per the constitution.


  1. Planned projects for tourism

Knysna Municipality and Partners will focus on the following projects for the next 12 months:

  • There is a clear-cut Destination Marketing Plan for the 2017/18 financial year to market Knysna, particularly post the events of 7 June to the key source international Markets of United Kingdom, Germany, and Holland and the emerging Indian Market. 
  • Intensify the public relations and media coverage of Knysna through the appointment of a PR specialist both locally and internationally to ensure positive coverage in all trade and associated media.
  • Materially strengthen the association with South African Tourism (SAT) pursuance of the international and domestic tourism market and to nurture relationships with credible trade association like The Southern Africa Tourism Services Association (SATSA), Skal (a Travel Professionals Organisation), and others. 
  • Ensure that festivals and events are positioned and managed in the interests of all stakeholders and that the income streams are developed in the interests of all commercial interests as well as the public.


  1. Tourism Destination Plan

Knysna Municipality will focus on completing the Tourism Destination Plan. Due to the numerous questions regarding the mandate of the local Government, the Council resolved in November 2016 to commence on a research journey in order to develop a tourism destination plan to allow for a coordinated approach to tourism development in the municipal area:

  • The Now – to determine what is working and what is not in terms of promoting the area. Determine what sells Knysna and identifying the current risks.
  • The Future - to identify destination potential and opportunities. Identify needs and requirements for destination marketing services. To determine what is required of Knysna Municipality in relation to selling the destination.
  • The Implementation Framework – to identify the gaps and determine the service and intervention requirement. List required actions per category of framework. Prioritise actions linked to clear outcomes, impact and implementation programme, and identify the most suitable vehicle to implement the actions.

5.3.2     Focus areas for Tourism Destination Plan

The focus was on unpacking the destination in relation to the following components:

  • Services needed to offer tourists.
  • Infrastructure required in order to function as a world class tourism destination.
  • Marketing of the destination.
  • Products required to develop to be a diverse and relevant destination with sufficient attraction value.

5.3.4     Actions and support required

The success of the tourism destination plan will require commitment from both Knysna Municipality and tourism role-players to focus resources on achieving the vision for the destination:

  • Investment is needed with regards to developing tourism infrastructure like the railway line for the Choo-Tjoe Train.
  • Support is required in terms of developing more BEE tourism product owners and an incubator project is proposed. Support is required from Department of Tourism and Department of Small Business in this regard.
  • Stronger relationships are needed with the National Department of Tourism as well as South African Tourism with both Knysna Municipality and Knysna and Partners to ensure strategic alignment of projects and programmes.


  1. Bitou Municipality

The following tourism related issues were raised with regard to Bitou Local Municipality:

5.4.1     Local Economy

The Bitou Local Economic Development (LED) strategy is an approach towards economic development that allows and encourages local people to work together to achieve sustainable economic growth and development, thereby bringing economic benefits and improved quality of life to all residents in a local municipal area. The strategy focuses on enhancing the local business environment in order to increase sustainable growth and development in the area. It ensures that the growth is inclusive of all communities. It is intended to maximise the economic potential of municipal localities and enhance the resilience of macroeconomic growth through increased local economic growth, employment creation and development initiatives within the context of sustainable development. The “local” in economic development points to the fact that the political jurisdiction at local level is often the most appropriate place for economic intervention, as it carries alongside it the accountability and legitimacy of a democratically elected body.





5.4.2     Economic intervention

The different Local Economic Development (LED) programs provide support in the following areas:

  • Provide a policy environment to nurture economic development within the Bitou Municipalities
  • Developing and reviewing the smart procurement environment to enhance and increase local economic opportunity.
  • Providing indirect and hands-on support to SMME’s
  • Managing and providing technical support sectoral planning processes
  • Facilitating, coordinating and monitoring donor and related programmes
  • Assisting with LED capacity-building processes.
  • Arranging stakeholder engagements to promote investment in the Bitou Municipality

Through these interventions and resources, local role players and interest groups are mobilized for the sake of achieving economic growth and creating jobs to reduce poverty. The Bitou Municipal area’s economy is mainly based on the wholesale and retail trade, catering and, accommodation; construction; finance, insurance, real estate and business services; community, social and personal services and agriculture and fisheries sectors. All of these sectors and services are underpinned by a healthy tourism sector that is seen to be the main economic driver in the area. In the Municipal Economic Review and Outlook Report (MERO Report) of 2016 completed by Provincial Treasury, Bitou economy received a positive rating.  In order to meaningfully address this Bitou Municipality will have to play a central role in identifying and managing the economic regeneration needed to improve the quality of life for all its residents.


  1. George Municipality

George Local Municipality plays a critical role in the region as it has the airport that brings tourists into the Garden Route. The following tourism related issues were raised with regard to George Local Municipality:

5.5.1     Local Economy

George Municipality’s 4th Generation Integrated Development Plan for 2017-2022 highlights that in order to grow the local economy of George, the Municipality has to create an enabling environment which will attract investment into the area. This will stimulate economic activity and result in new business sales and job creation to alleviate poverty. The aim is to ensure that an annual growth rate of 8 percent is achieved, and important to focus on retaining and expanding established businesses in the municipal area. This will be done through business retention and expansion strategies.

In order for the economy of the area to grow it is essential that the correct infrastructure is in place to accommodate the current and new business activities. Therefore, infrastructure investment has to be a primary focus for the next 10 to 15 years. The leading sectors, such as the finance and business services sector, need to be stimulated to ensure that George is a regional services hub in the Garden Route and Klein Karoo area. Sector strategies need to be developed to ensure economic stimulation to promote agro-processing which is linked to the manufacturing sector as well as tourism development specifically for the sports and business tourism industry.

Due to the importance of the educational facilities such as Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU) and South Cape College, education needs to be seen as a priority in terms of future growth potential of the municipal area. George is also becoming an important role-player in the green industry relating to solar energy and other green industries which promote clean manufacturing principles. This provides an opportunity for George to become a national benchmark.

5.5.2     The challenges   

The following challenges have an impact on growing the area:

  • Revitalising the Central Business District; and
  • Job creation through the Extended Public Works Programme (EPWP)



  1. Mossel Bay Municipality

Mossel Bay was officially proclaimed a town in 1848 and in 1852 it became a Municipality. As a result of the new municipal dispensation introduced by the South African Government in December 2000 the Municipality of Mossel Bay was merged with those of the much smaller Friemersheim, Great Brak River and Herbertsdale to establish the present-day Municipality of the Mossel Bay. The municipal area demarcation is 2007 square kilometres in size and includes the towns and / or settlements of Mossel Bay, Boggoms Bay, Brandwag, Buisplaas, D'Almeida, Dana Bay, Glentana, Fraaiuitsig, Friemersheim, Great Brak River, Hartenbos, Herbertsdale, Hersham, KwaNonqaba, Little Brak River, Outeniqua Beach, Reebok, Ruiterbos, Southern Cross, Tergniet and Vleesbaai. It is situated on the N2 approximately halfway between the coastal cities of Cape Town and Port Elizabeth. It is bordered by the Municipalities of George to the east, Langeberg to the west and Oudtshoorn to the north. Its western boundary is the Gouritz River and its northern boundary the Outeniqua mountains. To the east it stretches to the Maalgate River. Its main economic activities are agriculture (aloes, cattle, dairy, ostriches, sheep, timber, vegetables and wine), fishing, light industry, petro-chemicals and tourism.

5.6.1     Mossel Bay Tourism Competitive Advantage

The participatory assessment of competitive advantage process identified two features that set Mossel Bay apart as a tourist destination. Firstly, Mossel Bay is situated in a unique natural environment that includes marine, coastal, vegetative, and mountainous components. Secondly, it offers a greater number of things to-do attractions, adventures, activities, entertainment than other towns of similar size.

Mossel Bay is emerging as an important centre for research, including Archaeology Project, Whale, Dolphin and Shark research. Due to their length of stay and spend the researchers, interns and volunteers are important tourists to the town. In terms of History and Culture, Mossel Bay is the place where Europeans first set foot on the local soil in 1488. The annual Diaz Festival is a cultural event that is now attracting attention from all over the world.         

The town is an important sporting hub and attracts various national and international events and not forgetting the annual Mossel Bay Sports and Recreation Festival which is held annually during the September school holidays. Mossel Bay also provides beachfront accommodation for all budgets which is a unique situation because beachfront accommodation is usually available only to high spenders. The harbour attracts Cruise Liners who visit in season which is a benefit to the whole region. There is excellent cooperation between Municipality and Mossel Bay Tourism.

5.6.2  Strategic Tourism Priorities for 2017/18

The Mossel Bay Municipality will focus on the following tourism strategic priorities: 

  • Creating awareness of the greater Mossel Bay area as a long stay destination of choice and constantly remind visitors of the varied activities, attractions, different offering of accommodation and rich cultural heritage.
  • Introducing visitors both domestic and international to the Point of Human Origin where evidence of human behaviour dating 165 000 years ago has been discovered.
  • The establishment of the Pinnacle World Heritage Interpretive centre at the Point quarry and to position Mossel Bay as a science tourism destination.
  • The declaration of the various caves along the coast as World Heritage Sites, and the continuation of Travel Mossel Bay.

Tourism 2017/18 Strategic Priorities include to address seasonality; entice high level sporting events; re-establish and aggressively market the Garden Route and Klein Karoo brand and work in tandem with neighbouring towns; encourage employers to send their staff for service excellence training; develop local tourist route via previously disadvantaged areas; Port Development/Waterfront to revive economic activity in the CBD and to stimulate tourism; and develop tourist walking tour exploring Mossel Bay’s stone buildings in the CBD.

5.6.3     Tourism Marketing Plan

The marketing plan takes cognisance of the situation in Mossel Bay by targeting niche markets via targeted campaigns. These include sports tourism; Food and Wine; edu-tourism; environmental tourism; cultural tourism; domestic and family tourism; events tourism; and international tourism

  1. Challenges

The Municipality has identified key interventions of catalytic nature to turnaround the dwindling local economy. These interventions include revitalisation of the Central Business District; upgrading and renewal of the Point Area; human origin archaeology; discoveries and the Development of an Interpretive Centre; harbour development; and presenting annual festivals.


  1. Hessequa Municipality

The Hessequa Local Municipality is a Category B municipality situated within the Eden District in the Western Cape Province. It lies at the foot of the Langeberg Mountains, with its boundaries stretching along the Southern Cape coast from the Breede River in the west to Gouritsmond in the east. It is the largest of seven municipalities in the district, making up a quarter of its geographical area. The N2 National Road forms the main transportation conduit across the municipality.

Hessequa has a moderate climate. Rainfall occurs predominantly in winter and reaches totals of 300 mm inland to 1 000 mm on the coast. The Little Karoo in the rain shadow of the Langeberg is the driest region. Agricultural activities are largely determined by the local rainfall pattern. Most of the basal geology in Hessequa has been influenced by the Cape Fold Belt, which has caused the east-west heading mountains generally comprising hard quartzite sandstone and thin shale bands of the Table Mountain Group.

Hessequa’s vegetation falls within the Cape Floral Kingdom, which is characterised by its exceptional richness in plant species. More than 8 700 species are known to occur, of which two thirds are endemic. About 75 percent of all plants in the South African Red Data Book are found in the Cape Floral Kingdom. Of these species, about 1 700 are threatened with extinction. The major biomes occurring within Hessequa may be divided into nine major vegetation groups. The municipality is constituted by the cities / towns of Albertinia, Gouritz, Heidelberg, Jongensfontein, Riversdale, Slangrivier, Stilbaai, Witsand/Port Beaufort.

5.7.1     Current State of Tourism in Hessequa

Location of tourism is within the local municipality, and there are three Tourism Bureaux in (Heidelberg / Stilbaai and Albertinia). There are a few established tourism products that attract international visitors, including (nverroche, Aloe products, Garden Route Game Lodge, Botterkloof Resort, Biltong factory, Baleia Wines, Pili Pili Adventure Centre).  Hessequa is a popular peak-season destination with Blue Flag Beaches, and untapped potential in Eco and outdoor/adventure tourism. There is a need to diversify products (leisure, arts & culture, heritage, adventure, scenic) in the area.

Tourism is not an economic sector on its own, but rather a combination of various sectors and forms part of other sectors, such as, trade, transport, accommodation and finance sectors. Due to its increasing importance as income and employment generator, the opportunity exists to investigate the tourism value chain (types of tourism offerings) to create linkages and routes. Other opportunities include tourism infrastructure, transport, signage, basic services, information centres and databases, marketing, developing and improving facilities and human capital. There is potential for further growth, if the municipality can attend to the diversification of products; potential for major events (Nature/Adventure-based); unrecognised brand; inadequate signage; lack of ownership and collaboration; no beneficiation of tourism in local communities; and lack of statistics.

5.7.2     Planned Projects

In Hessequa, a number of planned projects have been identified as key drivers for development of tourism in the area including tourism audit of products and services; market analysis of visitors; route development; reigniting the Explorer’s Garden Route Brand; standard and quality assurance programme for accommodation sector; information collection and dissemination; skills assessments and training; tourism events and festival support; and media educational material

5.7.3     Challenges

Hessequa Municipality, as part of its local government mandate, is in a process of developing an Economic Development Strategy, which is a review of the 2014 document. The aim of the process is to provide the Municipality, the private sector, and the local community of Hessequa the opportunity to develop a planning manual that promotes economic growth, facilitates job creation opportunities and addresses poverty and inequality within the area. The focus of the strategy is to enhance the local areas competitive environment, by identifying existing resources, infrastructure and skills within the area, leveraging of resources to create opportunities for all, therefore contributing to inclusive sustainable economic growth. These opportunities will need to be packaged into an implementation framework which will be the guideline as to how existing economic potential can be utilised to generate positive spin offs for the local economy.

The Economic Development Strategy has to respond to the challenges, including lack of shared vision; seasonality of tourism industry; the N2 which is used as transit area through Hessequa Region; inadequate strategic approach to seizing tourism opportunities; inadequate planning and coordination structures locally; ineffective stakeholder engagements; insufficient and unreliable information to inform policy, planning and decision-making; little or no graded accommodation facilities due to cost; national projects and programmes and support not filtered through to local municipality; limited support and funding; and developed routes creating a tourism experience.


  1. Project Site visits

The Committee visited two projects, namely the Cango Caves and the Cape Agulhas National Park. The rationale for visiting these projects was to check the state of tourism attractions in the region and progress made on projects funded through the Working for Tourism programme.   


  1. Cango Caves

The Caves offer a fascinating pilgrimage through time. Their caverns began forming 20 million years ago when acidic ground water chemically eroded the 100 million year-old limestone rock, although todays dramatic stalactites and stalagmites began growing only when the water which once filled the Caves drained away, a mere three million years ago. Man has visited Cango Caves since ancient times and Southern Africa’s earliest people found shelter for more than 80 000 years before the Caves were historically described in 1780 by Dutch descendants. The Caves have since become one of South Africa’s most frequently visited tourist attractions. 

Available cave tours include Heritage and Adventure tours which are approximately 60 and 90 minutes respectively. Visitor numbers from 2012 to 2016 indicate that the Caves are visited by approximately 250 000 visitors per year.

  1. Challenges

Tourism in Oudtshoorn Local Municipality and the Cango Caves are facing the following challenges that need urgent

  • Creating new experiences to encourage visitors to stay longer
  • Seasonality
  • Funding
  • Decline in domestic tourism

6.1.2     Community Outreach

The following outreach programmes are implemented by the Cango Caves management and Oudtshoorn Local Municipality:

  • Tourism industry works closely with other government departments
  • Department of Correctional Services inmates hosting
  • Department of Social Services
  • Department of Basic Education on educational programmes   



  1. Cape Agulhas National Park

In 2004 an organisation called Setplan was appointed to prepare a Precinct Plan for the Southernmost Tip of Africa within the Agulhas National Park. The strategic planning study focused mainly on the Lighthouse Gateway Precinct as a tourist destination, as well as input on the southern tip, with the assistance of Bernard Oberholzer Landscape Architect.  In 2010, a competition was held by the Department of Finance, Economic Development and Tourism (DEDAT) of the Provincial Government of the Western Cape, in partnership with SANParks, to generate concept ideas for an icon to celebrate the southern tip of Africa. The brief required that the national and international significance of the place be reflected in the concept, as well as the spiritual nature of the place. Four winners of the competition were announced, who subsequently formed the current Agulhas Icon Design Group.

In 2014 Piet Louw and Dave Dewar, Architects and Planners, were commissioned to prepare heritage indicators for the southernmost point (Foot of Africa), to be submitted to Heritage Western Cape. The same firm prepared an updated urban design layout and architectural briefs for the lighthouse precinct. In addition an environmental impact assessment (EIA) was prepared by Enviroworks for the work at the southern tip. In late 2014 the Agulhas Icon Design Group was formally appointed by SANParks to prepare sketch plans and detailed documentation for the implementation of the icon design and related works. The start date for this contract was the 01 December 2014. This Stage 1 Report is the first phase of the Southernmost Tip Icon Project.

6.2.1     Site Characteristics

The project site has characteristics for both national and international interest, and continental Africa significance.

  1. Site Location

Cape Agulhas lies about 200 kilometres east of Cape Town in the Western Cape Province. The geographical tip of the African continent is located about 1 km to the west of the historical Agulhas lighthouse precinct, within the Agulhas National Park and adjacent to the Agulhas and Struisbaai settlements. The rocky outcrop along the coast is recognised internationally as the dividing line between the Atlantic and Indian Oceans. The Suiderstrand gravel road passes just north of the southern tip, while a small section of private land separates the road from the southern tip.

  1. Geology and the Grain of the Landscape

A brief survey of the geology, (van Wieringen, 2004), was made as part of the earlier Lighthouse Precinct Plan. At a broad level the landscape is characterised by three distinct environmental zones. The rocky coastal shelf, which consists of quarzitic sandstones of the Peninsula Formation, Table Mountain Group. The sandstone beds have been up-ended over geological time to form the characteristic needle-like outcrops; a wider coastal terrace, being a wave-cut platform about ±5m AMSL, which is flat and consists of shallow Aeolian sand with shells overlying the sandstone bedrock; and an escarpment set back from the coast, consisting of dune sands and calcarenites of the Waenhuis Formation, with lenses of calcrete, which have been eroded in places to form shallow caves, such as the one near the lighthouse.

The grain of the land runs in a NW-SE direction as revealed in the rock strata along the coast, the ridge on which the lighthouse is located and the small peninsula projecting into the sea. This directional ‘grain’ is clearly visible on aerial images of the area. The geological structure determines in turn the drainage pattern in the form of gullies and seeps in the area, which follow the NW-SE strike if the bedrock.  

  1. Geotechnical Investigation

A more recent geotechnical site investigation was carried out for the proposed southern tip icon site by Core Geotechnical Consultants (June, 2012). There are three distinct landscape zones in and around the icon site. The beach zone adjacent to the existing monument, which consists of transported cobbly gravelly sand with shell fragments, about 1.7 metres deep before quartzitic sandstone bedrock is encountered; the elevated berm just north of the existing boardwalk consists of a 1.5 metres - 2.0 metres deep layer of medium dense sub-rounded sandstone boulders, cobbles and gravel in a slightly silty sandy matrix overlying 1.0 metres to 2.0 metres of transported fine to medium sand containing isolated cobbles and gravel; inland of the berm, surface soils consist of loose transported sand. Bedrock occurs within 1.0 metres to 1.5 metres of ground surface, with depth to bedrock increasing further south towards the berm.

Groundwater was not encountered in any of the test pits. The cobbly and sandy surface soils are expected to have a moderate to high infiltration rate and are thus relatively fast draining. Ponding of water on the surface is therefore not expected. The investigation was conducted during the winter period and there was no evidence of a perched water table within any of the test pits. In summary, the drainage characteristics and workability as a construction material were considered to be good.

  1. Archaeological Survey

An archaeological and heritage assessment for the lighthouse and Southern Tip precincts was carried out by The Agency for Cultural Resource Management (2004). Archaeological remains include Later Stone Age shell middens at the southernmost point and dunes to the west of the southernmost tip. A number of well-preserved fish traps occur east of the lighthouse, clearly visible at low tide, and are believed to have originated among Later Stone Age people. They are thought to have been successfully used and maintained by communities at Elim into the 20th century. The Agulhas coastline is known as the ‘Graveyard of Ships’, with some 143 shipwrecks, ranging from wooden sailing vessels to modern fishing trawlers.  

  1. Vegetation Survey

According to a botanical survey carried out at Agulhas, (Euston-Brown, 2004), a wide range of vegetation types occur in and around the Southern Tip site, the types being a response to substrate and distance from the coastline. These include strand-veld and dune-veld communities with a high abundance of succulent species. Some of the communities are highly sensitive because of their restricted habitat at the edge of the sea. The vegetation plays an important role in stabilising wind-blown sand, and is sensitive to trampling. The maze of both vehicular tracks and footpaths are seen as a problem, and the construction of the boardwalk was probably seen as a way of controlling pedestrian traffic to the southernmost point.

  1. Existing Infrastructure

No power or water is available at the southern tip site. Access to the site is via the Suiderstrand Road and an informal gravel track to a parking area about 150 metres from the actual southernmost point. The parking area is probably too close to the shoreline and would be relocated in the long term. A timber boardwalk with rope handrails has been constructed along the coastline in recent years, to cater for the physically disabled and to protect the vegetation.

6.2.2     Planning and Design Informants

The 2004 Cape Agulhas Tourism Development Framework sets out the vision for the southernmost point as “to establish the southernmost point as a sustainable icon attraction in the Cape Agulhas region by embracing its physical and spiritual attribute.” To protect the visual integrity, it recommends a ‘cordon sanitaire’ around the southernmost tip, where ideally no man-made structures, which do not support and enhance the tip, should be permitted.

More recently, heritage indicators and an urban design concept for the southernmost point, (Louw and Dewar, 2014), have been formulated to guide the design and implementation of the icon project, for submission to Heritage Western Cape. The study indicated that “the central heritage issue is maintaining and enhancing the landscape integrity of the site over time”.  To this end the study identified a ‘Foot of Africa’ isolation zone - a zone that best captures the character of the place, where development should be kept to an absolute minimum. The study further defines 3 domains based on topographical structure.

These primary, secondary and tertiary coastal zones are similar to those identified in the 2004 Lighthouse Precinct Plan. It was recommended that the primary coastal zone should have no human interventions, and that any development should be located behind the higher ground (the berm to the north of the existing boardwalk). The 5-metre contour is also seen as a coastal buffer zone.  The integrity of the primary coastal zone has previously been interrupted by man-made intrusions such as the boardwalk and parking area.      


  1. Committee observations

The Committee made a number of observations from various activities conducted during the oversight visit. The recommendations to the Minister of Tourism and the MEC for Economic Development and Tourism in Western Cape are based on those observations. The observations are as follows:


7.1        Leadership

The Committee was pleased with the level of political leadership on tourism matters in all the municipalities visited. There were municipal mayors and councillors in all the stakeholder meetings that were convened. This led to constructive discussions and provided inputs from council perspectives. The Committee addressed issues with their political counterparts at local level and made sense of issues raised by stakeholders. This was reciprocated by attendance of municipal managers and senior staff members in all the stakeholder meetings. This indicates that despite tourism challenges faced at a local level, there is a high level of political will in driving tourism development.


7.2        Transformation imperatives

The Committee noted perceptions of continued marginalisation of previously disadvantaged communities in the mainstream tourism. For example, stakeholders in Oudtshoorn municipality, especially the Tourism Transformation Mission (TTM), made a plea that tourism in Oudtshoorn should be remodified and depoliticised.  Similar issues were raised in other areas including Mossel Bay and Hessequa. The common thread in all stakeholder meetings was that the tourism industry in the area is still owned and dominated by previously privileged sectors of the community. The Committee however noted that there are vast opportunities to involve communities through the development of new products and experiences. These include opportunities in cultural and heritage tourism; development of local routes; sports tourism; mountain biking; oceans economy; township tourism; and arts and craft products. This also extends to the opportunity of establishing homestays to offer authentic African tourism experiences.

The Committee urged local authorities to create an enabling environment for tourism development in the province. The Committee expressed that it is critical for municipalities to engage communities in exploring all opportunities for tourism development available in the area, especially niche products and experiences.


7.3        The Business case for tourism

The Committee expressed a concerned about municipalities which are not prioritising tourism and not allocating adequate human resources and budgets to fulfill the tourism function. The Committee observed that whilst other municipalities in the province have embraced tourism as an important sector in driving local economic development, others were still lagging behind. It was shocking to discover that some municipalities have allocated as little as R10 000.00 for tourism the recent financial years. This continues despite attempts at a national level to create a business case for tourism in the engagements amongst the National Department of Tourism; Department of Cooperative governance and Traditional Affairs and the South African Local Government Association. The Committee learned that some municipalities do attend the Biannual Local Government Tourism Conference that assists municipalities in building a business case for tourism whilst others have never attended.

The Committee is aware that the National Department of Tourism in its coordinating efforts has developed a Planning Toolkit for Local Government that assists with planning and coordination, and determining the resources and budgets needed for tourism at a local level. Despite these efforts, municipalities are still struggling with prioritising tourism. The Committee expressed a necessity for a concerted effort by the MEC for Economic Development and Tourism to assist all municipalities within the province to develop a business case for tourism.


7.4        Supporting tourist guiding as a trade

The Committee noted challenges faced by Tourist Guides in the region. These include a lack of factual manuscripts for the area incorporating the Cango Caves; lack of new experiences to show to tourists; and tourists enquiring about authentic tourist experiences. The Committee also observed that the Tour Guides in the Cango Caves are ageing and there is no succession planning to replace them. The average age of the Tourist Guides at the caves is high and it is essential to ensure continuity after the current Site Guides retire. The Committee was pleased with the enthusiasm displayed by local Tour Guides and see view this as a perfect opportunity to introduce new guides. The local authorities indicated a requirement for the development of new experiences which will create more work opportunities for Tourist Guides. This should be pursued by all stakeholders in the area including the private sector.



7.5        The Rebuild Programme for Knysna

The Committee expressed an astonishment and was distressed by the extent of the devastation caused by the recent fires to the tourism properties in Knysna. The municipality and tourism stakeholders in the area reported that 33 tourism businesses were affected, with 22 businesses being raised to the ground. This resulted in 291 beds being completely lost in the destination. The Committee was however encouraged by the Rebuild Programme championed by the provincial government with the participation of national government departments. This is commendable as stakeholders in Knysna had indicated that to recover they need much more than money.

As agonising as the situation is, the fires have presented an opportunity to rebuild new and better tourism facilities in the area. It was encouraging to observe that the tourism stakeholders and businesses affected by the fire were eager to rebuild their facilities which will be graded at a higher level and provide improved facilities and services to the tourists.

The Committee commends the swift response by South African Tourism in providing positive messages to the international and domestic tourists confirming that Knysna is open for business despite the recent fire tragedy. The National Department of Tourism is also commended for putting together a Working for Tourism package to ensure that the people who lost their jobs remain within the area so that their valuable skills are not lost when the facilities are revived and back in business.


7.6        A call for a National Tourism Disaster Management Strategy

The Committee noted that there were many messages from various government and private sector institutions communicating the state of tourism in Knysna during June 2017 disaster fires. This demonstrated that there is no cohesive and synchronised Disaster Response Strategy and a one-stop-shop for information during natural disasters and other calamities. This has also been observed during incidents of accidents and crimes committed against tourists throughout the country. To provide a coordinated response during disasters, the Committee strongly advocates for the development of a National Tourism Disaster Management Strategy that will coordinate all the stakeholders at a national, provincial and local level.


7.7        Quality assurance in the Garden Route

The Committee voiced a concern that some businesses within the Garden route had taken a decision not to enrol in the national grading system implemented by the Tourism Grading Council of South Africa (TGCSA). The stakeholders indicated that the cause for non-participation in the grading scheme is the cost involved and no value-for-money in being graded. This is a cause for concern for the Committee since the grading scheme administered by the TGCSA is meant to ensure quality assurance within destination South Africa. Any misrepresentation of the tourism industry within the Garden Route may have serious ramifications for South Africa. The Committee is confident that the Tourism Bill to be introduced by the Minister of Tourism within the 2017/18 financial year in Parliament will address the challenges raised by stakeholders. The Bill should put the interest of the country first to guarantee quality assurance and increased competitiveness for destination South Africa. The Committee expressed a view that grading should be compulsory to eliminate discretionary enrolment in the quality assurance scheme.


7.8        Maintenance of tourist attractions

The Committee was satisfied with the maintainace of tourist attractions in the province. The Cango Caves which is one of the world’s renowned show caves in the world is in a good state and attractive to tourists. The excellent upkeep of the caves has ensured that more than 2.5 million visited the area in the 2015/16 financial year and generated more than R 17 million in revenues. This is a huge improvement given that in 2015 the The National and Provincial government agreed to intervene in the Oudtshoorn Local Municipality, in terms of section 139 (1) (b) of the Constitution as a corrective measure of last resort, to bring stability, good governance and service delivery for all residents in the municipality. This Section 139 intervention also included the Cango Caves being put under administration.

The Committee appreciated a number of initiatives that Cango Caves has in place to ensure memorable experiences for tourists. In addition to the natural grandeur of the cave, it has rich history. This history informs tourists that the Cango Cave is South Africa’s oldest tourist attraction; it was the first to be protected by environmental legislation; it is the first to employ a fulltime tourist guide; and that it is the first show cave to have a radio communication system that allows the guides to communicate with the outside world via these radios.

The Committee noted current interventions at the caves to deal with growth of fungus due to lighting used to direct tourists inside this attraction. This intervention is critical in maintaining the natural integrity of the caves and mitigating human effects on this natural attraction.


7.9        Strengthening brand equity

The Committee noted that municipalities within the Garden Route use different brands. In particular, the Eden Municipality is confusing when it is used simultaneously with the Garden Route in the marketing material. The Committee was however enthused by the undertaking made by Eden District Municipality to change its name to Garden Route District Municipality. This will strengthen the brand equity for the Garden Route and eliminate brand confusion in the target markets.


7.10      Levering on marketing activities

The Committee was concerned that the municipalities within the Garden Route have an unhealthy adversarial competition with regard to their marketing activities. This is evident when the municipalities attend marketing platforms such as Indaba, World Travel Market, and others. Attendance by many stakeholders from the same region causes duplicates marketing efforts. This culminates in expensive marketing campaigns and wastage of already thin budget. The Committee expressed a view that the Garden Route should be marketed as a homogenous destination with varied but complementary experiences. The focus should be more on the experiences rather than political municipal boundaries. To address specific municipal interests, smaller complementary routes could be established within the Garden Route to highlight specific experiences.




7.11      Competing events in the destination

The Committee established that the province has a number of events that draw tourists from different interests, tastes, and preferences. The province and municipalities are commended for conceptualising and hosting such events, especially in the garden Route. The Committee is cognisant of the benefits of events in combating and mitigating the tourism cyclical challenges of seasonality whilst addressing geographical spread.

The Committee, however, expressed concerns about the events organised and hosted by various municipalities and tourism stakeholders within the Garden Route at the same time. This has potential of creating a dilemma for tour operators who are spoilt for choice and struggle to spread tourists amongst all events. This culminates in less revenues accrued from these events. The Committee is of the view that event owners within the Garden Route should engage each other and synchronise events to be spread evenly throughout the year. This will ensure that tour operators can send many tourists to one vent at a time and maximise revenue generation. The role of South African Tourism is critical in assisting municipalities in maximising benefits from local events.


7.12      Maximizing the impact of George Airport

The Committee expressed views that the George Airport presents opportunities for bringing more tourists to the Garden Route. The province has developed a robust airlift strategy that is already bearing fruits for the Cape Town International Airport. This is good for the province but does not solve the problem of tourist congestion within Cape Town and surrounding areas. George Airport presents opportunities for distributing tourists to the outer lying areas of Cape Town and reducing tourist congestion in the city. The Committee is of the view that the Western Cape government should develop a vibrant airlift strategy for the regional airports to channel tourists to the hinterlands of the province. This could be done in consultation with the Airports Company South Africa; Low Cost Airlines; Tour Operators; Local Tourism Bureaus; and municipalities.


7.13      Underutilization of available infrastructure and natural resources

It was observed with concern that there is underutilization of the ocean as a natural resource. The coastal municipalities in Western Cape are not maximizing the potential of oceans economy for their locals. The area is imbued with a vast potential to develop a myriad of marine tourism and recreation activities which can serve as exclusive attractions in the region. This also provides transformation opportunities whereby the previously marginalized communities could be involved in these new niche tourism products.

The coastal towns also have a huge potential to develop waterfront activities that can diversify tourism product offerings in the region. This coupled with the underutilization of harbors in the area constitute missed opportunities for the tourism industry.


7.14      Township tourism as a missed opportunity

The contemporary and emerging trends in the tourism industry point to tourists who want to immerse themselves in the lifestyle of the people they are visiting. This includes a growing trend of tourists who stay in communities as volunteers and those who want to be involved in homestays. This presents an opportunity for township tourism development to present the daily lifestyle of locals to international tourists.

The committee however observed that there is no purposeful intent to develop township tourism in Western Cape. In all the municipalities visited and stakeholders engaged there was a common mention of Mzoli’s in Gugulethu. All other towns do not have vibrant township tourism offerings. This shows lack of innovation in conceptualising and supporting township tourism endeavours. The Committee was informed by stakeholders that some tourists enquire about authentic life of South Africans and others even ask “where are the Africans”.  This indicates an appetite for township tourism amongst the international visitors.

A serious concern was raised on the attempt by Mossel Bay Municipality to include local communities in township tourism through what the municipality calls “Experimental Tourism”. This was seen as planning to fail as the municipality is not fully committed to bringing local communities into the mainstream tourism industry. The Committee expressed a serious concern about this and argued that municipalities should conceptualise and implement deliberate programmes to ensure inclusive tourism.

The Committee expressed a need for the provincial and local government authorities to develop and promote township tourism as a unique cultural experience. This will assist with transformation and involvement of communities in the mainstream tourism economy. These township tourism products should be of high quality and provide all necessary amenities such as descent ablution facilities; ample parking and safe for tourists; and other related tourists facilities.


7.15      Varied regimes for Visitor Information Centres

The Committee observed that the Western Cape Province has varied regimes for Visitor information centres with regard to ownership and operations. Some Visitor Information Centres are funded by municipalities and operated by the private sector whilst others are entirely owned and operated by the private sector on their own. Schedule 4, Part B of the Constitution lists Local Tourism as one of the functions of local government. Municipalities should therefore be involved in the establishment and funding of local tourism offices and the Visitor Information Centres.

The Committee was therefore concerned that the non-involvement of municipalities in the establishment and funding of some Visitor Information Centres had led to the private sector privatising what is constitutionally a local government function. The Committee was however pleased that regardless of how these Visitor Information Centres are owned and operated, they were extending their services to more than just providing information to visitors. Others were now providing booking services, and general support to the tourism businesses in their vicinity.


7.16      The scramble for the Cradle of Human Kind brand

The Committee noted that the Plettenberg bay municipality and its tourism stakeholders use Cradle of Human Kind as part of their marketing campaigns.  The municipality claims that scientific evidence indicates that the first humans lived in the caves in this area. The Committee expressed a concern about this situation as the country has the Cradle of Human Kind in the Gauteng Province which is one of the World Heritage sites proclaimed by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) for South Africa. This has a potential of sending mixed information to the tourism markets and dilute brand equity for the Cradle of the Human Kind. The country might also seem as not sure about their stance on the concept of the Cradle of Human Kind and risk attraction and creating unwarranted controversies.  The Committee expressed a need for this matter to be addressed urgently amongst South African Tourism, WESGRO and affected local municipalities.


7.17      Effects of national legislation

The Committee learned that the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries enacted a Regulations for a Prohibition on Fishing at Night in the Estuary of the Breede (2013). Communities indicated that night fishing had served as an extension of the marine recreational activity in the area. The activity brought many tourists and sustained work opportunities for the communities. Since the ban, a number of people have lost their jobs and tourists figures dwindled. The stakeholders complained that they were not properly consulted before the Regulations were enacted. They feel their inputs would have provided context which could have culminated in a different conclusion. The Committee acknowledges this matter as one of the cross-cutting issues facing the tourism industry and a need for conducting impact analysis whenever Regulations are enacted by the government.


7.18      Improvement in the Working for Tourism projects

The Committee observed a vast improvement in the Working for Tourism projects implemented by the Department. These are the erstwhile Social Responsibility Implementation projects implemented through the Expanded Public Works Programme. The focus of the Department in improving tourist attractions augurs well for destination development. The Committee viewed this approach of implementing the Working for Tourism programme as a solution to previous challenges. This new approach will enhance tourist attractions throughout the country and improve experiences for both international and domestic tourists. To that effect, the Committee was impressed with the progress being made in the Southernmost Tip of Africa Icon Project and Light House Precinct Project within the Cape Agulhas National Park. The projects will change the tourist landscape in Cape Agulhas and provide a scenic view for tourist. This will create memorable experiences and draw many tourists in the region. The Department of Tourism and the provincial Department of Economic Development and Tourism are commendable for the good work being done in the project.


  1. Committee recommendations

The Committee having engaged a number of tourism stakeholders in the Western Cape Province, and made numerous observations recommends that:

  1. The Minister of Tourism in consultation with relevant stakeholders develops a National Tourism Disaster Management Strategy that will coordinate all the stakeholders at a national, provincial and local level during disasters that affect international and domestic tourists.


  1. The Minister of Tourism should engage the MEC for Economic Development and Tourism to assist municipalities in Western Cape to develop a business case for tourism as an economic driver at a local level.


  1. The Minister of Tourism engages the MEC for Economic Development and Tourism in Western Cape to ensure that relevant authorities preserve the integrity of the Cango Caves to keep these show caves at an international level.


  1. South African Tourism engages the Eden Municipality on its rebranding process as The Garden Route District Municipality to strengthen brand equity and eliminate brand confusion in the Southern Cape.


  1. In the short term, South African Tourism engages municipalise in The Garden Route to align their marketing endeavours as a homogenous destination with an emphasis on diverse experiences whilst awaiting conclusion of the rebranding process for Eden District Municipality.


  1. The Minister of Tourism should ensure that the Tourism Bill to be introduced in Parliament eliminates discretionary enrolment in the national quality assurance scheme to safeguard destination competitiveness.


  1. The Minister of Tourism and South African Tourism should engage the MEC for Economic development and Tourism and Local Tourism Bureau in Plettenberg Bay on usage of the Cradle of Human Kind to protect the brand equity.


  1. The Minister of Tourism engages the Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries on the impacts of Regulations for a Prohibition on Fishing at Night in the Estuary of the Breede River on the tourism industry.


  1. South African Tourism investigates if some of the events hosted in the Garden Route could be supported at a national level to grow them into international standards.


  1. The MEC for Economic Development and Tourism in Western Cape investigates more development opportunities for oceans economy to diversify product offerings for coastal municipalities to advance transformation.


  1. South African Tourism engages the event organisers within the Garden Route in assisting them to develop a Regional Events Calendar that spreads events throughout the year to maximise attendance and revenue generation.


  1. The MEC for Economic Development and Tourism in Western Cape engages his counterpart in the legislature responsible for local government to ensure that government at a provincial and local level creates a conducive environment for the development of inclusive tourism.


  1. Municipalities in Western Cape should implement deliberate programmes aimed at transforming the tourism sector.


  1. The MEC for Economic Development and Tourism in Western Cape in consultation with municipalities and other relevant stakeholders facilitates the development of airlift strategy for regional airports to expedite geographical spread and alleviate tourist congestion in Cape Town.


  1. The Minister of Tourism engages the MEC for Economic Development and Tourism in Western Cape to develop a framework for the establishment, funding, and operation of Visitor Information Centres in the province in line with the National Visitor Information Centres Framework.



  1. Appreciation

The Committee would like to thank the Office of the MEC for Economic Development and Tourism in Western Cape and his departmental staff in coordinating stakeholders that were identified by the Committee for the oversight visit. The Committee also appreciates high level participation of mayors and councillors in all the municipalities visited. The Committee acknowledges the continued support from the office of the Director-General in the National Department of Tourism who availed officials for critical meetings during the oversight visit to Western Cape. Appreciation also goes to the Chief Executive Officer of South African Tourism who personally attended a meeting in Knysna at the invitation of the Committee to provide guidance on issues related to support packages for Knysna after the devastating fires.


  1. Conclusion

The Committee conducted a successful oversight visit in the Western Cape. The number and diversity of stakeholders who participated in the oversight activities provided varied views and perspectives on the state of tourism in the Western Cape Province.  The Western Cape has both encouraging pockets of excellence and areas that need serious attention. Some municipalities are far ahead with regard to tourism development and marketing issues whilst others are still struggling and lagging behind.

The provincial Department of Economic Development and Tourism in the province has a task to identify struggling municipalities and provide necessary support. Assistance is needed in coordinating branding and marketing endeavours; prioritisation of tourism at a local level; development of niche tourism products; and transformation of the sector. The Department of Tourism and South African tourism have a critical role to play in providing support to municipalities.  This does not entail financial support only, but also strategic guidance and advice on a number of pertinent issues. 

The Committee did not have an opportunity to meet the political leadership and WESGRO who is irresponsible for destination development and marketing in Western Cape.   However, the Committee got a clear perspective on the activities and support offered by provincial authorities to tourism stakeholders in the province. The Committee was pleased with the presence of WESGRO at a local level and support given to both public and private sector role players. The Committee took a decision that the provincial authorities would be requested to attend a Committee meeting later in the year to provide more details on their activities. This will assist the Committee in engaging the provincial authorities on their planned and current programmes to further drive tourism performance in Western Cape.


Report to be considered





No related documents