Growing tourism and jobs – a whale of a time in Plett to kick off Tourism Month

Tuesday 29 August 2023

To celebrate and highlight the vital role that our tourism and hospitality industries play in the Western Cape, provincial Minister of Finance and Economic Opportunities, which includes Tourism, Mireille Wenger kicked off her Tourism Month 2023 programme in Plettenberg Bay this week.

Minister Wenger was joined by Plett Tourism CEO, Patty Butterworth, Plett Tourism Association Chairperson, Bruce Richardson, Garden Route District Municipality Manager of Economic Development and Tourism at the Garden Route District Municipality, Richard Dyantyi, Councillor Bill Nel and Councillor Jessica Kamkam from Bitou municipality.

Tourism and hospitality contribute enormously to both economic growth and job creation in the Western Cape, generating R15.5 billion and supporting 174 000 direct jobs (according to 2019 figures), not including the indirect jobs created across the entire tourism value chain.

“We are immensely proud that Plettenberg Bay has recently been accredited as one of only seven Whale Heritage Sites world-wide. This accreditation recognises destinations around the world where coastal communities work together to protect, respect and celebrate cetaceans and their habitats. This will go a long way to boosting tourism to the town as well as highlighting the vital importance of responsible and sustainable tourism, so that generations to come are able to both benefit from and enjoy the incredible natural endowments we are blessed with,” said Minister Wenger.

Before COVID-19, the Nedbank Green Trust and the WWF completed an economic impact assessment of Plett’s whale-boat sector and calculated that it generates R371 million each year across the town’s tourism value chain, from accommodation, to restaurants, tour operators as well as local curios.

The accreditation of a Whale Heritage Site was the culmination of significant collaborative efforts by numerous stakeholders including marine scientists, conservation organisations such as Sanparks, CapeNature and Nature’s Valley Trust, local whale boat operators, the Mayor’s office, and Plett Tourism.

Minister Wenger continued: “Attracting more tourists to our special destination forms part of one of the Priority Focus Area’s of the Western Cape Government’s ambitious new economic action plan, ‘Growth For Jobs’ because more tourists mean more jobs.”

“This Tourism Month, I encourage our local, domestic as well as international visitors to explore our stunning province because there really is something for everyone in the Western Cape. If you are looking for adventure climbing or cycling, kayaking, or paragliding, or slow walks along the beautiful coast, it’s here in the Western Cape. We have so many culinary, heritage, and cultural experiences to meaningfully share the rich history and promising future of this province. And we can all play our part in growing our economy and growing jobs, by simply enjoying the Western Cape and all it has to offer, for a better tomorrow for all the people of our province” concluded Minister Wenger.

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