Published on : Tuesday, December 29, 2020
The Eastern Cape advertises for itself as the Adventure Province of South Africa. So, there are ample of things to indulge in without getting one’s feet wet.
The beach ban along the Eastern Cape coastline and Garden Route this festive season witnessed the industry in re-inventing itself in saving businesses. The slogans “sunny skies and endless beaches” failed to draw the tourists.
Bookings dropped almost 80% in comparison to the years before and the picture far ahead looks miserable.
The fires in 2018, 2019 drought and the new disaster of COVID-19 in 2020; the tourism community of Tsitisikamma and Garden Route is all set to stay optimist whatsoever. They say in spite of the massive knock down in finances all through the value chain, they are quite flexible and will try their best to save the industry.
Tsitsikamma Tourism Association Chairperson, Lee Marque Jansen, explains that they need to reinvent themselves.
“Forget about the way you did your business or how you did your marketing; you need to start from scratch. That is exactly what we know best to do in the industry; to reinvent ourselves.”
Owner of Money Land, Lara Mostert, explains that they have contracted the number of people that can go on a tour at a time to 10.
“At Monkey Land, the tours are guided. So we have shrunk the size of the tour to a maximum of 10 people so that they can space nicely on the forests, at birds of Eden. We now allow people to walk freely, so we utilizing our space better. We’ve also learnt to multi-task which is something I think every South African learnt when lockdown happened; we all of a sudden had to figure things out and do it differently.”
People have fast adapted to the life in the middle of COVID-19. They continue to take part in activities like bungee jumping.
“I think it’s really nice that people are following the restrictions quite well. And I think because there aren’t many tourists around, we find our holiday a lot cheaper than usual and yes definitely a really nice trip to do.
Everyone’s adapting but we are really having a good time,” one jumper says.
The Storms River is all prepared to attract local tourists by offering a host of exciting activities. The alteration in focus from beaches to the promotion of the natural beauty of the area was a natural choice.
“So this is a cape heart big tree that we have come to show you here. It’s been standing here for plus-minus 609 years and this is a very unique tree now forming a face…So the tree has been standing here for more than 500 years and the tree is about 20 meters in height. This is the second biggest tree we have in the indigenous forest around here,” says tour guide Elzira Arries.