NOTE: This statement is here because I played a role in creating it while eThekwini Campaign Manager in the 2011 Local Government Elections.
Holiday seasons offer our city a prime opportunity to put its best foot forward and show visitors what we have to offer and in so doing, encourage them to keep coming back. The unsightly construction work taking place on the prime promenade, the Golden Mile, a week before the Easter break does exactly the opposite. After a walkabout yesterday to inspect the readiness of the beachfront for the holidays, I was met by incomplete construction work, untrimmed vegetation and dying palm trees and still empty restaurants built before the World Cup. Our beachfront is sorely in need of the proper management and attention to detail which can make it the best holiday location in the country.
The Golden Mile is eThekwini’s best asset for marketing the City. Our sandy beaches, warm ocean temperatures and tropical climate mean that we have the perfect ingredients for a year-round and world-class tourism product. What we don’t have right now is the commitment and co-ordination by the city council to ensure that we leverage these ingredients into a recipe for real success. A successfully managed, safe and polished beachfront will attract increasing numbers of tourists to Durban every year, increasing economic growth and job creation.
The DA-run city of Cape Town enjoys a large market share of the local and international tourist trade precisely because it has developed itself as a tourist centered city committed to offering all visitors a safe, enjoyable and memorable stay. Cape Town has recognized that tourism holds massive potential for employment opportunities and economic development and attracts large amounts of foreign and local revenue into the city helping to stimulate the local economy.
Under a DA led administration we will ensure that maintenance and upgrading of our key tourist assets is regular and planned outside of key holiday periods. Our tourism assets across the city will all be included in a detailed asset register and will be set down for scheduled inspection on a regular basis. This will ensure that any construction will cause the minimum disruption to both tourists and locals alike. The development of sustainable ‘new’ tourism initiatives in other parts of the City will be prioritised. Township, rural and adventure tourism potential in eThekwini presents major growth and job opportunities but require professional development support and ongoing management of the greater tourism environment by the City.
The DA-run city of Cape Town has shown that a focused and organized commitment to developing tourism assets yields big dividends as more visitors flock to the city. There is no reason why we cannot do the same here in eThekwini. I will commit our DA administration to delivering on the potential which our beautiful city offers and place us at the apex of tourism destinations where we rightfully belong.