by Phelisa Mangcu, 11 June 2019
This time of year, we are all anticipating the arrival of our valued visitors to enjoy our warm Indian Ocean and its multiple marine activities, as well as the much awaited Sardine Run phenomenon. Those who seek to get away from the constant urban buzz to take a breather may find peace on a walking trail further inland and may very likely be rewarded with a beautiful and tranquil river, stream or waterfall. Holidays also mean that travellers give themselves a break from full-time self-catering and find delectable dishes, perhaps with a glass of sparkling water or a spritzer, in the huge variety of restaurants, cocktail bars, shisa nyamas, takeaways and pubs to be found on the KZN South Coast.
Would it only be that simple to talk about the waters that give joy to our destination’s visitors, and not the other kind. Our visitors turn to multiple platforms for holiday ideas and information, such as TV, video, radio, social media, newspapers, guide books, websites, magazines and the like, it would be great if what they see and hear make them pack their travel bags and book their beds, dreaming of a much-deserved, idyllic escape to paradise…
Our current reality is much more complex and the distraught voices of our tourism products and disgruntled residents are, unfortunately, drowning out much of the positive to leave a negative taste in the mouth, a nagging risk in the minds of prospective travellers, first time or repeat. Added to recorded past experiences of visitors, this ironically becomes a growing barrier to entry to the tourism we so desperately desire to a destination that so richly deserves carfuls, busloads and planeloads of excited holidaymakers.
Ugu South Coast Tourism is not sitting on the fence, it is actively involved in making our members’ voices heard in the relevant corridors where changes can be effected and we will continue to escalate issues that affect the tourism sector. We, however, have a mandate to promote this incredibly beautiful destination to the market and cannot add to any negative sentiment out there, which would be counter-productive. We hope that the KZN South Coast ambassadors will continue to extol the virtues of our destination and that the numbers of those who feel the same will grow, so we collectively neutralise the negative and gain positive traction. At the same time, we know our municipalities have made great strides in the last year to rectify historic water issues and we hope they continue their work, so we can permanently change the way we all view, treat and talk about water.
We look forward to continued and constructive engagement regarding all tourism-related matters: [email protected] .