After a recent remark by our Executive Mayor Mongameli Bobani that he expected to see millions of tourists flock to the city because we are named after a global icon, Nelson Mandela, the post over on Facebook received some thought provoking comments.
Shaun Fitzhenry said; “Great report, Alan. But I don’t think it’s enough! Our metro needs to be cleaned up, heritage buildings need to be looked after and we need to eradicate crime and lawlessness. Then we’ll grow tourism.”
Michelle Gillie replied to Shaun Fitzhenry; “I think it goes far beyond the the measures you have mentioned. It extends towards the government delivering on their mandate. They also need to get the political will to get behind the EC and its economy. For instance I know categorically that the tourism budget meted out to CPT for instance far outweighs that given to the EC. The attitude of the people of the EC also needs a radical adjustment – instead of shrugging their shoulders and blithely accepting their status as “one of the poorest provinces” DO something. Find a way to differentiate yourselves from being a poor clone of The Mother City….and no I don’t think the claims of “The Adventure Province” or “Nelson Mandela Bay” have done that.”
As my reply is a bit wordy I will leave it here on MyPE:
If I may – the root cause of the general malaise that has engulfed tourism product owners is one of years of broken promises.
Successive governments have promised much and failed to deliver – naturally then we have developed thick cynical skins.
We, as tourism product owners, need to disavow ourselves of the myopic belief that politicians will solve all the problems we put forward as obstacles to promoting our region, take the bull by the horns ourselves and, as a collective, bring tourists to our region.
Despite the big picture service delivery failures such as crime, litter, electricity, water etc. we need to acknowledge the incredible work being done by city officials with limited budgets to try and bring big events to the City.
As most people know I have been pushing to get the Ocean Race to the City for almost 10 years now. The support received from the City, Transnet, NMU, SAMSA and many others has been overwhelming – they all have the same hunger to see us take our place on the World Stage by hosting these events. Nelson Mandela Bay is in the running to be a host city in 2021. The City of Cape Town estimates the economic benefit from this event to be in the region of R600 Million.
The bid was largely driven by officials in the Department of Sport, Recreation, Arts and Culture and I remain impressed at their willingness and professionalism in putting the bid together.
Basically we need to celebrate and thank those that are doing sterling work under difficult conditions to bring our collective dream to fruition.
CHALLENGE: What will you do today to make ONE tourist’s stay in Nelson Mandela Bay memorable?