TRADITIONAL RITUAL AT BEACH RAISES CONSTERNATION – PAGE 3 Thursday Mar ch 15, 2018 R5.50 2871 Port Alfred - (046) 624 4356 or (046) 624 2293 - E-mail advertising: firstname.lastname@example.org or editorial: email@example.com Ndlambe FRESH FROM EARTH DELICIOUS DECIDUOUS: Dino Dawnarain selling delicious fruit and veg from tropical Durban, like this melt-in-your-mouth butter avocado, from his colourful stall on Causeway Road on Saturday Picture: LOUISE KNOWLES ROB KNOWLES NDLAMBE municipal officials and councillors were conspicuously absent on the first morning of the Tourism Capacity Planning Conference, held at the Royal St Andrews Hotel last week, despite other munici– alities, including the two metros, Buffalo City and Nelson Mandela Bay, being represented in significant numbers. The conference took place on Thursday and Friday last week and representatives from the Department of Economic Development, Environmental Affairs and Tourism (Dedeat) and the Government Technical Advisory Centre (Gtac) attended the meeting to help with governmental interventions. Together with the two metros’ representatives, the bulk of Eastern Cape municipalities including Sarah Baartman District, Kouga, Sundays River, Makana and others attended. With stakeholders such as travel agents, hoteliers and owners of guest houses and bed and breakfast establishments, the conference spanned most aspects of tourism in the area. Ndlambe mayor Phindile Faxi was scheduled to give the opening address, but Ward 10 councillor Ray Schenk was sent in his place. A condidential source told TotT the municipal administration were all involved in a budget meeting and in defending a high court action and so couldn’t attend the event. Municipal spokesman Cecil Mbolekwa was unavailable for comment yesterday. Yet, despite a late apology from Faxi, the absence of Ndlambe officials gave an impression that the municipality was not interested in the important event. “Tourism is an essen– tial element in wealth generation for the area,” explained Sunshine Coast Tourism (SCT) chairman Dr Rick Pryce at the event. The Sunshine Coast is the area along the coastline from Jeffreys Bay to the other side of East London but, at this time, emphasis is placed on the Ndlambe coastline from Alexandria in the east to the Great Fish River in the west and inland to include Bathurst and further to the border of the Makana Municipalit y. With only two ind– ustries to support employment in the area – agriculture and tourism – it is critical for the tourism industry, and specifically SCT, to expand their efforts to create as many employment opportunities in the tourism sector as possible. “The various municipalities present spoke of the challenges they face with respect to tourism, and were able to network misses out between themselves and with the other stakeholders to establish new strategies to improve tourism in the area,” said SCT manager Sandy Birch. “It was a pity that the municipality was unable to attend the first session as they could have participated and learnt of some of the challenges and solutions other municipalities, including the two metros, have experienced creating a vibrant tourism industry. “We are very grateful to the municipality for the financial assistance given to run SCT, but much more needs to be done if we are to put the Sunshine Coast firmly on the list of tourist destin– at i o n s . ” Ndlambe officials visited the Cannon Rocks Conference Centre the next day, but not all stake holders were present. Ndlambe has a number of historical and other important assets including unspoilt beaches, monuments and even an airport (the third busiest in the country based on daily landings and Activo Concentration & Exam Cocktail take-offs, according to Birch). The Sunshine Coast is situated between two well-established tourism attractions – the Garden Route (from the Western Cape up to Port Elizabeth) and the Wild Coast (between Port Edward in KwaZulu-Natal to the Skei River). As Birch explained, “Everyone knows the Wild Coast and the Garden Route, but we have so much to offer in the strip of coastline between the two. This is what we have branded and are marketing as the Sunshine Coast.” ¿ Concentration Cocktail is indicated for scholars, students and professionals for every day use. 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