‘Nature is calling!’ Eastern Cape says it is still open for holiday visitors, despite Covid
- The Eastern Cape this week launched a new campaign to attract visitors over the peak holiday season.
- The province says its wide-open beaches and nature reserves can offer a balm to South Africans after a difficult year.
- Its tourism sector has been hit hard, and spiking infections in Nelson Mandela Bay metro – which has now been declared a hotspot – have added to its woes.
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While Nelson Mandela Bay has officially been declared a hotspot amid a sharp increase of Covid-19 infections, the province is still open for tourism this festive season, with a new campaign to highlight its many attractions launched this week.
“Nature is calling, have an entanglement with nature,” was the message of the Eastern Cape Parks and Tourism Agency CEO Vuyani Dayimani, at the launch of the “Summer Season” campaign held at Coffee Bay, on the south western coast of the Eastern Cape on Friday.
He encouraged tourists to enjoy the province’s wide-open spaces and nature reserves after a difficult year. “We have gone through a lot for the best part of the year, so nature provides us with that opportunity to reflect and be able to be grateful for being alive.”
The coastal province offers an opportunity to citizens who want to get away from congested cities and bustling shopping malls. Stretching from East London up to the coast of Port Edward in the north and inland as far as the foothills of the Drakensberg, the province is famous for its great weather and spectacular beaches, especially on the Eastern Cape’s wild coast.
“All we are saying it that you can still celebrate festive season and summer differently and we are providing people with an opportunity to entangle with nature,” said Dayimani.
Earlier this week, president Cyril Ramaphosa declared a Nelson Mandela Bay metro a hotspot, and instituted curfews, restricted alcohol sales and new rules for religious gatherings and funerals vigils.
Speaking at the event, Eastern Cape MEC of finance and economic development Mlungisi Mvoko said that tourism continues to be one of the sectors hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic, but that there has been some recovery in business since September.
“This brings hope that the festive season will assist to lift the sector. In trying to support this increase the Eastern Cape government and private sector have been collaborating and endorsing protocols and common standards to ensure the wellbeing of the sector workforce and that of the travellers as the sector transitions into the ‘new normal’,” said Mvoko.
“Tourism has traditionally been built upon history, location, luxury affordability,” chairperson of the Wild Coast Holiday Association William Ross said. “We now have an opportunity to change these old perceptions to what makes us unique, and that is unforgettable experiences and stories.”