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Tuesday Jul 10, 2012

Ferries, shops, nightclubs to 'transform False Bay coast'

A seafront development to link Kalk Bay, Muizenberg and Gordon's Bay is part of a bold new plan launched yesterday by provincial government.

The plan includes cruises, ferry trips, shops, restaurants, nightclubs and taverns along the False Bay coast between Gordon's Bay and Cape Point, to draw in residents of Lwandle, Macassar, Khayelitsha, Mitchells Plain, Strandfontein, Vrygrond, Steenberg, Retreat, Grassy Park, Ocean View and Masiphumelele.

Tourism MEC Alan Winde announced the plan to develop the route between Gordon's Bay and Cape Point at the annual Western Cape government's Tourism, Arts and Entertainment Plenary Session yesterday.

He said the seaside development could "inject new life and generate greater returns" for the tourism sector.

The cost of the development will be determined once an agreement between the provincial government, the City of Cape Town and the National Department of Tourism has been reached.

Winde said communities close to the coast like Macassar, Mitchells Plain, Ocean View and Masiphumelele would benefit from upgrades to tourism, retail and entertainment services.

The further development of shark and whale watching, scuba diving and trek fishing was also on the cards. Plans include:

  • Revitalisation of Kalk Bay Main Road, bringing in the descendants of people expelled from the area under the Group Areas Act;

  • Improvement of the Muizenberg shopping and restaurant precinct;

  • A "more tourist-friendly" Fish Hoek with inputs from Ocean View and Masiphumelele residents;

  • Erection of art and craft studios along the beachfront.

    "The project will give communities that were previously not given the opportunity to have a say the chance to become part of decision-making about what becomes of their surroundings," Winde said, adding that similar projects were under way at Cape Agulhas, Lambert's Bay and the False Bay Ecology Park.

    Mayco member for tourism, events and marketing Grant Pascoe said the city was already upgrading facilities at Monwabisi. A "substantial" amount would be invested,

    Cape Town Tourism's Skye Grove welcomed the plan as a way to "unlock opportunities".

    "The development in the Peninsula is going to be great. The city centre (CBD) has been significantly upgraded due to the World Cup, but it is good to see extensive development taking place beyond the CBD.

    "I think that the new plans by government will enable people from across the Peninsula to visit tourist destinations. Local residents must experience the city, feeling just as the tourist from overseas would."

    Winde announced plans to improve baggage control at Cape Town International Airport and to increase staff.

    The department is also determined to secure more direct flights to Cape Town, with new direct flights from Munich to Cape Town to start on October 28.

    The tourism sector grew by five percent in 2011.

    It contributed 10 percent to the province's gross domestic product (GDP) and created 70 000 jobs in five years.

    "We need to encourage our locals to travel more within our cities. We need to reinvent our tourism sector and rethink the way we are doing things," Winde said.

    "Our job is to keep growing the number of visitors to the province.

    "We will support partnerships with all local municipalities and encourage them to come up with marketing strategies using social media and other forms of media."

    The National Department of Tourism also plans to improve the rural tourism sector.

    Leonore Beukes, chief director of the department's southern region, said the plans included "improving infrastructure at holiday sites, improving local services such as roads at these camps, creating bigger partnerships with municipalities and events strategies".

    Cape Times

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