Oudtshoorn Municipality embarked on a process of establishing a long term strategic vision to guide municipal and community decisions in achieving economic growth and regeneration of previous disadvantaged areas in all wards. The town stands at a threshold of economic growth and challenges in equal measure. In order to deal with these challenges a farsighted investment plan were developed to pave the way forward in order to achieve meaningful impact. The municipality facilitated a process to develop a long term vision statement till the year 2030.
In order to identify the needs, the municipality embarked on an extensive community participation process through ward based and stakeholder engagements. A momentum has been created among the community members and organisations to work together to realise the Greater Oudtshoorn’s full potential. Through this consultation process, the different role players identified in principle 7 strategic objectives with a clear mandate to grow the economy. In pursuit of this vision, the strategy aims to establish and/or strengthen Greater Oudtshoorn in the following principal focal areas:
“A knowledge economic town, offering opportunities for training and skills development”
“A tourist economic town, offering a range of attractions from the environment to entertainment”
“An infrastructure economic town, offering a full range of services and economic opportunities, notably in disadvantaged areas”
“A social economic town which advances good governance and social development”
“An agricultural economic town in which farming and food production prospers”
“An industrial economic town in which various industries can expand”
“An arts & culture economic town creating economic and social opportunities through the arts, heritage & sport”
TOURISM IS STRATEGIC FOCUS AREA NO. 2:
“A local tourism economy, offering a range of attractions from environmental to entertainment”
The town must be marketed as a preferred destination with multiple and unique tourist attractions. The development of facilities for hosting events such as weddings could increase revenue for existing and (future) facilities.
Tourism is one of the main economic sectors and provides 34% of local employment opportunities. The main tourist attractions are the Cango Caves, Cango Wildlife Ranch and the ostrich show farms. The town also boasts excellent restaurants and luxury accommodation facilities, viz. 5 hotels and 30 bed & breakfast facilities with a 60% annual occupancy rate. The immediate challenge is to strengthen existing tourist attractions, identify new opportunities and consolidate these as tourism destinations. This will increase the time spent - and more overnight stays - by tourists in the area.
Prioritised projects upgrade of the Swartberg pass
The Swartberg Pass represents one of the region’s natural and engineering wonders. The Pass was constructed in 1880 and declared a national heritage site in 1990. The National Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism allocated, in the 2011 budget, R20 million for the upgrade of the Pass. This will not only make the Pass more attractive, but will also allow it to be marketed in association with the nearby Cango Caves.
Cango Mountain Resort
The existing resort could be transformed into a business opportunity with water sports, extreme adventure and a ‘valley of waves’. This concept does include a five-star accommodation facility, a casino and other entertainment facilities, i.e. very similar to the ‘Sun City’ concept.
Cango Caves extension
The exploration of Cango 5 will extend opportunities at the caves. In addition, value-adding initiatives such as a cable car and heritage museums will be introduced.
Cultural Village: Establish a Koi-San Village
The concept of establishing an open-air museum as a Koi-San Village will increase tourism related activities in Oudtshoorn. The town presents huge opportunities with its history of KoiSan peoples
from the area.
Stompdrift Dam Entertainment Centre: Establish an extreme sports facility
Extreme sports facility hosting water ski operations and entertainment centres for children could be hosted at the dam. Annual international extreme sports competitions will be hosted.
Establish a Wildlife & Nature Park
The proclamation of the region’s biodiversity has been identified as a world heritage site and the establishment of a wildlife and nature park to protect the natural environment is being considered. The introduction of the big 5 in the area will be investigated.
Establish a Heritage Architecture & Historical Buildings route
The establishment of a Heritage Architecture & Historical Buildings route will strengthen the local tourism product. A bicycle path-way with information boards will be established.
Expansion to the Religion Park Dysselsdorp
The Dysselsdorp area has an operational religious park for Catholic members. The park facilities must be expanded to host an annual worship event during the Easter holidays and special Catholic events during the year and be declared a national destination for pilgrims.
Increase value for money for tourists by selling regional packages that cater for all budgets. The tourism sectors must put together special tourism packages for national and international tourists. These packages must cater for different income groups.
Marketing town as preferred destination
The town must be marketed as a preferred destination with multiple and unique tourist attractions. The development of facilities for hosting events such as weddings could increase revenue for existing and (future) facilities. Tourism sector must develop an integrated marketing strategy.
Last published 27 September 2016