R4m tourism hub a gateway to EL

Buffalo City Metro (BCM) launched a R4m tourism hub at the Orient Beach Pools Complex in East London last Friday.

Described as a gateway to the city, the hub boasts a curio shop to promote local craft and heritage.

BCM economic development and agencies portfolio head councillor Mawethu Marata said the hub was uniquely positioned.

“The hub is here to attract tourists and disseminate information. Hence we made the investment into the office,” Marata said.

Marata added that the safety of the building was a “major concern” and they had met with relevant stakeholders.

The putting up of signage also is in progress to direct traffic to the beachfront, with tourist information centres available in King William’s Town and Dimbaza.

This investment was welcomed by the stakeholders, which include such as the Eastern Cape Parks and Tourism Agency (ECPTA) and the Border-Kei Chamber of Business (BKCOB) tourism committee.

On behalf of ECPTA, Lavinia Shaw said such a centre could welcome visitors through an “intimate connection which can’t be achieved through the internet”.

“We support them for promoting these services and marketing the destination to make it more sustainable for others,” Shaw said.

BKCOB tourism committee vice-chairperson Sandy Loppnow said tourism has been under developed and numerous attempts had been made to get it off the ground.

“The dream has finally been realised and we’re looking forward to seeing tourism go from strength to strength.” said Loppnow.

According to the metro, the beachfront area has over more than 2,000 beds and attracts more than over 20,000 people during the summer season.

Councillor Marata also added that that home-stays in Mdantsane would now also be part of the tourism experience.

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