GEORGE NEWS - This is the 11th in a series of letters from Mayor Leon van Wyk to the residents of the George municipal area, published every second week.
With the decline in the number of Covid-19 cases in recent months, it is becoming evident that citizens appear to be more willing to move around again, to travel and participate in social activities again.
Acsa recently commented on the welcome increase in passenger movements through the George Airport. Traffic on the N2 has also increased, especially over long weekends, as Capetonians headed east along the Garden Route.
It is also noticeable around George as people gather at popular venues to kuier (engage socially).
Along with these activities, my colleagues have also experienced increased interest from entrepreneurs in staging events. These are important "green shoots" that are starting to emerge as we embark on the "new normal".
It is vitally important that there is re-activation of tourism activities around George because of this sector's importance for employment. Our participation in the Bloomberg Global Mayoral Challenge (BGMC) centred on reinvigorating tourism with a focus on the promoting of events.
The organising and staging of events will remain risky until lockdown rules are fully relaxed. It is interesting, however, that entrepreneurs are becoming more innovative in their organisation to minimise costs.
As part of the research for the BGMC project, we identified that the Arts and Crafts sector should play an important role as tourism gets back on its feet. We are seeing enquiries from Arts and Crafts role players as they search for additional avenues to market their products.
This sector provides livelihoods for many people who have developed creative skills to produce anything from works of art, items of clothing and handiwork through to jewellery, woodwork and leatherwork. There are "cottage industry" opportunities for many participants.
Those with the skills could teach, mentor and transfer skills to emerging learners. Ultimately the objective should be to produce quality items that could even attract the interest of the retail or collector's market.
At this stage the enquiries relate to how the municipality can facilitate the development of marketing channels for this sector. We are aware of numerous events in the planning stage that could be of benefit to the broader tourism sector. We are planning to engage interested parties shortly to establish how collaboration can best succeed.
We would therefore welcome thoughts in this regard that can be sent to: email@example.com.
As we think of tourism and the arts and crafts sector, we naturally need to connect the dots between the need for people to socially engage and travel and the activities and attractions that we can and do offer in the George area.
For George to be successful, we need our citizens to be employed and participating in the economy. This is after all our ultimate objective.
'We bring you the latest George, Garden Route news'