NATIONAL NEWS - The Voortrekker Monument has not only finally opened its doors to visitors on Tuesday but is looking at expanding its activities.
“We are focusing on expanding our activities such as adventures onsite to address the needs of our local people,” said heritage site’s managing director Cecilia Kruger.
Kruger said more details on activities offered would be announced soon.
She said the four months that the Voortrekker Monument had been closed was a very challenging time.
“We had enormous challenges in the sense that the restaurants closed down and all event facilities used for weddings, matric farewells and other functions were not in use.”
She said this had led to approximately 90% of the Voortrekker Monument’s income being lost.
“We cannot rectify the losses overnight, because 50% of the 90% was generated through oversees tourists and we do not see them returning before next year probably.”
She said the facility would be open for visitors from Tuesday to Sunday from 9am and 3pm every day.
“The site will be closed on Mondays due to us operating with limited staff,” said Kruger.
Kruger said the entrance fees would be half price until the end of February 2021.
“Visitors do not have to buy tickets online, they can now visit the monument and purchase a ticket at the gate.”
She said all visitors had to adhere to the Covid-19 regulations when visiting.
“We have a vast site, so people can run, cycle and hike, however, we will only allow 50 people inside the monument.”
She said visitors could expect to be sanitised, have their temperatures checked and would only be allowed in if they wear a mask.
Kruger said the library and archive centre would be open but only by appointment.
In April, Rekord reported that the Voortrekker Monument was in need of help from the public if it is to survive after “sweating blood” for the past two months, according to the board chairman, Dr Christo Pretorius.
According to the Tshwane Tourism Association website, since the outbreak of Covid-19, visitor numbers declined to the point where the monument’s income was negligible.
“As part of the lockdown, the monument closed its doors on Friday, 27 March and as a result will not receive any visitor income as long as it remains closed. The effect has already been enormous and will only worsen.”
This has forced management to take “drastic” steps.
“Although the Voortrekker Monument is increasingly dependent on contributions from the public and people joining as Friends of the Monument, other drastic steps have since been taken.
“After several meetings and consultations with experts, it was realised that the existing business model of the monument, where tourism was one of the core revenue streams, will now have to be drastically adapted,” Pretorius concluded.