NiederHeim B&B’s nearest beach – Big Bay receives Blue Flag status

05/11/2009 09:51 AM – (SA)

BLUE skies will not be the only sign of an enjoyable time at Bloubergstrand for visitors having accommodation in Bellville this summer.

The recent granting of Blue Flag status to Big Bay beach has put this stretch of coastline on an exclusive list of international visitor-friendly beaches.

Blue Flag status is given to beaches that adhere to a set of international standards pertaining to environmental education, information and management, water quality and safety and services which include lifesaving facilities and safe parking.

Big Bay is one of 10 local beaches that were added to the existing list of 19 South African beaches already listed.

This eco-label aims to promote a beach as clean and safe to all visitors.

Commenting on the achievement, Cape Town Tourism’s chief executive officer, Mariette Du Toit Helmbold, says the Blue Flag endorsement was a thumbs-up for tourism.

“International travellers have confidence in the Blue Flag indicator. Having as many Blue Flag-graded beaches as we do, accurately suggests that the Cape coastline is not only beautiful but well-maintained and protected as one of our greatest resources.”

Big Bay is a particular favourite spot for watersport enthusiasts.

At a special celebration held at the Big Bay Lifesaving Club last Friday, club chairman Peter O’Hanlon announced the award.

He also complimented the club members who had worked tirelessly to ensure that in the category of Beach Safety and Services, the lifesaving club, as one of the responsible agencies, was able to meet the very high standards required.

“Members of this club have, over many years, been instrumental in getting the City of Cape Town to upgrade the public facilities in the area and to ensure that these are properly serviced and maintained,” O’Hanlon said.

“We had to work closely with the developers of Big Bay and to ensure that the design and construction of our new clubhouse was to internationally accepted standards.”

“Our club has also obtained sponsorship to raise the funds necessary for instructors to provide a level of training and qualification that allowed our lifeguards to work professionally all over the world,” O’Hanlon said adding that the Blue Flag award has given the BBSLC the opportunity to recruit youngsters from less priveleged backgrounds to be trained as lifeguards.

Experience shows that Blue Flag beaches experience an increase in visitors, improved behaviour on the part of beach-goers as well as property prices rising for homes situated near Blue Flag beaches.

Cape Town in line for international tourism award


The City of Cape Town is delighted to be shortlisted for this year’s prestigious Virgin Holidays Responsible Tourism Awards to be held at the World Travel Market (WTM) in London. The awards will be presented to the winners at a ceremony on World Responsible Tourism Day at the WTM on 11 November.

The awards have 13 categories. The City of Cape Town is to be considered for the Responsible Destination award. It is the only municipality among 35 entries nominated in this category.

The City’s Deputy Executive Mayor, Alderman Ian Neilson and Mansoor Mohamed, the City’s Executive Director for Economic, Social Development and Tourism, will attend the ceremony.
The City’s Executive Mayor, Alderman Dan Plato and tourism industry leaders adopted Cape Town’s Responsible Tourism Charter on 28 September 2009. The City has positioned Responsible Tourism as a key policy principle in its Tourism Development Framework and a Responsible Tourism Policy and Action Plan has been developed. As part of the drive towards becoming a responsible destination, a Code of Conduct for visitors to the destination is available. The City has also established Community Tourism Forums in disadvantaged areas to raise awareness of tourism and manage cultural and heritage resources.

Founded by in 2004, the Virgin Holidays Responsible Tourism Awards are run in association with headline sponsor, Virgin Holidays, and partners World Travel Market, The Daily Telegraph and Geographical Magazine.

They recognise individuals, companies and organisations in the travel industry that are making a significant commitment to the cultures and economies of local communities and contribute positively to biodiversity conservation. Professor Harold Goodwin, Chair of the Judges and Professor of Responsible Tourism Management at Leeds Metropolitan University says that more than 140 entries with detailed responses were submitted to the panel of adjudicators this year. He added that the willingness of organisations and businesses to take responsibility for their actions and to improve their destinations as tourism venues is impressive.

The awards are the most prestigious and competitive of their kind in the world. Now in their sixth year, their central tenet is that all types of tourism – from niche to mainstream – can and should be operated in a way that respects and benefits destinations and local people. The awards cover categories applicable to destinations and the tourism industry in the achievement of responsible tourism.

“At a conference on Sustainable Tourism in Destinations held in Cape Town in 2002, the ratified Cape Town Declaration provided the basis for the world definition of responsible tourism,” said Alderman Felicity Purchase, Mayoral Committee Member for Economic, Social Development and Tourism.

“Since then, the City has invested some R15 million in the development of tourism infrastructure in previously disadvantaged areas. Over the past two years we have supported 200 tourism businesses,” she said.

Mansoor Mohamed, Executive Director for Economic, Social Development and Tourism, said: “Responsible Tourism makes sound economic sense. A significant and growing number of tourists are looking for a ‘different’ travel experience and a higher quality product. They want to get closer to the people of the country they visit and experience its natural and cultural heritage. They wish to do so, however, with a good conscience and in the knowledge that they are doing so in a responsible way without having any adverse effect on the countries that they visit and the destinations they frequent. Cape Town has recently won major international tourism awards, including Africa’s Leading Destination Award two years in a row, and this can, to some extent, be attributed to the efforts already made in making Cape Town a leading responsible tourism destination.”

Cape Town has a vibrant tourism industry that welcomes some 3,7 million visitors annually and contributes substantially to its GDP. Tourism is labour intensive and therefore has the potential to create more jobs.

The City’s Responsible Tourism strategy is intrinsically linked to a range of other sector policies, programmes and initiatives aimed at developing a sustainable, attractive and successful city. “These include initiatives such as the Draft Green Building Guidelines, 2010 Green Goal Programme, Solar Water Heater By-law, City Events Policy, State of the Environment Reporting, Biodiversity Network Strategy, Smart Living Handbook, Cape Town International Jazz Festival, Cape Town Design Indaba, Water and Waste Management By-laws and many other initiatives,” Mohamed said.

“Being shortlisted for these awards is an honour and will motivate the City to improve its Responsible Tourism approach. Our next priority is to assist and create awareness of responsible tourism practice in City departments, to facilitate the implementation of responsible tourism practices in tourism businesses, and to promote awareness of tourism among our residents, visitors and stakeholders,” says Nombulelo Mkefa, Director of Tourism at the City of Cape Town.

“The Responsible Tourism Policy and Action Plan prepared by the City is presently being considered by the relevant Portfolio Committees and is expected to be presented to Council for adoption before the end of the year,” she said.

Martin Pollack

Cape Town gears up for 2010 FIFA™ World Cup Final Draw


Green Point Stadium

As the world’s best football nations fight through gruelling qualifying campaigns to make it to the 2010 FIFA World Cup™, one of the world’s most picturesque cities stands ready to welcome them warmly.

Cape Town Executive Mayor, Dan Plato and Chief Executive Officer of the 2010 FIFA World Cup Organising Committee South Africa, Dr Danny Jordaan, yesterday signed the service level agreement for Cape Town to host the tournament’s Final Draw at the Cape Town International Convention Centre on 4 December this year.

The Draw, which is expected to be broadcast in over 130 countries and attended by some 2 000 guests and over 1 000 journalists and broadcasters, will determine the match order for the world’s top 32 teams who will contest Africa’s first FIFA World Cup from 11 June to 11 July 2010.

The agreement sets out the roles and responsibilities for the two parties in staging the event and providing all the necessary support services. The context in which the signing took place was uniquely Capetonian, as guests were entertained by the world renowned Cape Town Minstrels who performed the popular tune ‘Welcome to Cape Town’.

Executive Mayor Plato said excitement and anticipation amongst the residents of Cape Town was starting to mount as the Final Draw and the 2010 FIFA World Cup approaches.

“We can’t wait for the fourth of December and we can’t wait for 2010 to welcome all the visitors and spectators to our city. Cape Town is ready and prepared to deliver a memorable Final Draw and to provide unique experiences for visitors and the soccer fraternity alike. The timing coincides with Cape Town’s festive season and all stakeholders are working together on integrated planning and preparations for the event,” the Mayor said.

Jordaan said the Final Draw in South Africa’s scenic ‘mother city’ would capture the imagination of the football world and would be a week-long event featuring a number of activities staged by FIFA, the Organising Committee, the City of Cape Town, the Western Cape Provincial Government and all South Africa’s Host Cities.

“There are two projects left in the delivery of the 2010 FIFA World Cup, the Final Draw this December and then the tournament itself starting next June. The FIFA Confederations Cup has really shifted the mood world-wide. Where people once questioned and doubted, we’ve now reached a position where people are looking forward in anticipation and excitement to the FIFA World Cup in South Africa,” said Jordaan.

“The Final Draw in Cape Town is a critical date and an important milestone for us. And we could not find a better city in which to host it. Cape Town’s a wonderful location and its Green Point Stadium is a landmark, one of the best in the world,” Jordaan added.

Executive Mayor Plato said the 2010 FIFA World Cup came at an opportune time for the city and had already created a number of job opportunities in especially the infrastructure sector.

“The impetus of expenditure and investment in infrastructure for 2010 could not have come at a better time to counteract the effects of the economic slump. While not every individual or suburb of Cape Town will benefit directly from the World Cup; improved facilities, services and infrastructure will benefit all indirectly,” said Plato.

Martin Pollack

NiederHeim Bed and Breakfast on doorstep of R3b Bellville Velodrome precinct development

AFTER a competitive bidding process that started in September 2007 and lasted more than two years, the City of Cape Town last week awarded a R3 billion tender to develop the Bellville Velodrome precinct.

In a press release Mr Mansoor Mohamed, the City’s executive director for Economic, Social Development and Tourism, says: “An estimated 26 000 direct and indirect jobs will be created by this development”.

The decision to award the tender was taken after a two-stage, public tender process.

At a council meeting last week Wednesday, approval was given that the City of Cape Town award a R3 billion tender to establish retail, business, residential, hotel and conference facilities in the Bellville Velodrome precinct.

The 11,5ha property is located on a portion of Erf 21750, Bellville, in Tygervalley abutting Carl Cronjé Drive. It includes the Velodrome, athletics stadium and the adjacent public parking area.

The tender was won by Devmet Property Developments, a consortium of Devmark Property Group (Pty) Limited and Mettle Property Group (Pty) Limited.

“The tender for the Velodrome was one of the biggest and most complex property transactions ever to be awarded on municipal land in Cape Town. This development will enhance Cape Town’s positioning as a globally competitive business and leisure destination. The City will continue to use its land resources to stimulate socio-economic development,” says Mohamed.

He says despite current global economic challenges, Cape Town has yet again proved to be an attractive investment destination.

Besides an estimated R2,2 billion development on the property, Mohamed says: “An additional R800 million is expected to accrue to the City of Cape Town in rates and service charges, proceeds on the disposal of land, enhancements to the Velodrome and athletics track – which will still remain council assets – infrastructure levies and revenue sharing in event management.”

Devmet Property Developments will take over the management of the Velodrome and athletics stadium.

In addition to the existing sporting facilities, a high performance sports centre will be incorporated into the sport and athletics facilities and will be used to provide specialised training for athletes.

Mr Gert Engelbrecht, chairperson of the Bellville Athletics Club, says three cycle clubs, the athletics club and an in-house flight club are currently involved.

“A clause determines that should the Velodrome change, these clubs still need to be accommodated.

“For that I am glad because I know we will be accommodated, and the Velodrome area definitely needs some attention and to be upgraded.”

He says the clubs, the media, the public and everyone involved will now need to keep a watchful eye “that the private firm involved doesn’t only seek its own interests”.

Ms Andrea Crous, a ward councillor, says she is not against development, but “we must assure the project will be beneficial to the City and brings money in.”

(Bellville Tyger Burger, 4 November 2009)