Jeffreys Bay is buzzing and thousands of people have flocked to the town for the annual JBay Winterfest.
With faith, belief and the support of many, the organisers behind the JBay Winterfest have pulled off an incredible coup, and have brought a festival worth in the proximity of R100 million to the town.
The festival consists of the JBay Open ASP Surfing Tournament, the VW Rally, the Music Festival, the Core Downhill Sokkie Jol skateboard event, the Poker Run skateboard event, the Funduro event, the Oakley X-Over, the JBay Mountain Bike Open, the Cold Water Swim Classic, the Skins Fishing Tournament, the Flamingo Trail run, the Kite Festival and the Wavescape Swell Courses. All in a busy 10 day period.
Last year the JBay Open surfing tournament was a small scale local event, and coupled with a somewhat smaller Winterfest, the estimated value injected into the town was R20M.
This year there is a massively increased Festival footprint, with a conservative estimate of an increased R20M into the town.
The surf event this year, run by ASP International, is valued at R35M, and the incredible media exposure from TV, radio, print, online and social media worth another estimated R25M.
Kouga Portfolio Councilor of Tourism Virginia Benjamin said that the expected economic value the Winterfest for the wider Jeffreys Bay region was in the region of R 70 – 80 million at the media launch of the Festival.
However, Benjamin probably did not include the media value and subsequent reach of the Festival, which is being tracked by the organisers of the JBay Winterfest.
“The whole idea and concept of the JBay Winterfest was to bring more tourists to the town, as well as to supply much needed jobs to locals,” said Winterfest organizer Koffie Jacobs.
“We have the skills and the manpower in Jeffreys Bay and the immediate environs to cater for almost every single job opportunity that the festival has provided. There is very little need to employ people from elsewhere, as we have all the necessary skills right here.”
Koffie and Arthur Joubert are the two people who have been working tirelessly behind the scenes to get the JBay Winterfest off the ground, and as with any event of this size and nature there have been many snags and loopholes.
However, with the endless support of council and the municipality, they have pulled it off and provided a vital life-line to the cash strapped town.
Jeffreys Bay DA Councillor Brenton Williams agrees. “Historically the economy of Jeffreys Bay has been based on tourism and looking into the future, a sustainable tourism industry is the only viable mechanism to economic growth for the town,” said Williams.
“The JBay Winterfest injects much needed cash into Jeffreys Bay during the normally quiet winter months and this boost ensures that small businesses can avoid the boom and bust cycles of the past.
The organisers of the Winterfest have done an outstanding job in expanding the number of events on offer and having the World Championship Tour (WCT) back in town has resulted in massive international media exposure for Jeffreys Bay.
The Kouga Council is fully committed to supporting the tourism industry in Jeffreys Bay and looks forward to helping grow the Winterfest into the biggest Festival of its kind in the Eastern Cape.”
Added to this, the Association Of Surfing Professionals, the governing body of Professional Surfing, are very excited to be back in town.
“On behalf of the ASP and its surfers we could not be happier returning to the legendary wave of Supertubes. We are truly grateful to the town of Jeffreys Bay and the local community that supported us in coming back,” stated ASP Chief Marketing Officer, Graham Stapelberg.
The JBay Winterfest is set to finish this weekend with the finals of the JBay Open, as well as the Mountain Bike Open event, the Flamingo Trail Running event, and bands performing at the Jolly Dolphin.
The Lucas Reunion and Jeremy Loop will be performing on Friday night, and the Music Festival will close off with 7th Son and Taxi Violence on Saturday night.
For more information go to www.jbaywinterfest.com