The grim reality facing Jeffreys Bay is that the Tourism office is in danger of shutting its doors as municipal funding for tourism is all but drying up and a membership base who feel that the Tourist office does not do enough for the industry in the town.
Jeffreys Bay has always been a tourist town from the days when the farmers in the region camped with their wagons along the beachfront and brought food and livestock with them.
The construction of a railroad siding at Kabeljous saw many visitors come to Jeffreys Bay at the turn of the previous century. Kabeljous Beach, for a time, was the most popular beach in the town.
The discovery of perfect waves in the 1960’s altered Jeffreys Bay forever. From being a quiet little fishing village, J’Bay saw an influx of surfers from all over the world who were determined to surf the best right hand point break in the world.
December has always seen the town teeming with upcountry visitors, many of whom ended up buying a holiday home in Jeffreys Bay, thereby fuelling the property boom that saw Wavecrest become the sprawling suburb that it is today.
As South Africa started enjoying the fruits of being a democracy and being accepted by the rest of the world in the 1990’s, tourism took off and J’Bay reaped the benefits thereof.
Bed and Breakfasts, Guest houses and Backpackers opened up in the town to cater for the demand for accommodation and suddenly tourism was less seasonal and didn’t rely solely on the surfers and December holidaymakers.
Sadly the local Municipality fails to see the advantages tourism has for the town and over the past few years, has steadily decreased the annual grant for Jeffreys Bay Tourism. The stage has now been reached where the grant is not even enough to pay the monthly expenses of the Tourism Office.
With limited budget and dwindling interest from the members of the Tourism Association, the Office is now at the point where the doors could be closed. However, that would be a tragedy for the town.
For many tourists, the first port of call when coming to a new town is a visit to the Tourism Office to find out what is going on and what attractions the town offers.
For Jeffreys Bay to contend with other towns and cities like Knysna, Hermanus, Cape Town and Port Elizabeth without a Tourist Office is simply ridiculous. We have already lost the Blue Flag; we cannot lose the Tourism Office as well
The Tourism AGM will be taking place tomorrow night (Tuesday) and everyone who benefits from having tourists in the town is invited to attend. Most businesses in Jeffreys Bay directly or indirectly benefit from the flow of dollars and euro into the local economy and a strong turn out tomorrow night will be a step in the right direction.
Maybe it’s time to ask what can I do for Tourism in Jeffreys Bay and not what can Tourism do for me.
Date: Tuesday 8 March
Time: 18h00 – 20h00
Place: Jeffreys Bay Ski Boat Club – Diaz Road
Please RSVP on 042 293 2923 for catering purposes as there will be snacks