Jeffreys Bay is poised to become the events capital of the Eastern Cape, with two new festivals set to be included on the annual tourism calendar.
Kouga Executive Mayor Horatio Hendricks said planning was in full swing for the new festivals, to be hosted by his office in partnership with local businesses and organisations.
“The aim is to draw more visitors to our region throughout the year, so that the tourism industry can grow and become more sustainable outside the summer season. This will, in turn, create job and entrepreneurial opportunities.”
Hendricks said the new festivals would take place in April and September.
The first Jeffreys Bay Beach Carnival will brighten up the town’s main beachfront on Easter Saturday, April 20.
“Many families go away together over the Easter weekend. We want to give them good reason to choose Jeffreys Bay as their preferred destination,” the Mayor said.
He said the carnival would be a celebration of the idyllic beach lifestyle that families can enjoy in Kouga.
“The programme is still being finalised, but we anticipate having free children’s activities, a beach run, touchies tournament, surf contests and lifesaving related events like a run-swim-run, flags, a sea swim and a 2 km beach run.
“We would further like to extend an invitation to businesses and organisations to become involved, be it as participants or sponsors.”
The second new annual event is the JBay Makiti, a spin-off of the hugely successful KIA Makietie Jeffreysbaai, which was held last year to celebrate Jeffreys Bay’s victory in the Kwêla Town of the Year competition.
“ More than 10 000 people attended the Makietie. This year our aim is to draw at least 15000 people,” he said.
The JBay Makiti will take place from Friday, September 20, to Sunday, September 22, at the Jeffreys Bay Caravan Park.
“Last year we were limited in what we could do because of the Town of the Year requirements,” he said.
“This year we do not have those restrictions and plan on adding several attractions to the event, including a colour run and the crowning of a Miss and Mr Kouga.”
Hendricks said the municipality would also continue supporting the JBay Winterfest and continue to build on the success of the 2018 Opening of the Season and New Year’s Countdown in December.
“In essence, this means there will be a series of anchor events taking place in Jeffreys Bay every quarter.
“These will be complemented by various other events such as the SA Open Water Championships in March and the SA Junior Surfing Championship, just after the Makiti.
“We want there to be a constant flow of visitors to the region to boost our local businesses.”
He said the municipality would also help to grow existing events and launch new ones in other Kouga towns as part of its strategy to strengthen the region’s economy and make more opportunities available to all residents.