TOURISM DEVELOPMENT Recent surveys of domestic and overseas markets indicated that the Western Cape received about 6.6 million visitors in 2003, with a spending power of R16.2 billion. Approximately 23% of these tourists, totally about 1.5 million constituted overseas visitors who spent about R7.9 billion. The number of international visitors to the Western Cape comprises 23% of all international visitors to South Africa. Most of the international visitors to South Africa choose Cape Town as the city to visit. The close proximity of the proposed Biosphere Reserve to Cape Town adds to its appeal as a tourist destination (Cape Winelands District Municipality 2006). The proposed Biosphere Reserve will contribute to the regional tourism product and promote the exceptional diversity of tourism opportunities that can meet the increasing demand for culture historic and nature experiences and special interest tours. The management entity of the Biosphere Reserve will include a dedicated tourism management portfolio. TYPES OF TOURISM The proposed Biosphere Reserve offers a variety of tourist attractions, which include: a) Camping and hiking at the various provincial nature reserves which forms part of the designated core area. b) Watersports such as sailing, kayaking, windsurfing and skiing at Theewaterskloof Dam, Brandvlei Dam and Voëlvlei Dam. c) Various outdoor and adventure activities, including mountain biking, quad biking, 4X4 or off-road excursions, paint ball, horse riding, etc. d) Freshwater fishing in all the major dams and rivers. e) Fly-fishing in the Jonkershoek and Franschhoek Valley. f) Game and bird watching at various game farms. g) Rich archaeological heritage. h) Golfing at the various excellent golf estates in the proposed Biosphere Reserve. i) Unique Winelands tranquillity, comprising unmatched natural vegetation and impressive mountain ranges, attracts those seeking a vacation ‘away from it all’. j) Beauty treatments and wellness experiences at various health hydros, e.g. Santé Winelands Hotel and Wellness Centre, High Rusternberg Hydro, etc. k) Various theatres and museums in Stellenbosch, Franschhoek, Wellington and Paarl. l) Cultural tours throughout the proposed Biosphere Reserve, e.g. Bainskloof Story Route, Wine Walk in Wellington, etc. m) Unique township tours linked to community arts and craft projects, for example, Kyamandi at Stellenbosch. n) Excellent culinary experience with approximately 50% of the top fine dining restaurants in South Africa, with some restaurants in Franschhoek earning ‘Top 50 Restaurant in the World’-accolades. Roads are generally of adequate standards with the N1 (National Road) providing the main access route from the east and west. This route opens up some of the important resort and tourist attractions. Other provincial roads linking main towns and destinations are generally in a good condition (R44 and R45). Many regional roads forms lower order linkages between the R44 and R45 and various attractions and towns and is also of a reasonably good condition (R301, R304, R310). Many tertiary dirt roads still exist within the region, but they are also considered to be appropriate, especially when leading to low-intensity tourist destinations. The proposed Biosphere reserve is approximately 40 km from the Cape Town International Airport and approximately 70 Km from the Cape Town Harbour. TOURIST FACILITIES Tourist accommodation is provided by, amongst others, numerous hotels and resorts, which are located mainly within the designated transition area of the proposed Biosphere Reserve. Conference facilities occur throughout the proposed Biosphere Reserve at various locations, such as hotels, golf estates and nature reserves. Sport and recreational facilities include golf courses, tennis courts, gymnasiums, rugby fields, hockey fields, etc. IMPACTS OF TOURISM Tourism could have the following impacts in the proposed Biosphere Reserve: a) Promoting environmental conservation: Deriving income from tourists who study, or experience, the natural resources of the area, would encourage the owners of these resources to conserve them better. It could also increase the awareness of the vital importance of the area’s natural resources. Knowledge and protection of the area’s unique ecological and cultural characteristics could promote tourism that draw on these unique attributes of the area, in line with tourism trends and market demands (i.e. the provision of a unique tourist experience that is also educational). This should help to boost the area’s tourism industry and promote environmental and socio-cultural conservation. b) Enhancing the local economy: Tourism contributes on average approximately 10% to world GDP, the comparative for the Western Cape is approximately 8.5% of the total GDP (SATOUR, 2005). The proposed Biosphere Reserve should benefit from increases in international tourism. c) Increasing employment opportunities: Internationally 1 in 15 jobs is linked to tourism. In 2005 1 060 000 jobs were created in the South African economy through the tourism industry (SATOUR, 2005). Tourism could play a significant role in solving the high rate of unemployment in the proposed Biosphere Reserve. d) Benefiting previously disadvantaged rural communities: For these communities, the proposed Biosphere Reserve would mean an effective re-appreciation of their traditional culture, knowledge and skills of sustainable living within their environment. This would promote sustainable opportunities for grass-root level tourism, e.g. guided hiking trips, eventually resulting in a permanent appreciation for the Biosphere Reserve in the involved communities (Capenhurst, 1994). ECONOMIC BENEFITS TO LOCAL PEOPLE There are significant opportunities for communities to benefit from tourism activities vested in the proposed Biosphere Reserve. Local communities could for example, provide locally produced food and services based on traditional skills / local knowledge. In addition, a market outlet for arts and crafts using local resources, e.g. stones, wood and dried flowers, could provide an opportunity for income generation and social upliftment of local communities. The restoration, or rehabilitation of the land, for example, the control of alien plant infestations, through the Working for Water Project, initiated by the DWAF, and the Working on Fire Initiative as part of the Government’s Reconstruction and Development Project (RDP project), also creates job opportunities. As stated above, the development and upliftment of local communities could be promoted through the creation of joint tourism ventures between local communities, private investors and Biosphere Reserve authorities. Examples of such joint community ventures are, amongst others: a) Proposed De Poort Heritage Village: This concept aims to develop an interactive heritage village, which will be run on museumological lines to reflect the old skills, crafts, activities and lifestyles of artisans and craftsmen of the Drakenstein Valley between 1875 – 1895. The De Poort historical village development promises to be a significant cultural tourism attraction in the region, with the potential to stimulate large numbers of SMMEs (Small Medium and Micro Enterprises). The Village will be an additional major non-wine tourism attraction and will assist in increasing visitor numbers to the region. Benefits of the project will be shared broadly throughout the community. b) Proposed Freedom Route: The project aims to develop a tourist route in the Cape Winelands, linking a series of significant heritage sites related to the freedom theme. These sites will take into account the historical development of the District and include attractions or experiences which relate to all communities. Existing and new tourist sites will therefore be incorporated in the route and community participation and stake-holder consultation will form an integral part of the development phase. Business opportunities that will be created through the development of the route have a strong focus on SMME’s and BEE (Black Economic Empowerment). c) Arts and Craft Route: The purpose of the project is to ensure that craft enterprises in the Cape Winelands District, particularly in the previously disadvantaged communities, are able to derive benefit from tourism in the area. In order to do so, they need to be making quality products that meet the demand of the tourist market. Therefore craft enterprises are being assisted with product development and market access as well as skills development. Branding and marketing support has also been included. The project involves the identification of existing craft enterprises and an audit of their needs, the development and implementation of a training and development program. d) Schools Tourism Awareness Project: The project is aimed at increasing community and youth participation in the tourism industry by creating an understanding of the industry and an awareness of its career opportunities. Initially implemented at 20 schools, the project was embraced by teachers and learners alike. The local tourism bureaus were also involved in the project, creating a platform for Local Tourism Associations (LTAs) to engage with their communities. e) Cape Winelands Home Stay: This initiative allows tourists to experience ‘authentic living’ in the Cape Winelands by staying within the homes of local families. The idea is for the Home-Stay owners to have a thorough knowledge of the Cape Winelands and the proposed Biosphere Reserve so that they can be a source of information and knowledge sharing for the tourists regarding their community and the tourism sector. In 2002 three groups of entrepreneurs were identified throughout the proposed Biosphere Reserve with at least 30 women benefiting from the project. In order for the Home Stays to become ambassadors for their region/district, the District Municipality arranged a series of educationals throughout the region. This enabled the Home-Stay owners to experience first hand all the important tourism icons and attractions in the District and become a reference point for tourists. f) Tourism Business Training: Cape Winelands District Municipality in partnership with the Western Cape Department of Economic Development is pioneering the way in Tourism Business Development programs with the Tourism Business Training Program (TBTP), Fast Track, the Tourism Mentorship Program and the Tourism Help Desk infrastructure. These programs aim to support emerging tourism entrepreneurs in the Cape Winelands by building their capacity in effectively and profitably managing their own businesses in the (direct or indirect) tourism industry. By doing so, these entrepreneurs can give tourists the diverse and quality experience they need when coming to the Cape Winelands. UNIQUE WINE CULTURE Most routes into the proposed Biosphere Reserve cuts through vineyards. As stated previously, the South African wine industry and its associated wine culture are primarily centred around the Cape Winelands. This wine-making tradition and history dates back more than 350 years and blends the elegant traditions of the Old World (i.e. Europe) with the accessible fruit-driven styles of the New World. This gives the Cape Winelands a unique sense of place (WOSA, 2007). The Cape Winelands have long, warm summers which ensure that grapes have enough sugar to produce excellent wines. Wet winters with cool sea breezes and temperatures of 0-10°C also contribute to the ideal conditions for viticulture. The rich, fertile soils along the Breede and Berg Rivers and especially in the areas of Stellenbosch, Paarl and Franschhoek are conducive to the production of world famous red and white wine, sherries, ports and brandies. Wine-making at the Cape began with Jan van Riebeeck, who planted the first vines in 1659 at Roschheuvel (today known as Bishopscourt and Wynberg) near Cape Town. The location of the wine-making industry however expanded into the Cape Winelands with the arrival of Simon van der Stel in 1679, who was very knowledgeable about viticulture and wine-making. As stated previously, the wine industry began to flourish in the proposed Biosphere Reserve after the arrival of the French Huguenots in the late 19th century. Photograph 15: Unique sense of place created by the integration of vineyard landscapes and the natural environment (Source: DMP). Of the total wine production in South Africa, approximately 68% takes place within the Cape Winelands. The Breede River Valley, Paarl and Stellenbosch are responsible for 56% of all wine grapes grown in the Cape Winelands (refer Figure 11 below). distribution of Wine Grapes per Wine Region in South Africa (2005) Geographical Little Karoo 2.92% Orange River 4.87% Wine Regions of South Africa Olifants River 9.72% Robertson 13.16% Malmesbury 15, 09% Stellenbosch 17.25% Paarl 17.74% Worcester 19.25% 0 5000 10000 15000 20000 25000 Hectares under Vine Figure 11: Wine Productions of the Various Wine Producing Regions in South Africa. In the Cape Winelands, the wine industry is much wider than signified by the ordinary meaning of the word ‘wine’. Brandy and its building blocks (rebate wine and distilling wine) have always formed a significant part of the Cape Wineland’s wine industry. In recent years, grape juice and grape juice concentrate for use in non-alcoholic beverages, and not just for the sweetening of wine, has also come to the fore. The Cape Winelands wine industry thus encompasses wine (natural, fortified and sparkling), rebate wine, distilling wine, brandy and other spirits distilled from distilling wine, grape juice, and grape juice concentrate for use in wine and non-alcoholic products (SAWIS, 2006)1. 1 South African Wine Industry Information Systems (SAWIS) 2006: Paarl. The area is famous for unique wine routes, namely: a) Stellenbosch Wine Route2: Inspired by the French Route du Vin and the German Wine Routes, the first wine route was established in 1971 in Stellenbosch. Currently it is the largest wine route in South Africa, with more than 130 members. As from 2002, it is known as the Stellenbosch American Express Wine Route and is subdivided into five sub-routes, each with its own unique characteristics, wine styles, and geographical location such as Greater Simonsberg, Stellenbosch Berg, Helderberg, Stellenbosch Hills and Bottelary Hills. While the region is best known for its full-bodied reds such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinotage, and Shiraz, there are pockets of vineyards that produce top-quality white wines such as Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay. Stellenbosch Wine Route is regarded as a premier tourist destination in the Cape Winelands. b) Paarl Wine Route: Better known as Paarl Vintners, it has 40 members, and was established in 1978. The Paarl Wine Route is also known as the ‘Red Route’ for its legendary red wines. Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz and port have established Paarl’s place on the global wine map and the region has repeatedly received international awards for these wines. Other wine cultivars grown here are Chenin Blanc, Pinotage and Cinsaut. Paarl has the world’s only ‘Braille Wine Route’, and shows the commitment to open up the wine culture to everyone. c) Franschhoek Wine Route3: The Franschhoek valley is a relatively small but significant region. The area is distinctively French and many of the wines are created in traditional French ways . With forty members and officially known as Vignerons de Franschhoek, it was opened in 1984, and all the noble cultivars and classic styles of wine are produced here – Chardonnay, Semillion, Shiraz, Merlot, Pinot Noir, etc. It incorporates the sparkling wine tour that teaches visitors about the methods of making Cap Classique in a unique attempt to add value to wine consumption. It is regarded as one of the top destinations in the World of Wine. d) Wellington Wine Route: The Wellington Wine Route is the youngest wine route, established in the mid 1990s with 22 members. Wellington supplies over 90% of the South African wine industry with vine cuttings, and has some 30 grapevine nurseries situated here due to the appropriate soils and warm summers. Wellington is known for its top quality red wines like Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Pinotage as well as old favourites such as Chenin Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay. Furthermore, the Pinotage cultivar is a uniquely South African variety and is the result of a cross between the Pinot Noir and Cinsault varieties. It was created in 2 http://www.wineroute.co.za 3 http://www.franschhoekwines.co.za 1925 by Professor A.I. Peroldt at Stellenbosch University. The list of top Pinotage growing estates are mostly situated in the Stellenbosch district, and include Kanonkop, Simonsberg, Warwick, Clos Malverne, Avontuur, L’Avenir, Uiterwyk and Middelvlei. The first and only Kosher wines are produced by Tempel Wines and Zandwijk situated between Paarl and Wellington. A lesser known attraction than the many wine routes in the Cape Winelands, is the Brandy Route which includes Van Ryn Brandy Distillers in Stellenbosch, Avontuur, Louiesenhof, Backsberg, Cabriere, Laborie, Uitkyk and KWV in Worcester. Some of these wine estates show the visitor the different apparatus used in making brandies. Another interesting feature is the Bergkelder Maturation Cellar near Stellenbosch. This is an underground cellar similar to the famous cave cellars in France and Germany, which was opened on 7 November 1968. Situated deep inside the Papegaaiberg Mountain overlooking Stellenbosch, it is one of the most advanced and the first of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere. Bergkelder Maturation Cellar (Source: DMP). EVENTS AND FESTIVALS Visitors are attracted by numerous culinary festivals, wine competitions and shows, arts/culture fairs, open-air shows, harvest festivals, flower shows, fun- runs and marathons, carnival and rag events of the University of Stellenbosch and the other tertiary institutions, church and school bazaars, arts and crafts stalls, music shows, theatre and drama events, etc. Open-air theatres at, for example, Spier and Libertas in Stellenbosch are popular venues that present plays throughout the year. Some of the most famous and largest festivals in the area are: Picnic Festival at Bien Donne Farm, Simondium. Bastille Festival, Franschhoek. The South African Cheese Festival at Bien Donne Farm, Simondium. Cultivaria Festival, Paarl. Stellenbosch Food and Wine Festival, Stellenbosch. Simon van der Stel Festival, Stellenbosch. ‘Woordfees” (Word festival), Stellenbosch. Agricultural Show, Villiersdorp. Villiersdorp Harvest Festival, Villiersdorp Drakenstein Coon Carnival, Wellington. Stokkiesdraai Festival, Wellington Nederberg Auction, Paarl. Paarl Nouveau Wine Festival, Paarl. Wellington Harvest Festival, Wellington. Franschhoek Literary Festival, Franschhoek. The Cape Winelands is renowned for its cultural festivals (Source: DMP).
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