The Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) is keen to partner with investors who want to diversify their tourism product offering, including adventure sport. In order to prepare the local tourism industry for growth and the creation of employment opportunities, a diversification of product offering is needed, said Christine Engelbrecht, head of the Tourism Strategic Business Unit (SBU) at the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC). This must include developing untapped tourism nodes such as sports and adventure tourism. She said following a turbulent run prompted mainly by the global economic crisis and ensuing recession, local tourism is slowly rediscovering its growth momentum. “We probably won’t be seeing an immediate return to the pre-recession stellar-run, but prospects in local tourism are visibly improving and the medium term outlook is indeed encouraging,” she said.
While some tourism related activities remain subdued in the wake of declining discretionary expenditure – especially among potential tourists – Engelbrecht said the industry needs to diversify its product offering in anticipation of a boom. As a result, the IDC is keen to partner with investors who want to diversify their product offering, including adventure sport. The newly opened Windtown Lagoon Resort and Spa, a 35-room development in Langebaan, on the West Coast, is an example. “This facility specifically addresses the need to boost adventure sports in the Western Cape, an area which has a big opportunity to grow tourism,” said Engelbrecht. “Over the past decade the number of middle–income households in the Western Cape and nationally has grown exponentially, yet not much is being done to attract this market.” Dave Osborn, tourism manager for the Saldanha area, pointed out that the area is a world renowned site for kite surfing.