On 7 September 2021, a delegation led by Western Cape Minister of Finance and Economic Opportunities, David Maynier, paid a visit to Caledon and Hermanus to celebrate tourism month and to focus on initiatives that will encourage growth and renewal of the local tourism sector.
The first stop was in Caledon where he and Overberg District Municipality’s Mayor, Sakkie Franken, took part in a sod-turning event of the new zipline site in Caledon.
At the next stop, Overstrand Executive Mayor, Dudley Coetzee, joined them at the Hermanus CDC, a public vaccination site. Since March 2021, Overberg Covid-19 vaccination teams across the district have administered a total of 111 585 vaccines (this includes health workers, special groups, and people over 18). The Overberg is the most vaccinated region, which is great news for tourism and economic recovery.
Economic recovery depends on getting as many people vaccinated as quickly as possible. “If you have not been vaccinated, please do so as soon as possible, because with more jabs there will be more jobs,” the Minister said.
ODM Mayor Sakkie Franken, who is also the Chairperson of the District Health Council, received his second dose of the vaccine. “I got vaccinated because I want to protect myself against Covid-19. The pandemic has had a huge impact on our livelihoods. It has affected all of us in some aspect of our lives. Covid-19 can have serious, life-threatening complications. The vaccine will prevent me from getting severely ill. This way, I can do more because I know I am protected, ” Mayor Franken said.
The day concluded with the re-opening of the upgraded child focused section of the Whale House Museum in Hermanus. Minister Maynier heads the Department of Economic Development and Tourism (DEDAT), which funded the museum project where the mysteries of these magnificent marine mammals are revealed. He and Mayor Dudley Coetzee participated in the ribbon cutting event.
The Minister said it is important to invest in tourism experiences (such as the family friendly whale exhibition), to ensure Hermanus and the Overstrand remain a world-class and competitive option for travellers when global travel starts to recover.
“Situated in a prime location near the harbour, the Whale House Museum has hosted a small but steady flow of visitors throughout the years. However, the museum was far from realising its full potential. And so, thanks to the funding provided, the museum has been upgraded to more enthusiastically cater for children with the development of a Whale House Mascot character guiding visitors through the exhibition with short “Did you know” messages for kids. Further an important upgrade of the submarine exhibit, additions of whale-related video games, a revamp of the whale sound exhibit and a large “build a whale” floor puzzle were conceptualised and implemented, ” he said.
By strengthening the attractions in the museum for children, the aim is to attract more families, especially in the low season, which will increase the overall attraction value of Hermanus.
When the ribbon-cutting ceremony was over, Mayor Dudley Coetzee concluded that the improved section for children of all ages, is an asset to Hermanus and “we are thankful to have a jewel like this on our waterfront. A very big congratulations to everyone involved in making this happen”.