We are thrilled with the attendance numbers at the Pick n Pay Knysna Oyster Festival this year, particularly in light of the devastating Knysna fire which started on 7 June, just one month before the festival opened. The fire did not discourage our visitors who flocked in their thousands to support Knysna, the festival events and local businesses.
We are still getting feedback from all the event managers, but the two major events, the Momentum Knysna Cycle Tour and the Momentum Knysna Forest Marathon were very well supported. 7,000 runners registered for the marathon, which is 5% more than last year!
We are very grateful to all our visitors for their support, the festival sponsors who made it happen in difficult circumstances and the event managers who never thought of letting us down for a moment. Not to mention all our wonderful members who bent over backwards to assist with accommodating guests who had booked in one of the many establishments that were destroyed or damaged in the fire.
I believe we made the right decision to go ahead with the festival. It was a great celebration and uplifted local people generally, even some of those who had lost everything.
It was also a much-needed economic boost to Knysna and the Garden Route, and the perfect opportunity to show the world that Knysna is still scenically beautiful and very much open for business. The thousands of visitors who were here will go home and spread the word that Knysna is okay. The many broadcast, print and digital media who were here to cover the festival will also help to get the word out internationally that Knysna is still a top tourism destination and the Knysna experience is still as appealing as ever.