September is Tourism Month, a celebration of the importance of tourism to the South African economy. With the move to Alert Level 2, and the easing on inter-provincial restrictions, Visit Knysna will be aligning their recovery plan with the “We’re Open” campaign that was recently launched by Wesgro and the Western Cape government to urge South Africans to take advantage and explore the beauty and diversity of the many affordable and world-class attractions that Cape Town and the Western Cape has to offer.
From 24 to 27 September 2020 Visit Knysna will be running a Photo Challenge campaign, targeting families, digital nomads, road-trippers, as well as day visitors to discover all that the greater Knysna area has to offer. The intention is for locals and visitors to discover or rediscover a favourite attraction, restaurant, museum or outdoor activity and post it on social media with #KnysnaTourismMonth and #TourismMonth2020 for a chance to win an inclusive holiday adventure in greater Knysna.
Emphasis will be placed on Visit Knysna’s niche offerings, such as:
Eco Adventure, Sport & Leisure – outdoor activities and nature,
Business, Events – working remotely from Knysna,
Wellness, Health & Fitness – exercise, yoga or spa,
Community, Culture & Heritage – arts, crafts, markets, historical buildings.
Visit Knysna General Manager, Colleen Durant, commented: “Our destination has so much to offer, undiscovered gems. We’re encouraging our locals and visitors to engage with our office should they be looking for suggestions on outings, activities or routes to discover."
"Our local tourist guides are keen to elaborate on these gems too, so we encourage visitors to utilise their services to have a deeper understanding of our history, heritage and culture. Through the photo challenge, new discoveries can be shared and promoted so others can then experience and enjoy these too," concluded Durrant
“Having to call paradise home is such a blessing. People from all over the country and across the world travel to Knysna to experience its beauty. Knysna is such a showoff and offers an array of outdoor activities, magical experiences and is a dream for Adrenalin junkies. It is also a haven with its breathtaking sceneries and spectacular restaurants and warm people. Whatever thrills you, Knysna has you covered.
Ours now is to be inclusive, find innovative ways to promote local businesses, inspire and empower emerging businesses. Also, encourage locals to explore their town. Redefine life during this ‘new normal’, rediscover our happy places whilst lifting the veil on some of Knysna’s hidden treasures and rebuild our economy by supporting Knysna businesses,” said Executive Mayor of Knysna, Cllr Elrick van Aswegen
Wesgro CEO, Tim Harris concluded: “With the launch of our “We’re Open” campaign the Western Cape Province is prepared to open safely and to start doing business again. But most importantly, the province is working hard to start rebuilding its economy, which is why I would like to urge South Africans in general and our locals to venture out of home and go and support local businesses. The greater Knysna area is brimming with amazing things to do, see, taste and explore.”
For more details on the photo challenge and other activities to discover, go to Visit Knysna’s website www.visitknysna.co.za and Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/VisitKnysna/
Knysna is a popular area for golf among professional and leisure players alike. With three 18-hole championship courses and two mashie courses (one in Sedgefield), it is a prime golfing destination.
Greater Knysna has been the proud host of professional tournaments as well as many local golf days and fundraisers, especially during the well-known annual Knysna Oyster Festival.
Did you know:
Simola Country & Golf Estate
The Simola Golf and Country Estate was designed by golfing legend, Jack Nicklaus. This 18-hole course is one of only four Golden Bear Signature Courses in South Africa.
Jack wrote that is was his “…aim to create a golf course that will be a demanding test of skill for the accomplished golfer playing from the back tees. But, at the same time, I want to offer a challenging, yet enjoyable experience for the average or beginner player who plays from the appropriate tees and thinks his or her way around the golf course.”
An 18-hole, par 72 course with an unusual configuration of five par 5 and five par 3 holes, visitors can play any day of the week while only members have booking opportunity.
‘The ultimate leisure, golfing and residential destination’ - https://www.simola.co.za/
Knysna Golf Course
The Knysna Golf Club, established in 1909, is one of the country’s oldest and most inspiring golf clubs with many tidal pools and inlets, indigenous trees and a variety of bird-life to admire while you play.
With an interesting parkland layout that has been upgraded and improved in the past 10 years, this 18-hole course features some of the finest greenery on the Garden Route.
‘Affordable rates, welcoming staff and excellent facilities make a visit to Knysna Golf Club a memorable and pleasurable experience for anyone who loves the game of golf.’ - https://knysnagolfclub.com/
Pezula Golf Estate
The Pezula Championship Course is not only a Top 20 South African Ranked Golf Course but also has breath-taking views over the Knysna Estuary and the Indian Ocean.
A round of golf at this challenging 18-hole course, designed by David Dale and Ronald Fream of GolfPlan USA, is not only great sport but also visually pleasing: enjoying a day on the course with waves crashing in the distance is the ultimate golfing experience.
‘With strongly contoured greens, ample bunkers and breathtaking views of the Indian Ocean, Pezula Championship Course is one of the most beautiful and challenging courses in the world’ - https://www.pezulagolf.com/
Blackwaters Mashie Golf
The Blackwaters River Lodge has a very challenging 9-hole Mashie Golf Course designed specifically to allow you to enjoy the natural beauty of the area.
This short course has a variety of distances between the tees and holes with the longest being 152m and the shortest 52m. For its unique golfing experience, Blackwaters has its own set of "local rules" of play, including when to apply penalty strokes, free drops when play is interrupted and drop out zones.
‘Our “19th hole” pub has become our social spot with guests of Blackwaters River Lodge and golfers mingling after a game of golf.’ - http://www.blackwaters.co.za/golf-course.html
Sedge Links Golf Course & Club
Sedge Links Golf Course is a premium short course, located alongside the Swartvlei Lake. With 18 tee boxes, each box with a junior, intermediate and advanced tee off section, this 9-green course is one for all skill levels to enjoy.
Enjoy a peaceful environment with a beautiful natural setting overlooking the Outeniqua Mountains in the distance. Braai facilities available for a fun family day or small informal function. Membership options available for families and children as well equipment hire for visitors.
‘This short course is the perfect place to feel at peace to concentrate on your drives, short game or putting skills.’ - https://pinelakemarina.co.za/golf/
Visit Knysna is working to keeping the jewel of the Garden Route front-of-mind as they head into the recovery phase of their three-phase COVID-19 response strategy.
Aligning with the three step strategy of “containment, adaption and recovery” - to build resilience for now and the future during the nationwide pandemic - Visit Knysna is pleased to announce that recovery is now underway, with an initial focus on the upcoming Virtual Knysna Oyster Festival.
Since the start of lockdown, Visit Knysna implemented the following:
Phase 1 - Containment:
• continued with ‘business unusual’ from their virtual office, replying to emails and phone calls timeously;
• formed part of the Knysna Municipality’s JOC meetings thrice weekly, thus keeping stakeholders informed;
• marketed bucket-list experiences in Knysna and the greater Knysna area, featuring iconic locals and fun facts on Visit Knysna social media and online platforms to stay top of mind and retain awareness of the destination;
• with Wesgro, developed and shared a “stay home” video that depicted photographs shared by our stakeholders, encouraging all to stay home whilst in the initial phase of lockdown.
Phase 2 - Adaption:
• created awareness of the COVID-19 Content Centre (www.supportbusiness.co.za) and directed followers and industry partners to the website for answers to frequently asked questions, best practice stories and support applicable to businesses during the pandemic, through the assistance of the COVID-19 Support Finder Tool;
• supported National Governments #StayHome movement through re-skinning billboards in dense traffic areas to include ‘Stay Home If You Can’ messaging;
• assisted the local hospitality industries to register as isolation and quarantine units;
• directed new funding opportunities to local businesses;
• included messaging from Knysna on the “repatriation farewell” flyer to encourage international visitors to come to Knysna once travel resumes;
• joined Wesgro’s One Day Western Cape tourism campaign, by identifying local guides to form part of the virtual series which monetizes digital with viewers encouraged to tip guides at the end of the tour via Zapper and SnapScan;
• invited local partners to join in industry-relevant conversations by extending invites to webinars and virtual chats hosted by SATSA, TBCSA, WishTrip and Bright Talk;
• adapted the iconic Knysna Oyster Festival to bring to life a digital programme that can be attended virtually – allowing the local community to showcase their products and talents online in place of the physical festival.
Phase 3 – Recovery:
Visit Knysna has actively been lobbying alongside the public and private sector to advocate for an earlier and safe re-opening of leisure tourism from as soon as September 2020. With the TBCSA leading the initiative, the council has been successful to date with corporate travel enabled as of 1 June.
Looking to digitise offerings until such a time that travel can resume, Visit Knysna is excited for the first Virtual Knysna Oyster Festival to take place, giving the local DMO the opportunity to gauge interest and build up a database of potential new visitors for the future.
“Despite the nationwide lockdown, we continued to deliver on our commitment to promoting the town of Knysna and the greater Knysna area,” comments Colleen Durant, General Manager of Visit Knysna.
“We’ve kept our local stakeholders and industry partners updated on our efforts through regular communication via virtual meetings and newsletters, inviting them to partake where possible. We welcome Level 3 which brings with it the opportunity for us to focus our efforts on recovering and re-evaluating how we can bolster our tourism offering to attract domestic travellers once leisure travel resumes,” added Durant.
Wesgro CEO, Tim Harris, concluded: “Tourism has been one of the hardest hit sectors globally however, we see many opportunities for the Western Cape and particularly the Garden Route and Knysna, as travel as we know it will be re-imagined in a COVID-19 world. With Knysna being the capital of adventure experiences, synonymous with wide-open outdoor experiences, Knysna and the Greater Knysna area is well-positioned to provide the socially-distanced travel experiences that will be sought after when leisure travel resumes. As a first step, we look forward to seeing the first virtual Knysna Oyster Festival come to life.”
We all aspire to travel and be tourists. As September is Tourism Month, an annual celebration focused on the importance of tourism in every economy, we can be a tourist in our own town and country. By being reminded to rediscover the environment within which we live, we encourage everyone to re-appreciate the reasons why we live here.
Visit Knysna, the Destination Marketing Organisation (DMO) for Greater Knysna, is launching a treasure hunt-type initiative in celebration of Tourism Month 2019, encouraging locals and visitors to Discover Our World by following clues to various locations in and around our area. “With so much to see and do here in the heart of the Garden Route, we want people to rediscover the sights, experiences and spirit of our beautiful location”, says Visit Knysna General Manager, Colleen Durant.
This activation will launch on the 1 September with clue cards being available at the Visit Knysna office at 40 Main Road, Knysna, our information outlet at the Fijnbosch Coffee Shop, 31 Main Road, Sedgefield or downloadable from our website www.VisitKnysna.co.za .
Participation includes visiting at least 10 of the 18 clues on a clue card. There, take a selfie with the clue – be sure to include your clue card in your selfie – and tag @VisitKnysna and @VisitSedgefield with #DiscoverOurWorld. The initiative includes many local businesses and products who have offered specials and prizes to "discoverers" who are led by the clues to their establishments.
During the course of the month, there are prizes to be won or discounts to be issued by some of the participating products. On World Tourism Day, this being 27 September, we will end the fun with a few lucky draw prizes, hampers of locally made products, for participants that tagged correctly.
WESGRO, Cape Town and the Western Cape’s Destination Marketing Organisation, will also for the month of September be promoting special offers in the Western Cape area. Follow them on Social Media for more details: @discoverctwc
From 23 – 29 September 2019, South African Tourism will also be hosting a Sale Week with special offers from products and establishments from all over the country. Keep an eye on their website for more details: www.deals.southafrica.net .
We challenge everyone to get out, explore, have fun and even possibly win!
+27 (0)44 382 5510
Visit Knysna will be exhibiting at the annual Vakantiebeurs 2019 in Utrecht in the Netherlands from 9 to 13 January 2019.
Boasting up to a hundred thousand travel enthusiasts in the past, the event supplies exhibitors with a prime opportunity to interact directly with consumers and tour operators looking for a great holiday destination.
Visit Knysna will join a strong contingency from the Garden Route, made up of local tourism offices such as George and Oudtshoorn and local products, who together will showcase the diverse range of experiences one can enjoy while travelling to the Garden Route and Klein Karoo.
South African Tourism traditionally invites Dutch and Belgium travel specialists to specially meet with the exhibitors from South Africa, giving them the opportunity to have an exclusive view of the product offering.
Visit Knysna encourages the tourism industry in the Greater Knysna area to join the team in showcasing the unique travel experiences on offer in the area at the show.
Wesgro CEO, Tim Harris, commented: “Data indicates that 104,871 tourists from the Netherlands travelled to Western Cape in 2017, with a 8.3% year on year growth recorded between 2016 and 2017. It will be beneficial for the Greater Knysna area and other participants from the Garden Route and Klein Karoo to partake in this trip to promote the regions diverse offering and boost numbers in the upcoming year.””
Minister of Economic Opportunities, Beverley Schäfer, commented: "The Dutch market was one of the top ten travel source markets for the Western Cape in 2017 and the Vakantiebeurs show is an exciting opportunity to showcase the Greater Knysna area and the Garden Route and Klein Karoo to the consumer market. Last year, the show attracted over 100 000 consumers, and any companies based in the Greater Knysna area exhibiting will therefore be able to appeal and connect with a wide base of potential new customers.”
"It is important for the Greater Knysna area to establish itself in the market by broadening our market base. This platform will aim to achieve just that by showing what makes the Greater Knysna area a unique and must see destination when visiting South Africa. I want to encourage exhibitors from the Greater Knysna area to take this opportunity and utilise this platform which has been created by Wesgro, to show off what makes them so special," concluded Knysna Executive Mayor, Mark Willemse.
Visit Knysna, a division of the Wesgro's Destination Marketing Unit, has been mandated by Knysna Municipality to assist with local tourism promotion and visitor services for the Greater Knysna area. Visit Knysna is based on 40 Main Road, Knysna.
Media Relations Officer, Wesgro
Tel: 021 487 8700
Cell: 083 577 0327