The Eastern Cape Parks and Tourism Agency (ECPTA) in partnership with the Joe- Gqabi local Municipality and Senqu local municipality officially launched the Snow Festival in the quaint little town of Rhodes as part of welcoming the winter season in the province.
Winter in the Eastern Cape is filled with festivals, from the Kirkwood festival, national arts festival and the snow festival, and this year all three festivals took place simultaneously.
The launch of the Snow festival focused on the introduction of volunteer tourism and exposing hidden gems of the highland region and festivities of the snow festival, following the announcement of the complete lifting of restrictions in the country. Some of the activities in the itinerary also included food and wine Pairing at the Silkbush Estate and welcoming Spanish students for the volunteer tourism programme.
Chairperson of the ECPTA board, Tracy Putzier said that this first of a kind event has potential to become much more than just a festival, but a community-driven and owned project which creates sustainable jobs and provides business opportunities in the Highlands region.
“We at ECPTA are proud to be associated with all provincial signature and small-scale events that help us to create jobs and grow the provincial GDP. We understand that events play a critical role in provincial tourism because they act as draw cards to the province.”
Putzier further said that events are visitor number drivers and that they play a crucial role in providing a tangible reason for people to visit the province.
“Events are triggers for diversified tourism offerings and are also catalyst for economic growth and job creation. They have a potential of delivering outstanding return on investment and therefore there is considerable value in hosting them in our province,” Putzier said.
Putzier called for the promotion and auction of exceptional customer care service when dealing with tourists in order for their experiences to prompt them for more return visits.
“When tourists visit our shores all they want is to explore our beautiful province, they want to feel welcomed and they want to feel safe, we must work together to ensure that they are safe. Communities need to help us rid our province of criminal elements that render our province unsafe,” said Putzier.
“We should all be proud of our natural and authentic experiences from culture, heritage, 800km of coastline, adventure, wildlife, and our signature events as they make us unique.”
According to Putzier, Eastern Cape is a destination for all seasons as she further invited visitors to explore the winter season in style.
“As Eastern Cape ambassadors we should also explore our own province as well so as to spread the word about the beauty that is Eastern Cape and there is no better way to market this province than through word of mouth.” Putzier said.