The Department of Tourism is aiming to boost tourism numbers to the Overberg area through product enhancements at the Agulhas National Park. This was according to Deputy Minister Fish Mahlalela who spoke during his visit on Tuesday to the National Park to assess progress on the Department’s infrastructure development programme at the Lighthouse Precinct in the Park Ahead of the Tourism Budget Vote.
“Cape Agulhas is such a unique place as the official meeting point of the Indian and Atlantic Oceans as well as the most southernmost tip of Africa. Tourism is one of the main economic drivers and a significant generator of jobs and revenue.”
“To give expression to its mandate, the Department has been at the forefront of the commissioning and construction of destination enhancement tourism facilities through its Working for Tourism which is an Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) to promote economic empowerment, employment opportunities and the transfer of skills to members of the community.,” said the Deputy Minister.
The Department signed an agreement with South African National Parks (SANParks) in 2016, for tourism enhancements at the Agulhas National Park which focussed on the construction of the iconic Map of Africa monument, construction of 1 km road, rehabilitation of the terrain and the re-alignment of the boardwalk. This R14 million project, which was Phase 1, was completed in 2018.
“The second phase namely the Lighthouse Precinct Project, commenced in 2017. It includes a 60-seater ocean view restaurant, a reception area, an interpretive centre, a curio shop, vendor stalls, paving and walkways and a conference facility. This project is set to be completed by early 2024,” said the Deputy Minister.
The Department provided a budget of R54,740,000 for Phase 2 with SANParks being the implementing agent. To date, the project is 43% completed and has employed 88 local people of which 62 were women and 52 youth.
“The Department of Tourism is excited to partner with SANParks on this tourism enhancement project as both Phase I and II serve as a springboard for further tourism developments and job creation in the Overberg region,” Mahlalela said.