Welcome boost for tourism

At the back, from left, are Rië* Meynhardt, Craig Seaman, Annemien Kotze, Daniel Kritzinger, Raino Bolz and Johann Nepgen, and in front, Annemarie Ferns, Hildegard Kidd and Margie Potgieter.

Stellenbosch Publicity and Marketing (SPM) held its annual general meeting at Devon Valley Hotel recently and reported positive growth in income derived from tourism levies, despite challenges facing the hospitality industry over the past financial year.

SPM was established in 2010 to create funding for marketing Stellenbosch as a premier business and leisure tourism destination. The 1% levy which member companies, mainly accommodation establishments, add to their bills, increased by 28%, about R127 000. From modest beginnings in 2010/2011, when only R116 132 was obtained from members levies, last year’s amount increased to R807 497.

Craig Seaman, chairman of SPM, emphasised that the main task and role of SPM is to build brand Stellenbosch and to optimally promote Stellenbosch tourism with Stellenbosch 360, the official tourism organisation of the town, as main beneficiary.

“Monies are dedicated to active marketing and not on, for example, research or operational costs. With the available funds we market Stellenbosch and the surrounding region as a top national and international tourist destination and initiate essential initiatives such as global trade visits. In addition, SPM’s funding is used to pro-actively develop Stellenbosch as a major conferencing and business tourism destination,” Mr Seaman said.

Annemarie Ferns, CEO of Stellenbosch 360, said: “We welcome and thank newcomers Lanzerac Hotel and Babylonstoren, whose valuable contributions assisted us greatly. I would like to encourage more role-players in the tourism industry, however big or small, to participate in this initiative.

“To implement a voluntary tourism levy of as little as 1% requires little effort on the part of the SPM members. The impact of SPM’s contribution is enormous – without it we would be hard pressed to sustain a world-class multilevel marketing campaign promoting our exceptional town and all its offerings to business and leisure travellers globally.”