Amajuba District mayor reveals plans to boost Newcastle’s tourism economy
AMAJUBA District mayor Musa Ngubane said the town’s tourism sector lost more than R115 million during the lockdown.
“We want to reposition Newcastle as a premier tourism destination with the focus on events, natural assets, and cultural heritage,” he said.
Ngubane said the revised Amajuba Tourism strategy aims to reset Newcastle’s tourism identity and brand.
Last year, Tourism Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane said the sector may have lost around R54.2 billion in output in three months. She said the period was between mid-March to the end of May.
Ngubane said the revival will be a collaboration between the government and the tourism industry, as both share the same vision: to make Newcastle a premier visitor destination.
Newcastle is situated between Durban and Joburg and bordering the Free State and Mpumalanga provinces.
In a statement the mayor said, the town has seen an increase in township hospitality businesses, which provided jobs and a variety of experiences for visitors.
“We have short and medium-term interventions, including renovating and diversifying the tourism offerings at Balele Game Park and revamping the Emadlangeni Municipality Tourism Information Centre,” he said.
Magubane said outdoor sports like golfing, hiking, fly-fishing, motor sports, birdwatching, boating, were being encouraged.
He also said some of the interventions included upgrading the regional airport. It has been developed into a techno hub.
“The upgrade will present opportunities for attracting investment while creating jobs,” he said.
Magubane said while negotiations were not finalised yet, a multi-million hotel and other accommodation outlets were on the cards.
The mayor also said that he found it critical to involve the private sector in the revival.
“We have some exciting projects in the pipeline which will help to build the sector as the critical location of the town allows us to explore various options,” Ngubane said.
Samukelisiwe Yende, the speaker of the Newcastle Municipality, said the key to tourism’s recovery was to broaden the region’s marketing strategy.
“As a municipality, we are planning a video to promote what Newcastle can offer. While Newcastle is not your traditional tourist destination, it does attract a lot of business tourism,” she said.
“Ongoing investment in tourism was integral to building a thriving, diverse and robust economy to future-proof Newcastle to withstand disruptions such as Covid-19,” she said.
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