The redevelopment of the New Harbour in Hermanus and the Gansbaai Harbour is essential for the economy of our region.

National government’s Operation Phakisa (meaning ‘hurry up’ in Sesotho) was launched in 2014, drawing from the concept of Malaysia’s Big Fast Results Methodology. It is a results-driven multi-sectoral approach to growing the blue economy – with a target to create 1 million jobs and contribute up to R177 billion to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by 2033.

According to the government, over the past five years the maritime economy significantly raised its contribution to the GDP to R41.1 billion in investments, while 10 000 jobs were created.

In line with this, the growth in our local economy through the upgrading of our harbours would fuel much-needed job creation as well as add more variety to our tourism offering.

The Overstrand and the Overberg are in an ideal position to unlock an array of opportunities in both the blue economy and the green economy. (The green economy refers to our unrivalled abundance of unique fauna and flora.)

We are fortunate to be in an area where, through our unspoiled natural resources, we can unlock huge economic potential by means of well-planned sustainable tourism. For us to achieve this, we need continuous development in infrastructure that will allow us to market the area as a truly eco-friendly tourism attraction.

It is time that we as a community critically rethink our national and international marketing efforts and start working towards the common goal of establishing the region as a must-visit on any tourist’s itinerary.

By combining our efforts, we will be able to unlock the value of our blue-green economy to the benefit of all of us.

After all, contrary to popular belief created by sensationalist media headlines, recent research by Ipsos, a global market research and consulting firm, showed that both world-wide and in South Africa, the majority of people believe the economy will improve this year.

With that in mind, let us take the plunge and work together to attract investment to all our towns.

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