The news that the Overstrand is making its mark on the international food and wine stage is good news for our region.

This is due to the hard work done over many years by so many of our local businesses in creating offerings that appeal to visitors. Gone are the days when the idea of a sleepy seaside resort was what dictated the image of our towns. With so much on offer we are at the forefront of fashioning a unique brand that is fast becoming part of many people’s bucket list.

In turn, the upswing in tourism has had the desired effect of allowing many other businesses to flourish, providing us with the opportunity to create a vibrant economy. We have achieved much to be proud of and it stands to reason that local businesses would do what they deem necessary to protect their interests. After all, the future of Hermanus, and indeed the whole region, depends on continued economic growth, driven by a thriving business community.

Any action that harms our businesses or undermines our economy cannot be supported and must be condemned in the strongest terms. Communities are still traumatised by the disastrous events of last year and many businesses are still struggling to recuperate their losses and get back on track. Every action taken now has to be constructive and not destructive.

It is only in a climate of mutual respect and cooperation that we will be able to rebuild trust and find solutions to the many challenges we are faced with. The fact that we do not always agree with one another should not deter us from engaging in dialogue and seeking common ground. This is not the time for irresponsible and hateful comments, attacks and smear campaigns. Those tactics will not make us stronger but only serve to weaken the fibre of what binds us all together.

If we all commit ourselves to working together, the Over- strand will have a bright future. We believe that, because we are addicted to hope.

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