Being able to see the future and already start taking steps to fully embrace it is a huge advantage. Luckily for us, we have exactly this opportunity. As countries around the world begin to lower their restrictions, we are offered a window seat to what they are doing to protect and reignite their economies.
Already three themes are shaping this “new normal” – and we should take note.
The first is space. Thankfully, this is something that the Overberg is abundantly blessed with. The big blue skies, numerous hiking trails, champagne air and kilometre after kilometre of beaches provide ample room for residents and tourists to safely stay out of each other’s way.
Some towns and cities are using it to their advantage. Seattle, an American city surrounded by water, mountains and forests, has permanently closed over 30 km of streets to through-traffic to create corridors for people to safely exercise and cycle. Is there an opportunity like this for our towns to become even more inviting to visitors?
A second is localism – the preference for one’s own area or region. More and more, consumers and visitors will want to know exactly where a product has come from, with a guarantee that the supplier has put in place all the necessary health and hygiene protocols.Traceability will become even more important, not just for the actual product, but more importantly, to know who has been in contact with the product.
While we have always known that Local is Lekker, the future is going to expect us not only to be shopping in smaller locally-owned shops or online, but also expect these same retailers to be sourcing their products from within the geographic area, particularly food products. As the “breadbasket” of the Cape, the Overberg is uniquely positioned to take advantage of this trend.
A third is cleanliness. While we have now all gotten used to sanitising our hands frequently, the word “clean” is going to take on even greater significance. People will not only want to know that their environment is hygienic, but they are going to want to see cleanliness in action. Here, too, we can build on the Cleanest Town of the Year awards we have won in the past.