The Covid-19 pandemic just about killed the tourism industry, and with September being Tourism Month, Hout Bay Tourism Connect (HBTC) is working to keep Hout Bay high on the list of places to visit.
“Hout Bay is a unique destination as we have it all from our diverse community, close to 80 different nationalities are residents of Hout Bay, to our diverse landscapes, we have the ocean, mountains and much more, to our rich history being oldest fishing village and the history of ship repairing during colonial times,” said HBTC business director Pamela Mudley.
Ms Mudley said currently most of Hout Bay’s visitors were domestic tourists.
“Hout Bay presents a microcosm of South Africa. Our biggest assets are our people of Hout Bay. Despite our differences we come together as one when challenges arise,” she said.
“This Tourism month we would like South Africans to visit Hout Bay and experience the extensive range of experiences on the Discover Hout Bay route,” she said.
For Tourism Month, HBTC have launched the Discover Hout Bay Foodie Experience, supported by their first e-book.
“We showcase the heritage, diversity and uniqueness of the cuisine of Hout Bay. The e-book, which could be downloaded for free from the website, showcases 68 foodie establishments,” Ms Mudley explained.
Mark Rupert is from London and visits South Africa at least twice a year, but was recently forced to stay behind due to travelling restrictions. However, he said, the restriction turned out to be most welcoming.
“I just love coming to South Africa and Hout Bay for me is your one stop shop for a great experience. I mean, we have fish and chips, but we do not have Hout Bay’s fish and chips,” he laughed.
Apart from the food, Mr Rupert also highlighted the many different cultures and people as an attraction.
“You have many different types of religions and cultures, you have this vibrant community with the mountains for a backdrop and the beautiful ocean as a view. It’s gorgeous and I cannot wait to get down here every time,” he said.
Mr Rupert has been in South Africa for the past four months and is set to return to the UK in the upcoming weeks.
Zambian born, Shareef Kutalwa, is a university lecturer who visits South Africa regularly and heads straight for Hout Bay when he arrives.
“I absolutely love fish and chips and I know that is not Hout Bay as a whole, it is what I love. I come here, take in the scenery and the people are beautiful, so friendly, so kind and they always stand together in this fishing community,” he said.
With South Africa still battling a pandemic, HBTC continued to advise all businesses in Hout Bay to adhere to Covid-19 protocols.
“We promote our destination as a ’safe’ destination,” she said.
“We live in unprecedented times. The consumer/visitor has changed. Coming out of this pandemic there is a big move to conscientious consumption. Visitors/consumers want to ensure whatever they consume is done in a meaningful way.”
She added that there was also huge demand for wide open spaces and experiences that help to rejuvenate and relax one.
“Hout Bay as a destination fulfils all these needs – we have it all.”
With nearly 300 businesses in Hout Bay connected directly and indirectly to the tourism value chain, tourism has become the backbone of Hout Bay’s economy.