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ECPTA and SAMSA to host a 6 day hike in the Eastern Cape

Sep 19, 2017
ECPTA and SAMSA to host a 6 day hike in the Eastern Cape

The Eastern Cape Parks and Tourism Agency (ECPTA) and the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) have partnered to create awareness around Marine and Coastal Tourism in the Eastern Cape particularly in the Port St Johns area.

The awareness will be centred on the famous Wild Coast Six Day Hike Trail.

The hike will take place beginning at Coffee Bay on Saturday morning, and finish off in Port St Johns the following Thursday, 28 September 2017.

Fourteen hikers including Government officials, fitness enthusiasts, travel bloggers and tourism officials will take on the gruelling 67km hike in what is one of South Africa’s most scenic coastal areas, overnighting each end of day at the villages spread along the trail and thereby bringing much needed awareness on the potential wealth of tourism products in the area.

The joint and first of its kind initiative between SAMSA and the ECPTA is timed to formally mark the launch of Tourism Month in the Eastern Cape region along with the rest of the country, with the focus on raising awareness about the Wild Coast tourism area which now also boast a set of new and revamped amenities inclusive of accommodation structures designed to cater particularly for hikers and holiday makers alike.

Also, from a SAMSA perspective, the event intends to highlights the involvement of the agency in marine and coastal tourism efforts to bolster the Wild Coast region’s tourism services capacity to global standards.

These SAMSA efforts launched in mid-2017 range from marine skills development for youth inclusive of lifesaving, diving and related, to identification of needs and facilitation of hospitality services levels.

The initiatives are in tandem with the recently approved Marine and Coastal Implementation Plan of the Operation Phakisa (Ocean Economy) Marine and Coastal Tourism development delivery lab.

The plan, approved by Parliament last month, includes the Wild Coast as among the first six nodes for development focus in the next five years.

Reflecting on Wild Coast hike trail event this coming weekend, Eastern Cape Parks and Tourism Agency CEO, Vuyani Dayimani welcomed the partnership with SAMSA and highlighted the need for such partnerships to harness the beneficiation of the communities in the tourism value chain.

“Not only will the hike cement the government’s insistence that tourism, especially Marine Tourism should benefit the people who reside in the areas where the tourism products are situated, it will create the necessary awareness among communities about creating wealth using the resources at their disposal,”  said Dayimani.

In Pretoria, SAMSA Chief Operations Officer, Mr Sobantu Tilayi said the Operation Phakisa (Ocean Economy) initiative launched by Government in 2014 has facilitated the identification of opportunities for positive exploitation.

“SAMSA’s technical expertise and knowledge in the maritime sector will go a long way in enhancing the conditions for the implementation of the recently enacted Coastal and Marine Tourism Plan,’ he said

This weekend’s Wild Coast Trail hike will culminate with the Celebrations of World Maritime Day 2017 in Port St Johns on the 28th.