Since the Service Level Agreement (SLA) between Wesgro and the Knysna Municipality was signed in November 2018, the focus of the town’s age-old tourism establishment, Knysna Tourism (KT) NPC has shifted.
“Tourism has always been the major economic driver within Greater Knysna and KT’s primary function was to ensure that the area was successfully marketed. Since the municipality has moved the Destination Marketing away from KT to Wesgro, we needed to change the focus of this NPC,” said KT chairman of the board, Albert Lombaard.
During a Special General Members Meeting (SGMM) on 12 March, Lombaard explained to members and interested parties that KT’s main focus has shifted from that of destination marketing, and it would now act as a lobby group and a watchdog to protect its members’ interests. “Our focus is now to collectively and actively support and promote our members’ key interests, by creating and actively participating in the necessary platforms that will assist the members to operate successful businesses within Greater Knysna,” Lombaard said.
He added that although KT is no longer directly responsible for the marketing of the destination, it must play a critical role in advising and directing all spheres of government that have been tasked with this responsibility. “We will represent our members and collectively raise and discuss various concerns with the local municipality, Wesgro and other responsible governing bodies.”
Lombaard explained that the best way to ensure that government fulfils its mandate is for the all residents of Greater Knysna to speak as one. “Greater Knysna boasts more than 300 accommodation establishments, over 20 activity companies, more than 50 restaurants and numerous businesses not directly involved in tourism, but still vital to the economy such property and medically related industries. As a group we are the biggest employer of local residents in the area, and are collectively responsible for a very large portion of the funds that flow into Greater Knysna each year. Quite simply, the more members we have, the more clout we will have when acting on the residents’ behalf.”
Keeping this in mind a discussion surrounding a possible name change took place, with the suggestion of possibly changing KT to Knysna Tourism & Business Association NPC. The attending members agreed that the board would decide upon two to three alternatives names, and the members would then collectively vote on these suggestions electronically.
The KT members (membership paid up on 30 June 2018) voted to accept the legal format of the NPC and on a membership structure of R500 ones-off joining fee, and a membership fee of R1 000.00.
A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed between Visit Knysna (A division of Wesgro) and Knysna NPC during November 2018 that outlines the aims, objectives, principles and strategies that form the basis of a strategic partnership. A partnership that will establish effective collaborative ways of working together and with other stakeholders to promote Greater Knysna as a destination, its products and people for the benefit of building a resilient and successful tourism industry.
During the SGMM the members also adopted a Memorandum of Incorporation (MOI) that sees the KT NPC shift away from focussing on physically marketing Greater Knysna, to a body that speaks as a collective voice to ensures that Wesgro and Local Government fulfil their mandate of marketing Greater Knysna as a destination as agreed in their SLA.
In closing Lombaard said: “Local Government might had opted to stop funding destination marketing through Knysna Tourism NPC, but this does not mean that the residents of Greater Knysna will no longer be involved in the outcomes pertaining to this all-important economy. Now more than ever Greater Knysna needs to stand together and make their voice heard.”
For further information on how to become a member or how to update your contact details please contact KT NPC chair, Albert Lombard on 082 882 8159 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Members who were paid up members as of 1 June 2018 will receive their invoices during the week (25 – 30 March).
CAPTION: Knysna Tourism NPC held a Special General Member Meeting on Wednesday, 12 March to discuss the future of the entity. Here General Manager of Visit Knysna, Colleen addresses the members on the vision of Visit Knysna. Photo: Out There Communications