Alan Winde, Minister of Economic Opportunities:
The Western Cape’s tourism icons have put swift response strategy plans in place to minimise the impact of the devastating fires which have swept through the peninsula.
Alan Winde, Minister of Economic Opportunities, said the province’s attractions and one it’s most celebrated events, the Cape Town Cycle Tour, have adapted in response to the fires.
Minister Winde, who is competing his 8th Cycle Tour, said the historic race had been shortened from its usual 109km to 47km.
Ou Kaapse Weg, the detour option for Chapman’s Peak, was ruled out due to ash in the area and emergency services needing to retain immediate access in case of any flare ups. This year’s route takes riders from the usual starting point at the Civic Centre along the M3 and back again, before finishing in Green Point.
“Participants of this year’s Cycle Tour will be riding with a special purpose – to show their solidarity with and support for all the brave fire fighters who have worked tirelessly over the past week to save our homes, our animals and our natural vegetation. The ‘Show You Care Solidary Ride’ is a fitting tribute to these brave men and women. I am looking forward to all the cyclists coming for this monumental Cycle Tour, and encourage riders to wear red armbands to show their support. Come Sunday, the 35 000 riders of this year’s Cycle Tour will be saluting our local heroes,” said Minister Winde.
Minister Winde commended tourist attractions affected by the fires for taking quick action to ensure their doors were reopened.
“I am pleased that the majority of our tourism establishments are open for business and operating as per normal,” said Minister Winde.
This morning, Monkey Valley in Noordhoek opened its doors again after evacuations yesterday.
The peninsula’s wine farms experienced damage to vines but managed to prevent any large-scale harm to infrastructure.
Groot Constantia was closed to the public yesterday as its staff has joined up with fire fighters to keep the fire at bay. As a precautionary measure, the museum was evacuated and will remain closed for a short time.
The team was well prepared for fires allowing them to mitigate major losses of vines, grapes and fynbos.
Cape Point Vineyards also experienced damage to their vines and fynbos, but its restaurant is open to guests.
Both estates have indicated that they are still on track with their harvests.
One of the province’s leading tourist attractions, Cape Point, was closed yesterday from 2pm. The fire at the reserve has however been contained. This morning the World Heritage Site was running normally, with the funicular operating as scheduled.
The Table Mountain Aerial Cableway is closed today because of strong winds but has not been impacted by the fires, and is operating as usual.
Sections of the Table Mountain National Park will remain closed to the public. Authorities will conduct extensive assessments to ensure the facilities are safe for public use.
“Tourism attractions are important contributors to our economy and jobs. This sector contributes R18 billion to our region each year and employs over 200 000 residents. I’m happy to report that many of our establishments in the areas affected by the fires have managed to avoid major damage. Our thoughts go out to the staff and management at the Tintswalo Atlantic Lodge. I wish them well as they rebuild after this tragic event.”