REJUVENATING CENTRAL CAN BE THE CATALYST AND TIPPING POINT TO TAKE TOURISM IN PORT ELIZABETH ON A JOURNEY FROM GOOD TO GREAT!
From a tourism perspective, Central is certainly blessed with a strategic location second to none, as it is within ten-minute proximity to virtually everything important for visitors to the City, such as the airport; the harbour; the beaches; Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium; St Georges Park, etc. Central is also blessed with a wonderful range of unique and rich cultural and historical tourism experiences and fascinating stories, most of which are still largely untapped and untold, but that have the potential to strongly appeal to the five senses and provide delightful, distinctive and memorable experiences for both local and international tourists.
There can be no doubt whatsoever that if the perception and reality of safety and cleanliness is addressed as a strategic priority, and if appropriately developed, “refreshed”, packaged, promoted and distinctively positioned, Central can become a major “must experience” tourism focal point, particularly when seamlessly connected with other complementary tourism experiences and stories in the City. It can also be a major building block to take tourism in the Metro from Good to Great and benefit many, many people in the City!
My belief and hope is that with the envisaged initiatives of the Central SRA, other key public and private sector stakeholders in the City, and the positive support of locals, Central will very soon be launching into an exciting journey to not only become, but also be widely recognized by everyone, as a sought-after and desirable safe and clean place to live, work, play and experience!
Ernie Heath is an Emeritus Professor at the University of Pretoria, where he was Head of the Department of Tourism Management for fifteen years.