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Oyster Festival massive boost to economy

KNYSNA NEWS - The 2013, 30th annual Pick n Pay Knysna Oyster Festival kicked off on Friday, June 28, giving a massive boost to the local economy.

As the festival hits full swing, festival manager, Nicci Rousseau-Schmidt said, "One of the reasons the festival was started is that Knysna’s economy is predominantly sustained by the tourism industry. And while our amazingly beautiful natural surroundings make it easy to see why the tourism industry flourishes in the spring and summer seasons, the town finds itself very quiet during the winter months.

“The festival was started 30 years ago in an effort to attract more feet - with spending power - to Knysna during these quiet months and, while a festival cannot run for months on end, the 10 days of the Pick n Pay Knysna Oyster Festival has a huge impact on our local economy, directly affecting locals’ wallets."

The figures speak for themselves. ”When we look at the number of entries to only the big sporting events in 2012 - excluding the wine, food and lifestyle events - we see that 16 920 people came to Knysna just to take part in one or more of these events. If we assume that these entrants each travelled with at least one extra person (in most cases we had entire families coming to Knysna, not just two people), it means that our big sporting events attracted at least 33 840 people to Knysna.

“If we make the very conservative assumption that these visitors stayed in Knysna for two nights and each spent at least R1 000 per day on food and accommodation, we calculate that a staggering R67 680 000 was spent within Knysna. That’s almost R70 million that was paid directly to guest house owners, restaurants, shopkeepers, and service providers - people who in turn spend that money and recycle it back into our local economy.

“And yes, while we try to make the overall festival experience as fantastic as we can, we have to remember that which attracts festival goers from other parts of the country are our main events,” said Nicci Rousseau-Schmidt. “Visitors travel from all over to attend our events - not to browse stalls run by out-of-town operators. In fact, the local restaurants that we spoke with all reported record sales over the first weekend. And that is exactly what the festival is all about - generating spend at local businesses.

“We are, however, looking at ways to include local stall holders,” she said. “Due to an initial lack of local interested this was not a viable option this year, but we are looking at ways to bring back our stalls with a distinctive local flavour next year.”

Local service providers are also given a welcome boost by the Pick n Pay Knysna Oyster Festival. “We placed advertisements calling for local service providers to register on our database and, wherever possible, the festival employs local. And it’s not the first year we’ve done so.

“It is clear that the festival’s main aim, aside from having loads of fun, is to augment our local economy. This is only possible with the support and assistance from our sponsors. Our sponsors contribute literally millions of rands to make this festival - this injection into our local economy - a possibility and a reality. And while they may be represented at the main festival venue on Waterfront Drive, it is very important to note that instead of making money by being present at the festival grounds, they are actually spending money to ensure that Knysna makes money as a whole. And that is why we thank them - over and over again.”

For more information about the Pick n Pay Knysna Oyster Festival, contact Knysna Tourism on 044 382 5510, visit www.pnpoysterfestival.co.za or, or via smart phone, get 2013 Festival App for the complete programme, mobile news and on-the-go information. To get it, go to Google Play or Apple iTunes, or simply scan the barcode on the festival website.

'We bring you the latest Knysna | Garden Route news'
06:30 (GMT+2), Thu, 04 July 2013
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