At a convivial meeting of the Simon’s Town Business Association held at the False Bay Yacht Club, local businessfolk were urged to revisit the ideas brought forth at the first meeting held two years ago in response to the fall in trade and the multiplication of empty shops in the town.
Margaret Silk of Paddlers Kayak Shop recalled that the motivation for the meeting in 2011 was to create more ‘busyness’ in the town to attract the tourists, residents and the 5000 people employed by the Navy to stay, to dine and to shop in Simon’s Town. Ideas included the hosting of a lot of small events. Successful events since then have been the tuna fishing competition, the enormous amount of free exposure of Simon’s Town in the international media through the Governor’s Cup which took place from the Simon’s Town Yacht Club last year, the annual Just Nuisance Dog Parade, the Spring Festival, the Penguin Festival and lately the Just Nuisance Market.
Emphasising the historical aspect of Simon’s Town, Margaret said that this is what draws visitors to the town and the focus of the townspeople should be on re-inventing what used to happen a long time ago. “Jubilee Square is historically a market place, not a giant car-park, “she said. “We need to restore the lost feeling of community. Residents need to use the town. It offers so much in terms of sailing, kayaking, boating, walking – there are many cost effective things to do.”
Speaking of the local attractions Margaret said that over 50 000 people visit Boulders each month over a six month period, 25 000 people visited the submarine last year from 69 countries and 12 000 to 15 000 went on the Boat Company’s excursions. She urged those with guest houses and B & Bs to tell their guests of all that Simon’s Town has to offer and to have a comments and suggestions box in their establishments so that these can be followed up.
Bronwen d’Oliveira, commenting on the huge impact of the social media, called upon businesses to market the attractions and the events held in the town via the their websites, Facebook pages and Twitter profiles. “No-one travels for a bed. How do you package activities with accommodation? Packaging is key,” she said. She highlighted other events planned for Simon’s Town this year including the Penguin Promises Waggle that will end in the town on 27 April. This initiative, led by the Two Oceans Aquarium, is a walk to create awareness of the plight of the endangered African Penguins. The walk starts in Gansbaai and ends at Boulders Beach. Other events will be the New Year’s Eve party and the Art on the Square initiative by Pauline Fine. Anyone wanting to get involved in planning and running events should contact Margaret Silk at Paddlers or email email@example.com.
Enrico Lucas of HGTS Tours in Simon’s Town spoke about the Railway Tourism train which will be running on the first Sunday of each month from Cape Town to Simon’s Town and back, which includes a visit to the submarine and a lunch for the price of R180 per month. His contact no is 021 703 7802 and email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Simon’s Town certainly has a great deal of appeal and it is wonderful to see a dynamic group of people working together to promote all its attractions.