(Port Elizabeth) – Nelson Mandela Bay Tourism is seeking to market Port Elizabeth – surrounded by an estimated 30,000 Bottlenose dolphins inhabiting Algoa Bay – as the capital for the marine mammal species.
The concentration is of the highest globally.
This comes shortly after Deputy Minister for Tourism, Tookie Xansa, visited the city where she lauded the efforts of officials in implementing Operation Phakisa which aims to promote the blue economy.
“Establishing the city as the Bottlenose capital of the world can branch out into a number of tourism and economic opportunities in line with the aims of the blue economy,” said Mandlakazi Skefile, CEO of Nelson Mandela Bay Tourism (NMBT).
“This title, in addition with our region being placed at world class standards with three blue flag status beaches, being nominated as one of the top ports in the country for the World Travel Awards, and of course being known as the watersports capital of South Africa, places us miles ahead of our competitors in terms of the attractiveness of our destination and will go towards getting more visitors onto our shores,” said Skefile.
She said the launch of the title bid also brought into focus the need to educate the community about the unique ecology of the region’s coastline, getting them to participate in spreading the word about its importance and contributing to growing a sustainable economy.
According to NMBT, plans are underway to launch a Dolphin Festival, possibly during Marine Month in October. The event aims to educate the public about the role the natural environment plays in their lives and the economy, and also to celebrate the international popularity of Bottlenose dolphins.
“We are privileged to be in a position to lay claim to this natural attraction and the benefit will be to further establish the city on the international map in order to market another attraction to what we already have to offer as a world class tourist destination,” Skefile said.