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Media Release: SANParks Tourism Income Breaks the Half-A-Billion Rand Barrier

Date: 13th May 2008

At a Media Briefing, during Tourism Indaba 2008, South African National Parks (SANParks) announced that its tourism infrastructure upgrade programme is on course.

At a Media Briefing, during Tourism Indaba 2008, South African National Parks (SANParks) announced that its tourism infrastructure upgrade programme is on course.

“SANParks continues to implement effective strategies to deal with the management and conservation of the environment and the development of a flagship national parks system which is the pride and joy of all South Africans and the world”, said Glenn Phillips, Managing Executive: Tourism Development and Marketing.

In our efforts to attain the highest standards of tourism delivery, we have for the past financial year engaged in major infrastructure upgrade, which has included among others the revitalisation of key facilities in the Kruger National Park, such as our Conferencing Facilities, the replacement of accommodation facilities and the establishment of a new restaurant.

Our upgrade project has also included the revamping of facilities in Mapungubwe, Tsitsikamma, Agulhas, and Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park.  SANParks has also established  the Mokala National Park, and plans are afoot to develop this facility to a key national attraction.

SANParks has for the past three years received grants to the value of R 528 million towards Infrastructure Development Programmes. The funding focused on the upgrade of existing facilities, but some new tourism infrastructure was put in place.  The following deliverables were achieved:

• Facilities with 402 beds were upgraded in various national parks
• 33 new tourism accommodation units were constructed. in Addo, Table Mountain, Bontebok and Tankwa Karoo National Parks 
• 133km of tourist roads were constructed
• 154 upgraded and new staff accommodation units were put in place in various national parks
• 340km of game fences was constructed around parks.

As part of our quest to develop local entrepreneurship, most work in the projects was done by local contractors and people from neighbouring communities to the parks. SANParks has implemented a contractor development programme and played a major role in the development and mentoring of 40 independent construction contractors. 

Part of the organisation’s empowering strategy also included the adoption of labour intensive construction methods, which included the manufacturing of material such as bricks, tiles and timber on site. As a consequence of this approach and strategy, 8,500 people were employed with over 1,4 million person days worked. 550 SMME’s were used in the programme, while 280 new SMME’s were created.  Tourists visiting the parks will in all probability stay in a unit that was either upgraded or constructed with labour from local communities. 

Some of the new products that tourists can look forward to include a world class interpretive center in Mapungubwe National Park, rest camp at Agulhas National Park, a TFCA Entrance Gate at Kgalagadi that will allow access to South Africa and Bostwana and finally the opening of the Basotho Cultural Village Rest Camp in Golden Gate Highlands National Park.

Phillips announced that un-audited financial statements indicate that the organisation’s tourism income has surpassed the half-a-billion rand mark. SANParks tourism figures were also improved in the last year with unit occupancies rising by 1.4% from 69.5% to 70.9%, guests to parks rose from 4,587 million to 4,720 million. The highest unit occupancies were realised in Addo Elephant and KNP with 85.1% and 76.1% respectively.  Table Mountain National Park registered 2,477 million visitors and KNP with1,396 million.

Growth in black visitors was also impressive, having increased from 18% to 20.8%. Though the number of international visitors grew by 0.2% the ratio as compared to local visitors  decreased from 26.2% to 24.7%, while SADC visitors increased from 0.6% to 0.8% and South Africans from 73.6% to 74.5%.

On 27 November 2008 SANParks announced that it was introducing Realtime Reservations on line and we are happy to report today that in just four months SANParks has received over R8 million in revenue, despite deliberately not marketing the facility until we were comfortable that we could handle the volumes.

SANParks has also committed to review the gate control mechanisms for KNP during pick periods in order to ensure a better visitor experience.

****Ends****

Issued by : Thamsanqa Mthembu: General Manager: Media Relations & Events
                   Tel:  (012) 426-5203
  Cell: 083-383 3192

Enquiries :   wanda mkutshulwa:  Head of Communications
                    Tel:  (012) 426-5201
  Cell: 082-908 2692

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