A total of 4, 383 South Africans visited the Garden Route National Park (GRNP) during SA National Parks Week 2015, a campaign sponsored by FNB and Total SA. 1619 visited Knysna (approximately 350 were brought in by the Featherbed Company via a cruise in the Knysna estuary which is also in the GRNP), 1567 Wilderness and 1197 Tsitsikamma.
Acting General Manager for the Garden Route National Park, Johan de Klerk says this is an increase from last year by at least 346 visitors. ‘It is encouraging to see so many local visitors responded to our call’ says de Klerk. The SA Week campaign in the Garden kicked off on the 14th of September 2015 via an information session organized for locals in Harkerville, Knysna.
In Tsitsikamma, Segway tours were provided to local community members who would otherwise not be able to afford them. Learners from Coldstream, Woodlands and Stormsriver Primary were taken on a guided Cultural Heritage walk down the old Stormsriver Pass.
In Wilderness, an orchestra in the Park and a potjiekos competition drew the attention of most visitors.
In all 3 Parks, daily hikes and educational talks were scheduled.
Domestic tourists contributed a total of R24,3 billion to the South African economy in 2013. In addition, direct tourism contribution to GDP was R93 billion or 3% (2012, Statistics SA, 2012).
The GRNP is encouraged by recent figures and also global ecotourism trends that are on an upward trajectory. To keep the momentum, the GRNP is planning an open day for cyclists (November 2015, Knysna), a self-drive route in the forest areas (Knysna), a fun day (Tsitsikamma), carol by candlelight in the forest (Wilderness).
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