“The segment of accommodation establishments that we spoke with all report higher occupancy rates than last year,” confirmed Knysna Tourism General Manager Glendyrr Fick. “While many bookings were made via tour operators, most bookings were still made online, with a noticeable amount of bookings made only three to four days prior to arrival.”
“Our activity operators also report an increase in business from last season. And we are happy to note that our township tour operators report that more locals joined their tours this season than ever before! We are very proud of all our tourism products and encourage all residents to experience our fantastic range of Knysna Tourism Living Local products.”
“We did receive mixed responses from local shops. While shopping centres such as Woodmill Lane report more feet in the centre, the shops themselves reflect that no more money was spent than in previous years. But there is also good news,” Glendyrr reassured. “The Checkers centre as a whole report a better season, as does the Knysna Waterfront. Other shops in town also report a more discerning, but overall better spend than during the previous season.
“Our restaurants report a general increase in patrons, with the trend seeming to have bookings made 24 to 48 hours in advance, with many walk-ins arriving for a meal.
“It definitely appears that our new and returning summer events such as The Rotary Club of Knysna Splash and the Waterfront Rush had a direct impact on restaurants and shops in the vicinity of these events,” said Glendyrr. “We congratulate the organisers on the successes achieved and wish them luck in their planning for next season’s events.”
Sedgefield Tourism Manager Rose Bilbrough reports that the village’s larger accommodation establishments were fuller on average by 15% on last season, with smaller establishments hosting more guests earlier in December. “Most members say that stays were shorter this year, with guests staying for approximately seven days opposed to last year’s ten.”
“Our largest retailer, Sedgefield Spar, report that their season had not only started roughly two weeks earlier, but also lasted a week longer than last year, with comparative days showing a significant increase in revenue.
“Sedgefield activities report increases of up to 30%,” said Rose. “And while the majority of restaurants confirm that they were up by 10%, it would seem that suppliers implemented increases just before and during the season, leaving a bad taste in the mouth of many local service providers who support their suppliers year-round.
“Our office was extremely busy and I commend my staff on their exemplary service throughout this busiest time of the year,” said Rose.
Glendyrr confirmed that the Knysna office also experienced a lot of traffic. “The staff at both the Knysna and Sedgefield offices are committed to providing the best possible service to our members, our visitors, local residents and Knysna as a whole. We appreciate your ongoing support and assure you that we shall continue in our efforts to ensure that Knysna remains the jewel of the Garden Route and the destination of choice for all travellers.”
“We would also like to thank the Knysna Municipality for ensuring that all services ran smoothly during this busy time of year,” she concluded. “But now that the season is behind us, it is time that we rolled up our sleeves and get back to implementing our plans for the rest of the year – may 13 be a lucky number for us all in 2013!”