As the Rand fails and summer gets hotter Cape Town will increasingly become a holiday destination. While the weak Rand is bad news for locals hoping to travel abroad, tourism is good news for locals.
Sadly while Cape Town is affordable to tourists with their Dollars and Euros most Capetonians will struggle to enjoy a family holiday abroad in Dollar and Euroland.
Since 99% of us have no control over the currency exchange and some hunch on who dictates terms, the weak Rand is to keep ordinary South Africans constantly on our knees. In comparison any USA or British, European etc postman can have a lavish South African holiday at the current exchange rate.
The point is- how do Capetonians have a holiday even though a parcel of fish and chips costs a minimum of R50 anywhere along our coastline. Local holidays thus requires though and planning.
As regulars on the Lions Head trails, my family have met many international tourists and visitors from other provinces. Ironically Capetonians miss out as holiday time is usually kept for sleeping late and starting a mountain walk in summer after 9am is folly because of the heat.
In December though the trails were busy, we saw pregnant women escorted by their kids and even a person with one leg on the trail. This implies that most trails are accessible to those with commitment. Since access to the mountain is free, any family can have a quality outing. Defrosted water or juice and homemade sandwiches never tasted better than after a 2 hour hike to the top of Lions Head.
Since the introduction of the MyCiti Bus service, most beaches along the Sea Point and Hout Bay route and the Table View, West coast route are easily accessible. The beaches along the Muizenberg route has a train line and thus accessible. Since the MyCiTi is subsidised by middle class ratepayers the poor has better access to these affordable and safe modes of transport.
Capetonians with limited cash should often visit rural towns like Montague, Ceres, Villiersdorp and Hermanus etc and inject some cash into these affordable economies. Decades ago on a study tour of the USA I observed the value of inter-state travel. Americans living and working on the east coast often took holidays on the west coast and vice versa as this stimulated and sustained local growth.
Since most Capetonians have little hope of visiting Euro-Disney or dining in view of the Eiffel Tower in Paris, we must support and cultivate local destinations. By creating prospect in surrounding towns we create sustainability and work thus less reason for urbanisation. Rural people form part of the make-up of rural ambience and migration impacts on the character of rural towns.
In the words of the wise, charity begins at home or somewhere near it.
Cllr Yagyah Adams
Cape Muslim Congress