Known as the Water Sports Capital of South Africa amongst others, last night Nelson Mandela Bay added another title to its identity – the Bottlenose Capital of the World, when tourism authorities and ocean lovers gathered for the official launch of the name.
Research conducted in the 90’s by the Centre for Dolphin Studies in South Africa showed that approximately 20 000 Bottlenose Dolphins were in Algoa Bay in Nelson Mandela Bay. Today that number is estimated at 30 000 dolphins, which surpasses other areas around the world.
This initiative comes hot on the heels of the Deputy Minister for Tourism, Tookie Xansa visiting Nelson Mandela Bay recently where she lauded the efforts of the city 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, Chief Executive Officer of Nelson Mandela Bay Tourism.
“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 Water sports 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,” added Skefile.
The launch of this initiative also brings into focus the need to educate the community about the unique ecology of the local coastline, getting them to participate in spreading the word about its importance and contributing to growing a sustainable economy.
Skefile said that plans are already underway to launch a Dolphin Festival, possibly during Marine Month in October. She added that the event aims to not only educate the public about the role the natural environment plays in their lives and the economy but to also celebrate the international popularity of the friendly creatures with the permanent smiles on their faces.
“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 concluded.
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