Speaking on behalf of the sponsors‚ the Knysna Municipality and the event organisers‚ board chairperson Elmay Bouwer said that while the Garden Route town suffered extensive damage in this week’s devastating fires‚ plans for the Festival are continuing.
Marketing director for the Momentum Knysna Cycle Tour‚ Andrew Finn said that while Knysna has taken a big knock‚ the Knysna Cycle Tour is still on track with planning and organisation.
“Once all the fires have been extinguished‚ we will be able to assess the situation to see whether it is necessary to alter any of our routes and plans‚ and all entrants will be updated by email‚” he said.
“We are looking forward to a great event.” Organiser of The Momentum Knysna Forest Marathon‚ Leon Brown confirmed that the marathon would also go ahead. “We are dedicating the event to all the people who lost everything in the fires and will be focusing on our blanket drive.
“We urge people to add to the 2000 blankets which Momentum donates every year and to also donate clothing which will be collected at registration and the race start in the Glebe so that it can be distributed to where it is most needed.”
Knysna Tourism is presently assessing the impact of the fires on the local accommodation establishments but is positive that festival goers will be able to find accommodation in and around the town. Visitors can call Knysna Tourism on (044) 3825510 for more information. Bouwer said that it was heartening to see how South Africans across the country had offered support to those who have lost so much in Knysna.
“The Festival will be a great opportunity for people who want to help our residents to recover from this disaster and we are looking forward to welcoming a record number of people to our beautiful town.” The Festival is known to stimulate the Knysna winter economy and firmly places the region on the tourism destination map during the quieter off-season.
The Festival is also instrumental in raising meaningful funding for local charities (over R3 million in 2016) and for developing and growing local suppliers.
These are good reasons for the Festival to take place and an even better reason to invite everyone to Knysna this year. To illustrate the positive economic impact that the festival brings to Knysna‚ last year festival goers spent close to R110 million over the 10 days of the Festival‚ excluding event tickets and a total of 2 392 job opportunities were created.
Separate to the charitable contributions that will come from the Festival‚ both Pick n Pay and event co-sponsors Momentum have this week each donated R100 000 to immediate fire disaster relief. In the meantime‚ anyone wishing to assist can take advantage of Pick n Pay’s online shop to purchase groceries and essentials for delivery to those in need..
Craig Ray – Tiso Black Star Group/Tiso Black Star Group Sport