BOTH local communities and business benefit from niche tourism outside of the main holiday periods, said Wessel Benson, general manager of the Royal St Andrews Hotel and Conference Centre.
“A good example is a two-day visit to the hotel by members of the Western Cape register of the South African Morgan Owners’ Group (CapeMog) in November last year.
“We have been informed by the Port Alfred Soup Kitchen that they have received a R10 000 donation from CapeMog,” said Benson.
In his letter to the charity, CapeMog chairman Ronnie Herzfeld wrote: “Our group spent two nights at the Royal St Andrews Hotel and enjoyed the hospitality of Port Alfred.
“Our members are privileged to be able to enjoy the beauty of our countryside in a very special way and in recognition of this we have committed that an integral element of each year’s tour will be a contribution to deserving causes in the communities through which we travel.
“So, if you ever see a Morgan passing by, please give the occupants a smile and a wave,” wrote Herzfeld.
Benson said: “It takes a joint effort by everyone in Port Alfred and surrounds to attract niche tourist groups like CapeMog, and it is in the interest of all the tourism-related businesses to work together to ensure that we have something special to offer.
He said another good example of the benefits of niche tourism is the annual Mad Hatter golf tournament, which will be hosted by the Royal Port Alfred Golf Club from April 23 to 28 this year.
Last year it raised nearly R100 000 through raffles and a Hospice stall, in addition to employing up to 43 caddies a day for six days.
“Accommodation establishments and restaurants also benefited,” Benson said. “Of the 370 golfers who took part around 260 were from out of town – and the majority brought their partners with.
“This year the challenge to the Port Alfred tourism industry is to make the experience for the spouses so special that they will insist that the golfers bring them back next year.”