Vote for town of the year

Both Port Alfred and Kenton are finalists in the Kyknet competition

Port Alfred and Kenton-on-Sea are finalists in Kwela on Kyknet’s Town of the Year competition, and locals have been sending a flurry of SMSs to get their votes in.

An aerial view of the Kowie River mouth, with Port Alfred in the background. Picture: JAN WESSELO

Both towns were announced as finalists in the competition on Kwela on Sunday night, after which lines opened for voting. Voting closes tomorrow (Friday) at midday. To vote you need to SMS the name of the town to 33157. SMSs cost R1.50 and anyone can vote up to 30 times.

Word has been spread on Facebook and WhatsApp.

Port Alfred was chosen as a finalist after Memory Robinson of A Villa de Mer guesthouse got her staff to e-mail as many people as possible to SMS Kwela to nominate the town.

“This has been a team effort,” she said. “In particular, the estate agencies also hopped aboard and got their staff to vote.”

The closing date for nominations was February 15.

Kwela then called the tourism office in each town that was nominated, which was when Sunshine Coast Tourism manager Sandy Birch became the driver of the project.

She notified all local hotels, guesthouses and tourism connections of the chance of either Port Alfred or Kenton taking the title.

“We were asked to submit photographs and a brief write-up on both towns,” Birch said. “This resulted in both towns being nominated to the finals aired on Sunday. We were briefed by Kwela not to share this information prior to the programme being broadcast.”

Robinson listed some of the reasons Port Alfred should be named Town of the Year.

“Not many towns can boast a successful marina, modern shopping malls and a top-class hospital attracting many surgeons. Add to that the healthy climate that explains why our seniors reach triple figures. Then there is the opportunity offered to all our students at the world class 43 Air School and Stenden South Africa,” she said.

“With all the roads being upgraded, the modified shopping centre that is going to house a well-known coffee franchise, who will not want to come here on holiday or buy property?”

An aerial view of Port Alfred from the west bank. Picture: JAN WESSELO

She said the benefits of winning the title would be “enormous publicity and TV exposure”, more feet arriving in Port Alfred and staying at top-class local guesthouses and hotels, more tills ringing at the shops resulting in more job creation, local restaurants being frequented more, and visitors spreading the news and making others follow.

“By winning it means that there is a possibility that our visitors may fall in love with Port Alfred and buy a property.

“By winning this competition, we will be able to showcase our town,” she said.

The Kenton Tourism office has also been enthusiastically urging Kenton residents to vote in the competition.

“We need to encourage everyone in the community to vote for either Port Alfred or Kenton as town of the year, please,” Birch said.

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