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As we rapidly head towards our holiday season, preparations have begun to receive our visitors.

This year there is pent-up enthusiasm for the season ahead as we prepare to receive the influx of visitors over the next few weeks. We have already had several preparatory meetings with key municipal staff in anticipation of this season in readiness for the daily early morning meetings from 1 December to deal with service delivery issues.

We have noted that passenger traffic through the George Airport during each month of 2022 has returned to levels from a low of 86% of 2019 levels for January rising into the high 90% to over 100% monthly compared to 2019 levels, resulting in George reflecting among the best recovery rates for the country post the pandemic. It also appears that occupancy rates for the Garden Route National Park and accommodation establishments have been climbing during the months of 2022. Expectations accordingly are that we should experience a good season.

The recent airing of the My Kitchen Rules (MKR) television cooking show that was held at Victoria Bay should assist in boosting the tourist attractions offered by our locations. I recently visited the NSRI station in Wilderness where, as expected, the crew were meticulously checking their equipment and practising their training procedures for the summer. We spoke about the importance of avoiding those parts of the beach where rip currents are prevalent.

This year, George has been awarded Blue Flag status for the Wilderness and Herold’s Bay beaches and pilot site status for Victoria Bay beach. Blue Flag is recognised internationally for water quality along with a host of tests and requirements that need to be met throughout the season. There are a number of beaches, e.g., around Durban, that have failed to retain their status as a result of not meeting the water quality requirements.

In our preparations for this year, we will be making use of QR codes that will provide access to websites containing information on tourist activities and events, important municipal contact details as well as water and other safety tips for our visitors. We are preparing the checklists for season preparedness that will include the provision of refuse and cleansing services, parking, signage, ablutions, traffic control, communications, al fresco dining, etc.

The holiday season is a great boost to many sectors of the broader tourism economy and to employment. It is therefore important for all citizens to be friendly and welcoming to our visitors to make their stay spectacular. Every experience, including each meal, activity or swim, should be so memorable as to ensure they return next year. As always, if there are good ideas, please send us an email at


Ald. Leon van Wyk

Executive Mayor of George