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Media Release: A major boost for product development in SANParks

Date: 10th May 2010

With less than a month before the start of the FIFA World Cup in South Africa, the country’s body charged with the management of national parks, South African National Parks (SANParks) has embarked on a major product development boost in several of its national parks.

With less than a month before the start of the FIFA World Cup in South Africa, the country’s body charged with the management of national parks, South African National Parks (SANParks) has embarked on a major product development boost in several of its national parks.

This according to SANParks, Tourism and Marketing, Managing Executive, Glen Phillips, who said the new developments are in recognition of a new generation product outlook in SANParks. “The organisation’s efforts in product upgrades are informed by new industry trends which focus on environmentally friendly products as well as value for money in the product offering.”

The new developments include the revamping of the Golden Gate Hotel in the Golden Gate Highlands National Park situated in the mountainous eastern Free State. The hotel which previously had 35 rooms now boasts a magnificent 54 rooms. The hotel is now open to the public for bookings. The Mata Mata Rest Camp in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park bordering Namibia has also been given a major face-lift. The older chalets have been upgraded, the prefabs removed and eight exquisite brand-new thatched chalets have being built and are also opened to the public.

He said, Tankwa Karoo National Park, situated on the southern boundary of the Northern Cape has received a new campsite at Perdekloof, while Agulhas National Park located at the most southern tip of Africa has a new rest camp at Piet se Punt. The heritage Guest house at Piet se Punt also received a major revamp making it one of the modern heritage sites in SANParks stable.

The construction of an Interpretive Centre in Mapungubwe National Park and World Heritage Site is on its final stage with opening expected in September. Mapungubwe is located in the northern part of the country where South Africa meets Botswana and Zimbabwe on the confluence of the Limpopo and Shashe rivers.

In other developments, Phillips said when compared to trends in the industry, SANParks has had a fantastic year. “We forecast 2009/10 to be a flat year, however year end results revealed a 0, 8% growth with an overall occupancy of 73,3%.

The unit nights sold were 531,018 compared to the 521,018 sold in the previous year. Phillips said in terms of camp person sold an impressive 675 392 were sold and the previous saw only 604, 900 sold.

According to Phillips, although a decline was seen in overseas markets, some increases were recorded. He said declines in international arrival were seen from Germany (from 32.0% to 28,4%) United Kingdom (from 13.6% to 13,5%) and Holland (from 11.1% to 10,5%). Increases in the international portfolio were seen with France (growing from 6.9% to 9,1%), while the United States moved from 5,0% to 5,4%.

He said SANParks flagship project, the Wild Card, continues to be one of the most popular loyalty programmes. This year the organisation has sold 105 687 cards.”

“It is also important for the industry to note that out efforts to transform the National Parks visitors demographics is continuing to yield good results with the growth in Black visitors growing to 406,085 visitors have visited the parks, this is an impressive 17,5% increase from 345 559 from the last financial year.”

He said that from a financial perspective, SANParks also recorded a good growth in tourism income. “Despite the unfavorable global economic situation, SANParks has seen good returns in tourism income. In the 2008/09 financial year a total of R532 459 million was recorded in comparison to R598 512 million recorded in the 2009/10 financial year.

Issued by:
SANParks Corporate Communications

Media Enquiries:
Reynold “Rey” Thakhuli - GM: PR, Media and Stakeholder Relations, tel: (0120 426 5203, cell: 073 373 4999, e-mail: reyt@sanparks.org

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