Clarens turns 100
According to Alna Belendez-Bieler of Brand New consulting agency which is handling the event taking place from Thursday, October 18 until Sunday, October 22, the celebrations will pave the way for an annual event the town is planning on hosting to boost tourism in the area. “[Clarens] will be hosting an annual festival with the main aim of positioning Clarens to become a destination of choice and grow the event into a must-visit.
Clarens will be going through a pro-active transformation and will start this process by launching their Centenary Celebration, offering a variety of entertainment and exhibitions,” she said.
In a lengthy presentation before the premier and some members of the province’s executive committee, business people and the media, Belendez-Bieler said “an estimated 130 000 to180 000 overnight visitors and another 20 000 – 30 000 day tourists visited Clarens on an annual basis generating approximately R200 million of revenue for this area”.
They are hoping to attract over 10 000 visitors that weekend.
With its scenic route which opens up into the Golden Gate National Park, reminiscent of the Western Cape’s Garden Route, the town however, also appears to cater mostly for the learned and mostly well off.
It was noted in the presentation that 85 percent of the town’s visitors had completed their tertiary degree of post-graduate studies; 74.5 percent are formally employed and the majority of visitors have an annual income of R400 001 – R700 000 per annum.
The agency has, however, said the weekend will offer enough entertainment and activities which will suit everyone’s pocket, no matter how deep or full they are.
“The Clarens Centenary Celebration will be structured in such a way that it caterers for all ages and satisfy a wide variety of tastes of the people that will be visiting,” Belendez-Bielerof said.
The activities planned range from arts and crafts, book-readings, live music, cycles for adrenaline junkies to wine routes and air-craft flights over Lesotho for those who may enjoy defying gravity.
One of the most interesting events to witness will have to be the wedding ceremony between two mountains – Rhibbok Kop [Matso in SeSotho] which stands tall in the park and located in the South Western boundary with Lesotho and Mount Horeb [Setlofe in SeSotho] which is located in Clarens.
The wedding will be used as a traditional way to unite the two entities, Clarens Tourism Forum and Sanparks, working together in growing the tourism and Clarens and Golden Gate family of visitors.
Interesting to note is that the groom, in this case Sanparks, will pay lobola which is yet to be determined to the bride, represented by Clarens; while being accompanied by the melodies of the Bochabela String Quartet in a romantic setting in the town square.
An intense R500 000 media campaign spanning from national to local levels will roll out starting in June. Belendez-Bieler said the agency would improve their campaign to suit different people.
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