A collaborative action plan to unlock Nelson Mandela Bay’s heritage assets for tourism development and growth is the aim of a Heritage and Tourism Indaba to be held in the metro this month.
The indaba, on 25 October, is being convened by the Mandela Bay Development Agency (MBDA) and partners as a first step to implementing a memorandum of understanding (MOU) signed in August with heritage and tourism role-players.
The indaba theme is: “Establishing partnerships – making heritage and tourism work for social, spatial and economic growth”.
Speaking at the media launch of the indaba, Historical Society of Port Elizabeth Chairperson Graham Taylor stressed that partnerships and collaborative alliances were central to achieving change and growth because they built understanding among diverse role-players and enabled organisations to achieve more together than they could individually.
MBDA Executive Luvuyo Bangazi echoed this, saying the MOU on protecting, preserving and promoting heritage assets for tourism “amplifies the impact of individual organisations” and helps to develop a more inclusive approach to heritage and tourism.
The Historical Society is a signatory to the MOU with the MBDA, along with the Central Special Rating Area (SRA) and Discover Nelson Mandela Bay.
Bangazi said the MOU remained open to participation by other relevant parties, and the indaba aimed to bring more interested role-players on board to the collaborative effort to halt destruction of the metro’s heritage and diversify the Bay economy.
“We want to grow the collaboration and an inclusive economy, including creating new employment opportunities for youth. Nelson Mandela Bay’s heritage is for all of us,” Bangazi said.
Ward councillor Terri Stander stressed that the indaba should not be “an indaba about an indaba”, but should invite stakeholders to present their solutions and proposals, and conclude with a clear action plan.
Bangazi said all interested stakeholders in business, civil society, government and education institutions were invited to contribute to the indaba, with the key focus on agreeing solutions and actions and delivering tangible results.
The Heritage and Tourism Indaba will be held at The Athenaeum in Athol Fugard Terrace, Central, starting with a review of the current status, the current role and activities of participating organisations and reflecting on actions taken during Heritage Month and lessons learned.
Delegates will consider the opportunities in the built, environmental and intangible heritage arenas as enablers of heritage and tourism development and growth, and then move to recommendations and action steps.
“History has taught us that when you start looking after your heritage assets, rather than removing history and landmarks, they deliver significant returns for a city. We have a great opportunity here to develop for growth. The call is out for civil society and government organisations to join the conversation and get involved in fixing the city,” Taylor said.
“The challenge is building on what we have, and building new, so that we have a city that is welcoming to everybody, where we can all see ourselves reflected,” said MBDA creative industries project manager Oyama Vanto.
Stakeholders interested in participating in the Heritage and Tourism Indaba can contact Oyama Vanto at [email protected], or (041) 811 8200, and watch the media and the MBDA social platforms for more information.