TOURISM CONFLICTS: BOARD vs MUNICIPALITY

There is much confusion in the tourism sector with two press releases hitting the wires only a few hours apart. Just after 5.30pm on Wednesday 22 August, Knysna Tourism announced the closure of its offices due to lack of Municipal funding. Then, whilst news of this was still abuzz on social media, an official post appeared on the Knysna Municipality’s Facebook page, stating that the Knysna Information Office services would continue without disruption. Both releases are included below, though due to the last minute appearance of this story there has been no time to get further comment from either party.

KNYSNA TOURISM CLOSES ITS DOORS

The board of directors of Knysna Tourism is saddened to advise its members and members of the public that it has decided to close the company’s offices with immediate effect.

Knysna Tourism is registered as a non-profit company (NPC). It began as the Knysna Publicity Association, which was founded at a public meeting on 9 May 1927. More recently, it evolved into a respected destination marketing organisation (DMO) that received the bulk of its funding from the Council of the Knysna Municipality, which gave the company the task of fulfilling the Municipality’s constitutional requirement to promote local tourism.

The service level agreement between Knysna Tourism NPC and Knysna Municipality, under which the arrangement had operated, ended on 30 June 2018.

Numerous negotiations have taken place between the Municipality and the board of Knysna Tourism regarding interim funding of the Knysna Tourism offices while a solution is sought.

Owing to broken undertakings by the Knysna Municipality, the board believes that the Municipality has negotiated in bad faith.

Despite recent additional financial contributions from members, Knysna Tourism is now no longer able to fund continuing operations. The company’s directors have a duty in terms of the Companies Act 2008 to avoid trading in contravention of the Act. The board therefore feels that it has no option but to order the doors to be closed.

KNYSNA INFORMATION OFFICE SERVICE WILL CONTINUE WITHOUT DISRUPTION

Knysna Municipality once again confirm our commitment to keep the doors of the Knysna Information Office open.

Executive Mayor Mark Willemse said that the running of the office, situated in Main Road Knysna, will be officially taken over by Wesgro on the 1st of November. “We’ve met with them today and the final agreement will be signed in the next few weeks.”

Willemse said the Municipality will take over the running of the Information Office till the end of October. “We will make sure that the office is staffed with experienced staff and that the service to visitors continue with the minimum disruption.”

The Municipality is appointing Wesgro to manage its constitutional mandate in terms of tourism and destination marketing.