(PLETT TOURISM DECEMBER 2017 SUMMER MAGAZINE REPORT)
What a suitcase question for all Plettonians to ponder – not at all a rhetorical question asked by Plett Tourism in the abovementioned article, which clearly requires a participatory platform to enable all stakeholders to participate in this crucial response.
It is necessary to consult the Bitou Plett IDP document which together with many other comprehensive items relating to the formers’ strategy also refers to or alludes to a number of the matters raised in the PT article
It is obviously important to ensure that a comprehensive local strategy is informed by the Provincial and National Strategy (NDP), provided that pragmatism prevails at the local level. After all one size does not fit all. There are a number of KRA’s within the IDP set out with various degrees of prioritization that appear to be governed by performance management KPI’s, even suggesting that Balance Scorecards are/will be put in place at all levels of the Municipality. This looks integrated on paper but the proof as they say, will be in the implementation of the strategic initiatives as measured by the performance management process.
But they cannot do this on their own. So what will Plett look like in 2030 or beyond? This is where the IDP on a localized level falls glaringly short- there does not appear to be any definitive structural or spatial future laid out which would ideally present the wider business & investment community with the necessary opportunities to galvanise into action. At the same time, whilst there are many festivities/sports etc events that are organized by and through PT through the various holiday seasons of the area there does not appear to be a clear integration with the IDP other than reference to the singular activity of Tourism.
A much more in-depth intelligent debate is required in order to project what the future of this Town will/should look like. Early indications (we await statistics) are that we experienced a significant lower influx of holiday makers over the December season; if correct – a telling warning sign that new strategic initiatives are urgently required. We are asked if we see the future as “Brand Plett (Tourism/holiday – as is), maybe some Industrial development, maybe developing into a very large Metropole, or degenerating into a complete Town-failure of squalor and total poverty”. We are told population estimates are projected to grow from 60,000 to reach 140,000 by 2030, the airport may be expanded to allow increased air traffic, remember the small boat harbour outcry plus, plus. A number of tourism-building initiatives are in train but there still appears to be a disconnect from an integrated strategy point of view with a pragmatic IDP, where resources are allocated, time lines are set and accountabilities are measured. A few initiatives have either ‘stalled’ or are awaiting resources. Tourism alone cannot continue to be the sole anchor of the Town, we are chasing a hedgehog approach when we should be thinking like foxes (Clem Sunter) – we have to diversify.
A strategic debate is a messy debate, but provided it is accompanied by input that is not biased in any way, wherein ‘no holy cows’ are allowed to exist, then it can deliver strategic initiatives that are rich in quality. Prof Michael Porter documented that; “The strategic process is about the choosing of a set of activities in order to deliver a competitive edge” If we do not build a future Plettenberg Bay around a number of strategic initiatives then we will continue to follow the ‘one trick pony’ concept of seasonal business which is simply not sustainable as we compete for increased share-of-wallet of consumers together with the economic sustainability of the future population.
Ian van Jaarsveld BUSINESS STRATEGIST (MBA), (AEP)
Cell: +27 (0) 82 494 8771
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