Indaba links tourism and heritage in Nelson Mandela Bay

Issued by Mandela Bay Development
Johannesburg, Oct 23, 2023
MBDA CEO Anele Qaba.

A Heritage and Tourism Indaba convened by the Mandela Bay Development Agency (MBDA) for Wednesday, 25 October aims to map the Bay’s heritage assets and engage diverse stakeholders to develop a collaborative action plan to unlock tourism opportunities in built, intangible and environmental heritage.

The MBDA invites stakeholders in heritage and tourism – in the private sector, civil society, education institutions and government – to participate in the indaba, at The Athenaeum in Athol Fugard Terrace, Central, from 8:30am to 3pm on Wednesday, 25 October.

The indaba stems from a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the MBDA and heritage and tourism stakeholders including the Central Special Ratings Area (SRA), Discover Mandela Bay and the Historical Society of Port Elizabeth.

“The MOU sets the platform for multiple stakeholders to collaborate in preserving, protecting and promoting the metro’s heritage sites and stories, and working together to ensure they are enablers of tourism growth. The efforts of individual organisations can be amplified when we work together, and that is the aim of the indaba, to explore partnerships and agree on a plan of action for the year ahead to take the MOU forward.

“We also aim to explore how to link urban renewal in support of heritage and tourism opportunities, and ensuring that heritage and tourism contribute to an inclusive economy and create job opportunities.

“The MOU remains open to more participants, and we anticipate bringing new signatories on board at the indaba,” MBDA CEO Anele Qaba said.

The indaba theme is: “Establishing partnerships – making heritage and tourism work for social, spatial and economic growth”.

The keynote speaker is heritage specialist and researcher Dr Naomi Roux, author of the book "Remaking the Urban: Heritage and Transformation in Nelson Mandela Bay", published in 2021.

Dr Roux has worked in the heritage field, in both academia and practice, for 15 years, drawing together interests in heritage, development, urban transformations, cultural landscapes, storytelling and spatial justice.

“Crucial questions about heritage include the realities and complications around gentrification, commercial development and tourist-oriented urban heritage; the politics of erasure; and the power of heritage, community and storytelling as tools for urban spatial justice in the context of South Africa’s deeply fragmented cities,” she said.

The indaba will review the current status of the metro’s heritage assets, and the role and activities of participating organisations.

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.

The formal programme ends with an opportunity for participants to network and discuss taking partnership and collaboration opportunities forward.

Partnering in the initiative, the Central SRA works to improve conditions in the area, particularly in safety, cleaning and maintenance, and collaborates on urban renewal and infrastructure improvements with agencies such as the MBDA.

Discover Mandela Bay represents tourism businesses and promotes tourism to the Bay and the development of tourism products.

The Historical Society promotes interest in the historic past of the Bay and conservation of heritage assets, and is working to develop the tourism potential of the metro’s maritime heritage.

Stakeholders interested in participating in the indaba can contact Oyama Vanto at [email protected], or (041) 811 8200, and watch the media and the MBDA social platforms for more information.