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Berg cable car ‘a boon’
2016-06-21 10:13
Edward West, The Witness

Okahlamba Local Municipality Mayor Thulani Sibeko and Nkosi Ndabazita Miya both expressed their support for the development of a cable car up the Drakensberg at the Drakensberg Cable Car and Investment Conference and Exhibition that was held at Durban’s International Conference Centre.

Pietermaritzburg - The planned R5 billion Drakensberg cable car will significantly boost *tourism and counter weak economic conditions, new Economic Development and Tourism Affairs MEC Sihle Zikalala said on Monday.

He was speaking at the Drakensberg Cable Car Investment Conference and Exhibition at Durban’s International Convention Centre, which was attended by foreign cable car operators and potential investors.

The aim was to gather information from some of the world’s top cable car operations, to be able to explore other possible economic opportunities.

...Vahe Baghydasaryan, director of the world’s longest cable car, the Wing of Tatev, in Armenia, said tourism in the Tatev region grew from 2 000 visitors per year before 2010 to more than 700 000 per year currently, following the building of the cable car.

The $80 million (R1,18 billion) investment for the Wing of Tatev cable car to the Tatev Monastry was funded by 146 donors from 18 countries, including individuals and organisations of many different religions.

After it was built, and apart from the influx of tourists, 15 new “big” hotels were built within a 25 km radius of the cable car, 25 B&Bs were established, it created 200 jobs directly related to the cable car, a college was funded, a farmers’ market was created, and the cable car helped fund the production of souvenirs in the Tatev region.

Zeev Margalit, an architect involved with the cable car to the historic mountain fort Masada, in Israel, said tourism grew from 30 000 visits a year before the cable car was built in 1970, to over 150 000 one year after it was constructed. Margalit said many did not initially believe it would be successful due to the tough environment, such as searing heat, strong winds, dust storms and flash floods, but the cable car had to be expanded in 2000, and now gets about 800 000 visits per year.

Zikalala said the project would not be possible without government and the private sector working in partnership. He said the government had completed a feasibility and environmental study into the project which showed it could be successful, and it had also consulted with some 20 000 community members about the development of the project. Zikalala said the project could be a kingpin of tourism development in the province.

More here: http://www.news24.com/SouthAfrica/News/berg-cable-car-a-boon-20160620
 

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who are the backers from a financial sense they refer?

I still think if they can get the business case right on this one that it offers big potential. Alot of people do not or cannot hike and have no possibility of getting to the top of the 'berg. This will change that, re-energise the attractiveness of the berg and spur other investment.
 

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In respect, 80,000 to 300,000 in a year is not massively unattainable. I personally believe this is a fantastic project to leverage access to the plateau that many people currently cannot get to. If interested in a broader tourist sense in the right site it has the potential to unlock greater international appeal for the area. It's how that is packaged which will matter and how it is structured to give an investment return
 
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