Bayworld Oceanarium and Museum is facing a cash crunch and without urgent intervention may need to close its doors.

As one of Port Elizabeth’s premier tourist destinations that has more than 150 years of history is now forced to eat into its savings just to make ends meet.

In June and July this year Port Elizabeth will host several 2010 Soccer World Cup games, yet no foresight has been undertaken by the Department of Sports, Recreation, Arts and Culture (DSRAC) to ensure that an attraction such as Bayworld, that is guaranteed to be visited by national and international tourists alike, is maintained to at least acceptable standards.

One of the main reasons for being a host city is to showcase the city and its attractions to the rest of the world. A complete upgrade of Bayworld would have been justified by this reasoning alone. If the status quo remains, then we could possibly see Bayworld’s doors close before the Soccer World Cup. To ensure that this does not happen, calls for an urgent intervention.

I have written to the MEC, who is aware of the situation and has expressed her unqualified support to Bayworld, to implement such an intervention.

Earlier today (subs: wed, 3 Mar) in his budget speech, the MEC of Finance, Mcebisi Jonas, spoke of the upgrading of social infrastructure, yet it is disturbing to note that DSRAC’s budget has been slashed by almost by almost 25% to R602 million.

The Democratic Alliance was told that it would take R140 million to fix Bayworld as a structure alone.

The DA believes that tourism plays a vital role in building the economy in the Eastern Cape.

With one job created for every seven tourists that visits the province, it would be very short sighted to allow attractions such as Bayworld to fall by the wayside.

For further information, please contact John Cupido, MPL on 083 336 6987

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