The picturesque Western Cape winelands town of Franschhoek is leveraging the fact that it has more than 80% of its people vaccinated against COVID-19, to draw more tourists.
The project was kickstarted towards the end of August – with the full support of Western Cape Premier, Alan Winde, tourism promotion body, Wesgro, and the Department of Health – to ensure everyone in the valley was vaccinated.
According to Franschhoek Tourism Marketing Manager, Ruth McCourt, this was undertaken in an effort to boost the faster return of international visitors to the region, and to stimulate Franschhoek’s employment growth.
Prior to the campaign, the town had only been granted two vaccination dates per month. In order to reach population safety, a minimum of 960 people had to be vaccinated per day. McCourt said this in itself came with a hefty price tag, and had to be funded solely by Franschhoek Tourism.
The daily projected cost of R37 600 (€2 100) was forecast to fund marshalls, co-ordinators and cleaners, amongst others, as well as their meals and transport to and from the relevant vaccination sites.
To achieve this, Franschhoek Tourism embarked on a fundraising initiative that included setting up a GoFundMe account.
Subsequently, 85% of the qualifying population were vaccinated and the local clinic was able to employ the services of a nurse whose sole responsibility is to administer vaccinations daily.
In addition, Clicks – a health, beauty and lifestyle retail store – got behind the campaign by providing additional vaccination days at its Franschhoek store.
“Not only has this been driven by Franschhoek Tourism, but it is a campaign that has actively been endorsed by the entire community, as the need for tourists to return to our valley safely and explore our amazing offerings is so important. We are extremely grateful to Premier Winde for helping us realise our vision and supporting us all the way,” said McCourt.