Controversial Legislation Banned 4X4 on St. Lucia Beaches
STATEMENT BY THE OFFICE OF THE MINISTER OF ENVIRONMENTAL AFFAIRS AND TOURISM - MARTHINUS VAN SCHALKWYK - 18 February 2002
Minister Van Schalkwyk takes final decision on
"The decision surrounding public recreational beach driving is now final," said Marthinus van Schalkwyk, South African Minister of Environmental Affairs and Tourism, as he released a report on the ecological and socioeconomic impact of the beach driving ban.
The Minister said," I am now entirely satisfied that the decision to ban/restrict public recreational vehicles on South African beaches was the correct one. There is now overwhelming evidence that this is the best decision for the environment, and more broadly sustainable development and tourism growth. While there may have been an initial negative economic impact, it is clear that this trend has reversed and the stage is set for further growth. In fact, there is conclusive proof that several businesses have been successful at capturing new niche markets, including the lucrative eco-tourism market".
"I would like to emphasise that this policy is here to stay. Future tourism and investment planning no longer has to contend with any uncertainty regarding public recreational beach driving in South Africa. We now have clarity regarding the legislative and regulatory context in which planning frameworks and investment strategies can be developed to further promote eco-tourism associated with the Wetland Park, and, indeed, the greater coastal landscape of the country."
Key Findings in 2003 & 2006:
A study was conducted in the context of the Greater St Lucia Wetland Park, with a view to determining the best possible outcomes in terms of sustainable economic growth and its attendant ecological and social co-benefits.
The tourism chapter concludes that the introduction of the Regulations, at the time of the beach-driving ban and up until 2003, had an initial negative impact on tourism in the Wetland Park area. However, the impact was arguably exacerbated by several other factors: the opening of Mozambique as an alternative destination (new tar road and easier access), a major drought, high fuel prices, and a weak Rand, amongst others. However, the negative economic impact has been softened by several factors. These include ongoing Government efforts through the Lubombo Spatial Development Initiative and the Wetland Authority for improvement and uplifting of the area, the World Heritage status of the Park, game re-introductions, improved Park infrastructure, a change in the profile of visitors to the area (more foreign visitors and domestic holiday makers interested in the eco-tourism experience; and fewer visitors focused on beach-driving and fishing) and an adaptation and broadening of tourism products and services.
SO WHERE TO NOW? - SODWANA BAY - WHY?
Because many areas in the vicinity can only be reached by 4X4 vehicles and until the roads are tarred this is the place to go if you are a 4X4 fanatic.
Sodwana Bay is situated on the coast within the isimangaliso Wetland Park. The reserve lies adjacent to Africa’s southern-most coral reefs. The Maputoland and St Lucia Marine Reserves are linked to each other to form a continuous protected area stretching 150 km from the Mozambique border southwards to Cape Vidal and 3 nautical miles out to sea.
Many of the worthwhile places to visit in the vicinity of Sodwana Bay, such as Mabibi and Rocktail Bay can only be reached by 4x4. Sodwana Bay is thus a dream destination. Click on this link to obtain information on:Sodwana Bay 4x4 Trails, 4x4 Trails Information and other 4x4 Trails Providers.