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Council Passes a Recovery and Turn around Strategy for Cango Caves

Oudtshoorn, 04 May 2021 –  The tremendous financial suffering that came along with the arrival of COVID19 in our lives did not deter the Greater Oudtshoorn Municipal Council in exerting more efforts to ensure the survival and flourishing of the iconic Cango Caves.

In a Special Council meeting held on 29 April, Council resolved to develop an economic recovery and turn-around strategy/plan for the Cango Caves. The Cango Caves, like many businesses, is battling enormously to stay afloat, as it is experiencing very low income levels and rise in fixed operating cost, currently running at a loss. 

“The objective of this strategy is to focus on operational matters and putting measures in place, to turn the financial position around in order to break-even or achieve minimal profit,” said the Executive Mayor, Chris Macpherson.

“We intend to reduce of minimize operational cost, reduce salary cost as well as overtime,” Macpherson said. “We are also looking at reviewing the Caves’ current operational module and explore the possibility of establishing a municipal entity versus a department within the municipality. The Caves also requires urgent upgrades of its current facility and capital funding is required. Council, has therefore proposed that alternative sources be explored to fund the upgrade of these facilities.”

Currently, there are no additional services rendered to complement the Caves.  The curio shop and restaurant are still closed, due to the pandemic and limited tourist influx.  Council is embarking on starting negotiations with service providers as well as ways to introduce additional services to make it attractive to more visitors.

The Cango Caves Turn-Around Strategy comprises the following actions to increase revenue streams:

  • Review the current tariff structure

With its current tariff structure the Caves receive minimal income from local residents, it is currently unaffordable and it must be reviewed to make provision for different categories of tourist visiting the caves; it is advisable to view this as special tariffs for the period of COVID19 and can be reviewed when required, possibility of reducing the current rate must be explored to allow more feet into the Caves.

  • Development of packages

Marketing specials and affordable packages should be explored for individuals, families and groups with other tourist attractions.  Affordability will be critical for this focus area to be successful.

  • Marketing the Caves to schools

Schools will be the feeder of future clients at the Caves.  It is therefore important that a strategy be developed to lay a solid foundation at schools within the region and district.

  • Open the Caves to host special events

The Caves with its unique features, creates the opportunity to be utilized as venue for special events such as, concerts, sporting, music, art, weddings as well as matric balls even.  Cognizance must be taken around the conservation impact of these events and systems must be put in place to monitor the impact and approve events with no or minimal impact.

  • Marketing of Caves and local, national and international platforms

It is still very important to market the caves at different platforms to ensure tourist will visit the facility. Local expo’s will be given preference.

To ensure that all of the above realises, Council has resolved that the current Board of Trustees, in conjunction with Municipal Management should utilize the Cango Caves: Recovery and Turn-Around Strategy to unpack actions with timelines to implement all these focus areas.