This South African town is using its high vaccination numbers to attract more tourists

Franschhoek in the Western Cape says it reached ‘population safety’ at the end of November, becoming the first town in South Africa to have more than 80% of its people vaccinated against the Covid-19 virus.

The town’s push to reach population safety is a project that began at the end of August with the goal of having everyone in the Franschhoek valley vaccinated. It has since received the support of Western Cape premier Alan Winde, tourism group Wesgro and the Department of Health.

Franschhoek Tourism said that its aim was to boost the return of international visitors to the region, and more importantly, stimulate employment growth in Franschhoek.

Franschhoek said it was only granted two vaccination dates per month. To reach population safety, a minimum of 960 people needed to be vaccinated each day, funded solely by Franschhoek Tourism.

The daily projected cost of R37,600 was forecast to fund marshals, coordinators and cleaners, amongst others, and their meals and transport to and from the relevant vaccination sites, it said.

“By means of various fundraising initiatives, which included setting up a GoFundMe account, the goal was achieved, and the results have been phenomenal,” said Franschhoek Tourism marketing manager, Ruth McCourt.

“Not only is 85% of the area vaccinated, but the local clinic has been able to employ the services of a nurse whose sole responsibility it is to administer vaccinations daily. In addition, Clicks was so impressed that they have come on board by providing additional vaccination days at their Franschhoek store.”

For some 20 months, Covid has decimated Franschhoek’s hospitality industry, which has felt the brunt of international and even local travel restrictions. The region boasts some of the best dining experiences globally, led by La Petite Colombe, a regular on global best restaurant lists.

The Western Cape government announced that the province reached 50% population coverage this week, with a goal of 70% targeted by the end of the year.

By Monday (6 December), a total of 14.8 million South Africans had been fully vaccinated, representing 37.27% of the adult population.


Read: Showdown over mandatory Covid-19 vaccines in South Africa

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This South African town is using its high vaccination numbers to attract more tourists