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Tourism News
Wedding industry underestimated
08 January 2011


 An article about how the wedding industry has given Karoo property a boost
With  a direct annual expenditure of a phenomenal R27-billion, spread over 186 000 weddings annually, the wedding industry in South Africa is not to be underestimated as it can provide a significant boost for the local economies hosting such events, says Wayne Rubidge, Pam Golding Properties area principal in the Karoo.
"Businesses and entrepreneurs benefiting from wedding events include, among others, wedding planners, beauty therapists, hairstylists, caterers, decorators, designers, florists, jewellers, videographers and gift, hiring and transport companies," said Rubidge.
Traditionally, popular wedding areas such as the Western Cape have approximately 200 venues catering for small, intimate weddings or renewal of vows with a few family members and friends to full blown celebrations with over 100 international guests.
For foreigners, South Africa remains popular and affordable for lavish weddings and they tend to travel mainly from the UK and other European countries such as Germany and Sweden.
"However, this overseas sector remains a small component of the South African wedding venue industry. While the local wedding venue market has also been somewhat affected by the global recession - with wedding budgets being adjusted - it seems apparent that for the vast majority of people, getting married is not considered a luxury that can be eliminated, but rather one which can be reduced to some degree." "As a result of this ongoing trend, Pam Golding Properties now offers a unique category of property, Function Venues, as an option for interested purchasers." Rubidge says that the global trend to smaller, more exclusive weddings which are held in a country environment offers increased potential for new areas- including South Africa, with the Karoo and its picturesque, romantic settings, and affordable properties offering numerous opportunities.
"Increasingly, wedding planners are looking for lesser-known, out of the way destinations and the myriad of towns and farms that comprise the Karoo as a region are well positioned to capitalise on this popular, fast-growing trend."
"Towns such as Nieu Bethesda, Graaff-Reinet, Prince Albert and Aberdeen are centrally located and accessible from many major centres. The Karoo offers a bouquet of desirable destinations, providing property investors with a new opportunity offering venues for bridal couples who want a unique, personal wedding with a luxurious, classic and almost antique feel- on a Karoo country estate," said Rubidge.
He says those investing in a property as a wedding or special event venue need to be able to tell their clients what makes that particular venue special, for example, it could be the historical The Karoo as a region is well positioned to capita use on this popular, fastgrowing trend significance of the property, coupled with the scenic appeal of the setting. The magnificent Karoo churches with their great acoustics - such as the grand Dutch Reformed Church of Graaff-Reinet, or the ornate stone building of the Anglican Church, are popular far wedding ceremonies, while the functions take place at venues around town and on farms where guests can relax and enjoy the ambience and surroundings. When couples look for a place to hold their wedding or reception they also look at the backdrop offered by the venue.
A sound option currently available on the market, and which would enable the purchaser to diversify into the up market boutique wedding industry, is a well located wildlife and game farm accessible from many of the towns around Graaff Reinet. This 3000ha farm has conference facilities located in a wild olive tree forest set against the backdrop of the mountains close to the Camdeboo National Park.
The conferencing facilities are complete, with fully equipped kitchens and seven chalets plus a manor house and appealing Karoo stone outbuildings such as barns and shearing sheds.
This game farm estate is fully stocked and makes an ideal wedding venue destination.
Adds Rubidge: "While towns like Graaft-Reinet and Prince Albert hold enormous appeal, smaller destinations such as the picturesque village of Nieu Bethesda are equally popular for alternate or intimate weddings, with most of the wedding receptions taking place on the magnificent mountain farms in the area. About seven kilometres from the village of Nieu Bethesda is a 3000ha sheep and game farm in a magnificent setting with great Karoo architecture-making it highly suited to dual use as a wedding or special event venue."




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