Saints may be losing their head start as potential investors in St Helena’s hoped-for tourism boom.
Enterprise St Helena has been briefing journalists in South Africa on the potential of the island, with 43 months to go until the island’s first airport is due to open.
News reports on the island’s financial prospects coincide with the arrival in the UK of ESH staff Julian Morris and Matt Joshua.
Matt is holding a drop-in session for potential Saint investors in Swindon on Thursday, and will be running a video link back to the island on Sunday at the Reading Sports, the annual gathering of Saints in the UK.
Julian has given a number of high-profile media interviews.
South Africans made up 49% of the visitors to the island in the latest figures, and the country is seen as the prime market place for attracting tourists.
Tourism manager Merrill Joshua has been emphasising some of South Africa’s historic connections wwith St Helena, including as a place of exile for Prince Dinizulu during the Zulu War, and 6,000 Boer War prisoners during the Boer War.
According to the Times Live website, Merrill has stressed the need to cater for South Africans as the core market:
“Now, because it is vitally important that St Helena gets on the map as a tourism destination, a lot more money and resources will be ploughed into the historical ties with Cape Town and South Africa.”
Times Live also quotes Stuart Planner, property director at Enterprise St Helena.
He says: “With only 43 months to go before the first plane lands, this is a crucial time for investors and developers to make themselves known to us if they wish to participate in this project.
“We have assets and a business environment and legislative framework we believe to be attractive for investment.”