A tourism practitioner on AIFA’s aircraft noise

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Oudtshoorn. 1 March 2013. 18h45. With AIFA’s long term presence in Oudtshoorn virtually assured, the local tourism office recently received this letter objecting to the noise.

O!O publishes this letter verbatim with the writer’s consent in an attempt to open the debate along the lines of AIFA’s influence on one of Oudtshoorn’s core industries: Tourism.

I am the Managing Director of a company called Seascape Tours.  We are based in Cape Town and offer exclusive private packages for international guests. Since 2008 we have been bringing our guests to Oudtshoorn as part of our extended  Garden Route experience. Until fairly recently it has been a highlight for them, spending an average of two or three days enjoying the famous attractions, restaurants, shops and wonderful climate of Oudtshoorn.  
 
About six months ago one of my tour guides reported to me that the noise of light aircraft flying extremely low over the town had reached unacceptable levels. He suggested  that we should consider removing Oudtshoorn from our itinerary all together.  These feelings were echoed by the guests as well.  One elderly couple told me that their experience in Oudtshoorn reminded them of the blitz during World War II,  with aircraft continuously flying low overhead!  I might add that this was the only negative comment of their 12 day holiday in South Africa. I must admit that at first I did not take the reports as seriously as I should have. However, the negative comments from my guests about the scary low flying aircraft escalated and reached levels that I could not ignore.
 
In November 2012, I personally decided to take a VIP group of six people on one of my Garden Route trips. We spent two days in and around Oudtshoorn and all I can say is that the continuous noise of low flying aircraft over the town is unacceptable.  Not only is it extremely annoying to have these machines sweeping overhead at low altitude, but the fear factor is also to be seriously considered, my guests were visibly afraid that an aircraft might crash into the guest house that they were staying at.  When we discovered that they were Learner pilots it was even worse, we left Oudtshoorn early and they purchased their Ostrich skin products in Knysna.
 
In conclusion, I must urge the Oudtshoorn Tourism Office to solve the problem of the low flying aircraft over the town as soon as possible! My company is going to avoid Oudtshoorn until the problem is solved.  I might add that at least three other companies in the tourism industry (that I know of) who will be avoiding your town because of the noise pollution.  My advice is to solve the problem quickly as word spreads fast in this industry.  For the record, one of my employees found several negative comments about the aircraft problem in Oudtshoorn on Trip Advisor. Trip Advisor is a global tool used by millions of travellers, it can only be bad for your town.
 
I really hope that I will receive positive news from your office soon, telling me that the aircraft problem over the town is solved.  I honestly want to keep Oudtshoorn on our itinerary, it used to be a quiet little paradise, try and get it back please!
 
Yours Sincerely                  
 
Tim Cummins
Managing Director

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DREWAN BAIRD COMMUNICATIONSensaytional – 076 349 6316
Making sure they see it your way
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9 thoughts on “A tourism practitioner on AIFA’s aircraft noise

  1. Dear OO Reader,

    This threat was brought to my attention. Let me assure you that should I wish to respond to any comment made on any website; it will be done under my own name with all my details attached.

    Kind regards,

    Willem Marais
    083 392 2325
    willem@aifa.co.za

    PS. I have balls….LOL!!!

  2. Wie is die WILLEM wat op 2 maart so uitgesproke was? Maak jou identitiet bekend as jy die balls het!

  3. Whilst I (sort of) understand Timothy’s plight, I (as an Oudtshoorn resident) agree more with Alleycat. That damn balloon wakes me…the planes dont bug me at all. Yet, an easy remedy (as suggested by Timothy) could be reached by changing the flight plan of the planes. Easy as that. Personally, I dont really care how many local pilots are being trained, just as long as they (the pilots) are prepared to spend in our town!!!

  4. When I agreed my letter could be published on this forum I knew that it could become a debate and I promised myself that what ever the comments, I would not respond! I am breaking this promise just once. My business brings people to Oudtshoorn because of two attractions, Cango Caves and the Ostrich farms. We overnight because there are some really great places in town and our guests love it! The contents of my letter is exactly what was reported to me and what I have personally experienced with my group in November 2012. It was not a pleasant experience at our guest house because of the planes over head and that is a cold fact! My company will avoid staying over in Oudtshoorn in the future because of the planes. We will simply do Cango Caves and then move on to Knysna or George for our overnights. As for the Ostriches, has anyone heard of Cape Point Ostrich Farm? For the record, and this is for “APARTHEID WILLEM” the couple who compared the planes overhead to the blitz in WW2 were born in London in 1932 (him) and his wife in 1936, old (fit) people with lots of money to spend in SA, they both remember the blitz and in any case even I thought it sounded like the blitz, I was born in 1963 and have seen enough documentaries to make the comparison. And now back to my original question which is, how many local pilots are being trained at this flying school? I think I know the answer! So who is benefiting, certainly not the local guest houses who fall in the flight path of the learner pilots. Wait until one of these learners puts a plane down in the residential area! I am not going to worry because my guests will be having breakfast in knysna!!

  5. Tim? Are you friends with Pelham & Co, Keene etc. Funny they speak the same lame words. Viva AIFA!

  6. Simpatie met die hele aangeleentheid. Gelukkig bly ek nie in die “flightpath” nie. Die ou lugballon raas baie meer in die vroeg oggend met sy onwettige lae vlieg. Het reeds `n paar noue ontkomings gehad en kom al agt jaar of wat daarmee weg.

  7. In die ou apartheidsjare het ons gepraat van ” iets is geplant” Nee wat Tim, probeer weer! Dit staan soos ‘n paal bo water dat jy voor gepraat word en dat jy woorde in die mond gele word. Nogals “continuous ” noise. Asseblief mnr?

    Ek verwerdig my nie eers om verder kommentaar te lewer op jou belaglike kinderagtige poging om deur die neus rondgelei te word deur ander nie. Twee dae op Oudtshoorn en die vliegmasjientjies maak jou sogenaamde VIP kuiermensies mal. Wat ‘n absolute belaglikheid en onverantwoordelike kinderagtige stelling. Hier waar ek op jou belaglikheid reageer is die gedreun van motors aanhoudend en dit aanvaar ek as ‘n gegewe.

    Jy weet jy praat ….jy weet wat! Sies man en dan verwag jy ons moet reageer op jou onsesitiewe belaglikheid.

    Shame on you. Nogals the fear factor of low sweeping aircraft overhead reminding them of world war2.

    Tim as jou gaste 25 jaar ou was gedurende “world war 2 beteken dit dat hulle gemiddelde ouderdom tans ongeveer 93 moet wees.

    Jism broer vir jou toeriste om lewend uit die bed te klim is ‘n groter risiko as om deur ‘n vliegmasjientjie getref te word.

    So gaan vertel jou belaglikheid aan jou sogenaamde sensitiewe toeriste. Kan jy glo twee dae hier en in die omgewing en nou wil jy aandring op aksie teen die vliegskool. ‘n Gratis tip. Moet nie jou “toeriste” op die lughawe by OT laat oorslaap nie. Shit pellie jy gaan ‘n moerse liability eis teen jou kry. Die ou mensies se harte gaan dit nie hou nie.

    Droom voort en smeer salf aan jou neus.

    Tot ons weer sien of verder van jou belaglikheid hoor!

  8. It is a problem and everybody in town knows it! Re-direct the flight path of the learner pilots away from the residential area, make a plan, the powers that be! Also, a question, are any local “SOUTH AFRICAN” pilots that are being trained in your town? How many local “young people” are becoming qualified pilots in Oudtshoorn? If anyone can answer these simple questions please do so!

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