High entrance fees bad for Henties Fish Festival

25 Aug 2014 10:20am
HENTIES BAY, 25 AUG (NAMPA) – Exhibitors at the just-concluded Henties Bay Fish Festival have complained strongly about the high entrance fee charged at the gate, saying many ordinary people were discouraged by the high amount.
Adult were charged N.dollars 100 while children had to pay N.dollars 50 to enter the festival grounds at this coastal town, located some 70 kilometres north-east of Swakopmund.
Exhibitors who spoke to Nampa over the weekend said business was not good because the turnout of visitors was very poor because of these extremely high gate fees.
Selling fish and chips at her stand, Marlene Truter said she did not make any profit because very few people came to buy.
The annual fish festival is organises by Naude van der Merwe of the Henties Bay Tourist Association
“The fees at the main gate are far too high. The entrance must be free so that we can attract more visitors to this venue. People with big families cannot afford to pay for all their children to enter, and those with low income might totally refuse to pay because N.dollars 100 is a lot of money,” Truter said.
She said she was also not happy with the high amount of money charged for the leasing of the stands.
Stands with electricity go for N.dollars 1 000 while those without electricity are available for N.dollars 500.
Hermann Hosabe /Honeb, the director of Hanganeni Artisanal Fishing Association (HAFA) referred to the fees as “nonsense”.
He said these fees must be scrapped or reduced to N.dollars 20 in order for the festival to attract more visitors and promote or sell more products.
“We are very much worried about the fees. If I should talk about it, I will say it is nonsense. I don’t know who decided on it,” /Honeb told this news agency.
He said he will make sure that members of Hanganeni are part of the festival’s organising committee next year.
/Honeb said there is a need to turn things around and make the event a success, as it is currently not being fully attended.
On his part, Van der Merwe admitted that something needs to be changed to increase the attendance of the event, but he had nothing to say about the fees.
He admitted that the number of exhibitors has indeed declined from 45 last year to 40 this year.
“Some people booked for space but later just withdrew, that’s why you see that we have so few exhibitors. But we will continue to make sure the event serves its purpose of marketing the local businesses,” the organiser said.
Town Mayor Aila Maria Haufiku said she is aware of the entrance fee complaints but reserved her comments, because the town council is currently not involved in organising the festival.
She however pointed out that the municipality will take over the festival organising responsibilities next year.
Van der Merwe confirmed that they will work together with the town council next year to make the event a success.
The two-day fish festival always takes place in August. It started on Friday and ended Saturday.
Activities such as angling competitions, Miss Fish Festival and a music show were part of the calendar.