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KIMBERLEY REDEVELOPMENT STRENGTHENED BY NEW PROTEA HOTEL - October 2007
Supporting the drive to position Kimberley’s world famous mining town back on the local and international tourist map, Protea Hotels has opened a new four-star, R44-million hotel - built adjacent to the new Big Hole development of De Beers, involving both the city and provincial government. Based on current statistics, Kimberley welcomes 90 000 visitors per annum and this is forecast to increase to over 200 000 visitors during the next year, 24% of whom are expected to be foreigners.
Arthur Gillis, Group Managing Director for Protea Hotels, explains that the hotel forms part of the larger Big Hole project, a R50-million De Beers initiative that has upgraded the old Mine Museum to a world-class tourist attraction. "This includes, among others, a new Big Hole Visitors Centre, restaurants and a new cantilevered viewing platform over the Hole itself."
David Noko, De Beers Consolidated Mines Managing Director, commented the company is encouraged by the number of large and small investors beginning to recognise the potential of Kimberley and that, "each Rand invested in Kimberley is a vote of confidence in the future and in a transformed prosperous and growing South Africa. De Beers' registered head office is in Kimberley and our company has steadily moved services to the city, from diamond sales, to training and financial services. We are grateful for the expansion Protea has undertaken as it is likely to lead to more visitors, both business and leisure, coming to this special and interesting city."
The Company Secretary for De Beers Consolidated Mines Limited, Committee chairman Mervyn Ward, says, "We would like to congratulate the Protea Hotel Group on the opening of their new hotel in Kimberley and would like to welcome them to the city as part of the Big Hole development. The objective of De Beers’ investment of more than R50-million in the Big Hole development was always seen as a catalyst to attract other investment capital to Kimberley and the Northern Cape Province. We are proud to be associated with investors such as Protea Hotels in this venture".
The hotel, which is ideally located facing the Big Hole, a National Heritage Site, has been designed to satisfy both the business and leisure markets. In addition, the new Northern Cape Legislature building is nearby and was completed in 2005, providing an additional governmental market. "This new property will go a long way to satisfying the growing demand for visitor beds and quality services in Kimberley and the surrounding areas," says Gillis.
The external facade of the Hotel, which is based on the two-block Protea Hotel Bloemfontein and Protea Hotel Nelspruit model, conforms to building designs erected in Kimberley between 1889 and 1914. The internal finishes present a new four-star hotel offering of world class accommodation while honouring the rich history of Kimberley Mine and the Big Hole prescient and Kimberley of the past. The hotel consists of 94 bedrooms, has conference and meeting rooms for approximately 80 people, parking for over 100 vehicles and a swimming pool.