Thursday, December 31 will mark the first time in the V&A Waterfront’s 30-year history, that New Year’s Eve won’t see crowds converging in the neighbourhood for the traditional countdown to a fireworks display at midnight to usher in the New Year.
“2020 has been a year in which countless lives have been lost, families separated, and livelihoods destroyed – all due to the COVID-19 virus pandemic. This year, for our traditional festive season celebration, we are pausing to reflect on the year gone by with a Tribute of Light and Hope for the New Year,” said David Green, CEO of the V&A Waterfront.
A significant change to the year-end celebrations will be the absence of the usual New Year’s Eve celebrations activities and fireworks display, which would typically draw up to 200 000 visitors to the neighbourhood in a single day.
With the current COVID-19 restrictions on public gatherings, with great regret under the circumstance, it will not be possible to stage a large-scale event. Instead, plans are to embrace the symbolism of a New Year and new beginnings, with a seven-day Tribute of Light and Hope, representing hope, change, remembrance, life, courage, loss, gain, Ubuntu and solidarity. Individual restaurants will offer celebration package options.
“As a responsible corporate citizen, the Waterfront does everything within our capability to maintain a safe environment. And we can offer visitors this assurance. All our retailers, restaurants, attractions and activations will continue to maintain health-and-safety protocols by adhering to proper hygiene, social distancing and appropriately limiting capacity inside closed spaces. We have also invested in tools such as touchless parking and offer a drive-through COVID-19-testing facility,” says Green.
In August this year, the Waterfront became the first attraction in South Africa to adopt the World Travel and Tourism Council’s (WTTC) Safe Travels stamp protocols. This is the world’s first-ever global safety and hygiene stamp for Travel & Tourism, designed specifically to address COVID-19 and similar outbreaks.
“Leisure experiences are an important part of our offering and we want to assure our visitors they can safely enjoy their time at the Waterfront. We are particularly proud of our track record in this regard and it’s of immense importance to us to ensure all amenities, tenants and leisure activities demonstrate this commitment.” says Green.
Visitors to the Waterfront over the festive period can also look forward to the continuation of their festive décor theme, Joy from Africa to the World. This became a global-first when it launched last year, with the destination producing sustainable festive décor and installations throughout the precinct – all crafted from recyclable materials. This year’s festive decorations will again be made by a collaborative effort between local artists, makers, tenants and children from surrounding schools.
When you visit the V&A this festive season, the Waterfront hope their Tribute of Light and Hope festive season messaging will resonate with you. Archbishop Desmond Tutu once said, “Hope is being able to see that there is light, despite all of the darkness.”