Sun International’s iconic entertainment hub turns 20

The Boardwalk celebrates two decades of memories for tourists and locals in Nelson Mandela Bay

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The Boardwalk

The Boardwalk celebrates two decades of memories for tourists and locals in Nelson Mandela Bay

It has been 20 years since close to 20 000 Port Elizabethans converged on Summerstrand for the opening of The Boardwalk. Millions have visited the property since then.

When Sun International developed Port Elizabeth’s first legal casino and entertainment world it not only changed the face of the beachfront and contributed significantly to the economic fabric of the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality, it also created an iconic social centre for action and fun in the city.

With millions of Tivoli lights flickering on its roof, The Boardwalk and its surrounding lake added to the Friendly City’s architectural diversity. It created a world class precinct around the Shark Rock Pier and Hobie Beach. It also funded upgrades to the road network which benefited the entire suburb. Ultimately it became a catalyst for further development and tourism in and around Port Elizabeth.

“We gave thousands of our people a place to be proud of, a place to take their friends and visitors to. We provided a safe, beautiful area, populated with excellent restaurants, retail outlets, a state of the art casino and entertainment for the people of PE and, indeed South Africa,” said Graham Vass, The Boardwalk’s first General Manager.

The development provided a much needed, high quality, purpose built conference centre and a 550 seater amphitheatre for live shows. It also cross funded the development of an array of City Lodge Hotels on the adjacent beachfront strip. These culminated in Sun International building the luxurious five-star Boardwalk Hotel and international conference facility in November 2012.

Iconic tourism crown jewel

Over the years, many South African artists from Tamia, Johnny Clegg, Karen White, Chris De Burg, Zahara, Ami Faku, Amanda Black, Zonke, Danny K to PJ Powers, Vusi, Lira performed at The Boardwalk.

“The Boardwalk created a new level of entertainment and service; it made people realise that Port Elizabeth could aspire to be more as a city and it was amazing to experience the pride and belief that grew in a city that yearned for inspiration and a belief in itself,” said Shaun van Eck, former Marketing Manager for The Boardwalk, now chairman of Nelson Mandela Bay Tourism.

Bongi Siwisa, chairperson of Emfuleni Resorts said The Boardwalk complex was an “iconic tourism crown jewel” in the Eastern Cape. “We owe this status and our success to the dedication of our Management and Staff, and our loyal customers who have walked this road with us,” she said.

Mike van Vuuren, The Boardwalk’s General Manager said that the complex held a special place in the hearts of many people. “Many lasting memories have been created at The Boardwalk, and we look forward to creating many more in the next 20 years as the property develops and evolves.”