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Enhancing Cape Town's tourism offer

Nov 09 2016 17:34

Cape Town - Changing trends in travel can have a significant impact on a destination and the tourism economy – negatively of positively – the Euromonitor World Travel Trends report 2016 has just been released at World Travel Market in London, revealing some relatively good news for South Africa: what the world’s travellers want, this country has.

Already named as one of the places to visit in 2017 by travel authority Lonely Planet, Cape Town either already offers, or can easily add, tourism offerings and experiences that speak to the trends that are projected to dominate around the world in 2017, according to Enver Duminy, CEO, Cape Town Tourism.
Across the board, it’s apparent that travellers want rich, immersive experiences that are more than just holidays. For example, mindfulness and wellness was one theme that was aligned with wilderness experiences, something that the city offers.

"Despite being largely urban, Cape Town has areas of unspoilt, natural beauty. Pair this with meditation, yoga and spa breaks and this trend is catered for, although the safari element ascribed to this wilderness trend would require a short trip out of the immediate city, but it is still attainable," said Duminy.

The development of hiking routes and trails is allowing visitors to get to know the countries they go to right at ground level. The Middle East is adopting these trails as a means of exposing visitors to its history, while Cape Town is using these to showcase history, natural diversity and an unparalleled natural environment. The Voice Map tour at Cape Point is a great example to him of how these elements are combined. The walking tours through the CBD also provide this experience on a smaller scale.

Community-based, extended-stay tourism is appealing to the US market, described as “co-living nomads”, they combine work and leisure with a lifestyle of living within communities. This work-life balancing appeals to the US market, and they’ll certainly find opportunities for this in Cape Town and across the country, where there are so many different expressions of community life by many cultures. These "roamies" as they’re termed have already begun to discover this.

"Proving that the local Air Access initiative is firmly in the right direction, a trend in the UK is that there’s a demand for supersonic flight that cuts down of flight times on popular routes and opens up new destinations. Air Access has already added 400 000 additional seats via new direct flights to Cape Town in one year, so while these aren’t on supersonic jets, the demand proves that travellers want to save time in transit and spend more time in destination," said Duminy.

"Time is of the essence for the 2017 traveller, so micro-adventure is increasing in popularity: people want to have short, adventurous breaks to get away from it all. This is a trend in Europe, but it’s also always been an area that Cape Town excels at, providing exciting, relaxing short breaks with everything from shark cage diving to abseiling. This trend also appeals to those in search of active, healthier lifestyles, and the sea, mountains and experiences in the city provide innumerable ways visitors can access those lifestyle experiences. When international visitors travel to the city, they find that their needs are taken care of."

Something unusual is being adopted by start-ups: with the shift to convenience in travel, visitors want hassle-free experiences, to the point that they even want to travel without bags. Entrepreneurs are proving clothing rentals or purchases at hotels, to appeal to a generation that prefers to rent rather than own. It’s just a matter of time before this is rolled out in the local context, in his view.

"As would be expected, digital innovation will be a central theme in tourism for 2017, not just the continuing digital transformation that sees visitors expecting to be able to plan, book and pay for their trips using mobile devices, but even more ingenious means of addressing the digital revolution. Augmented and Virtual Reality have become popular in showcasing destinations and attractions, and this will become a key facet of marketing in tourism. It’ll become possible to offer an immersive taste of what’s on offer to prospective visitors," said Duminy.

"Finally, a trend in India is seeing women being encouraged to pursue careers as tourism professionals. In South Africa this is already happening; our challenge is to ensure that women in tourism take on positions of leadership and that as many of these are black professionals in order to address the transformation process."

Ultimately these projected trends are part of the bigger picture, one that for local tourism indicates great potential for growth in the sector.
"There is interest on what’s on offer here, and room to improve our marketing and business offerings to ensure that we retain our position as one of the favoured global destinations," said Duminy.

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