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'Tremendous uptick' in Cape Town tourism

Feb 08 2017 17:58
Carin Smith

Cape Town - The tourism industry in Cape Town definitely has a positive outlook, according to Josiah Montsho, general manager at the Pepperclub Hotel & Spa in Cape Town's CBD.

He said there has been a tremendous uptick in the city's tourism industry.

"Whenever you speak to tourists - especially international tourists - they say Cape Town remains SA's number one destination. That is very encouraging as the tourism industry not only boosts the gross domestic product (GDP) but also creates jobs," Montsho told Fin24.

Apart from the weaker rand playing a part in attracting more tourists, he added that attractions like Table Mountain, Robben Island, the Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden and Groot Constantia are some of the key attractions luring tourists to the Mother City. The weather is another plus for them.

At the same time problems with visa requirements remain a challenge and many tourists still tell of missed flights, for instance, due to visa hassles. He would like to see the SA government sort out these hassles.

One of the trends in the industry which points to greater confidence for Montsho is the interest that big international hotel brands have shown in expanding in Cape Town. The increase in direct flights to the Mother City further enhances tourist numbers, in his view.   

Witnessing the tourism industry perform beyond expectations is, therefore, an encouraging sign for the local economy, he added.

READ: Tourism trends to watch in 2017

“After experiencing the biggest decline in six years in 2015 due to changes to visa and immigration policies, the industry has made an exceptional recovery,” said Montsho.

A milestone of 10 million passengers was recorded by Cape Town International Airport in 2016 - the highest number it ever recorded. It also showed an 8% year-on-year increase in December 2016, recording over half a million arrivals during the month.
 
“Cape Town in particular reported a bumper peak season – with most of the popular tourist attractions reporting record preliminary visitor numbers for December 2016. We too have noted the increase in visitors," said Montsho.
 
“As South Africa offers international travellers a variety of experiences at an affordable price, it comes as no surprise that the country has quickly regained its popularity amongst travellers. We can expect this trend to continue into 2017 – with more developments planned to attract a range of travellers to our shores, for both business and leisure.”
 
According to the 2017 Virtuoso Luxe Report, SA is the number one destination for adventure in the world, as well as the second spot for best global destination and fourth for top emerging destination.

According to Enver Duminy, CEO of Cape Town Tourism, it’s imperative that tourism be seen for the value that it adds to the South African economy.

"This sector is growing steadily - an indication of this would be that over 32 000 new jobs were created in tourism in 2015 for a total of over 700 000. One in 22 employed people work in tourism – so this is one public sector able to address part of the employment shortfall in SA," said Duminy.

"About 4.5% of the total workforce, more than are employed in the mining sector, are in tourism – only 462 000 people were employed in mining at the end of 2015 as a contrast. The tourism industry is a space where entrepreneurs are discovering opportunities to market their businesses."
 
For every R100 produced by the SA economy, R3.10 was as a result of tourism, or 3.1% of the economy. Agriculture only contributed R2.40 per R100, so tourism is bigger than agriculture.
 
Tourists spent in excess of R249bn in 2015, and this figure is surely on the rise given the increase in arrivals at airports and those enjoying the major attractions.

"As tourism professionals, we’re committed to working with government and other partners in the private sector in multi-stakeholder initiatives that allow us to maximise the opportunities for encouraging tourism, so that we can continue to add jobs and boost the economy,” said Duminy.

The number of passengers arriving in Cape Town on international flights increased by 28.9% in December and by a staggering 31.16% in January, according to the official ACSA figures.
 
“These figures, which compare this season’s figures with the corresponding months last year, are very exciting for business and the tourism industry,” said Janine Myburgh, president of the Cape Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

She pointed out that international passenger numbers had increased by more than 20% for every month since June last year with November being the only exception and that was still a high 17.3% increase.

“Something important is happening. Cape Town is becoming a great destination for world travellers and that is good for the local economy and for jobs. I know the weak rand is helping but, once discovered, Cape Town will continue to attract the rich and famous.”

Read Fin24's top stories trending on Twitter:

cape town  |  sa economy  |  tourism
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