Cape Town Tourism CEO Enver Duminy says confirmed flight bookings for the next four months show a 15% increase. This is on top of a 10% increase in annual arrivals by air, a 20% rise in domestic visitors and an 8.6% increase in international visitors in the last year.
“Cape Town has matured as a tourism offering. We don’t have to stand back for anyone. Most tourist cities have a few things – we have it all: beaches, mountains, natural beauty, great attractions, food and drink, and a professional tourism industry. But surveys show our best assets are our friendly people and our history.
“Most tourist cities have a few things — we have it all”
”The rise of the CBD as a tourist destination in itself is major factor. “We have had the Big Six, which received 28 million visitors last year, but the CBD now makes it the Big Seven,” says Duminy.
A year ago, the outlook was looking a lot less positive, but the major players in tourism, the City of Cape Town, the provincial government, Wesgro and others have worked together to secure more flights and promote Cape Town as a year-round destination.
His advice is for Capetonians is to ensure that visitors have “an authentic, quality, value-for-money experience”. Businesses also need to keep innovating and adapting their tourism offering. Like many other sectors, tourism is changing rapidly, he says, citing a figure of 10 000 rooms now being available through AirBnB. “Our visitors save up for a long time, and often travel a long way to enjoy what we are lucky enough to see every day. And it’s the locals who love and live in the city that keep Cape Town going.”
The recent announcement of more new hotel developments in the CBD area, which along with construction already underway will add around 1 500 rooms, is also a vote of confidence in the long-term future growth of the tourism sector.
According to consulting firm PWC’s Hotels Outlook 2016 – 2020 report, Africa is one of the world’s great regions for travel. Despite economic uncertainty, the report says tourism has significant potential to “create jobs, uplift inclusive economic growth and reduce poverty”.