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R800 million in tourism boost to Cape Town economy

Cape Town Tourism records a boost in festive season travel figures. Picture - File

Cape Town Tourism records a boost in festive season travel figures. Picture - File

Published Jan 19, 2022

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TOURISM over the festive season contributed R800 million towards the City of Cape Town’s economy.

On Wednesday Cape Town Tourism released travel figures from the festive season, which showed an increase in visitors as Cape Town International Airport reported a recovery of 66% for domestic arrivals and 29% for international when compared to two years ago.

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The City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Economic Growth, James Vos, said while December proved to be another challenging year for the tourism and hospitality industries, collaborative campaign efforts to attract local tourists contributed towards the recovery seen.

According to the report, accommodation and tourist attractions recorded significant increases when compared to 2019 figures but figures were still low when compared to pre-Covid figures.

Chapman’s Peak Drive recorded 77% visitors, Two Oceans Aquarium 76%, Groot Constantia 60%, Table Mountain 57%, Kirstenbosch 49%, Robben Island 46% and Cape Point 33%.

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“Judging by the demand that we saw, I believe that there will continue to be an upward trajectory for travel to Cape Town and South Africa. But we need to make good on this. By funding and working together with industry bodies such as Cape Town Tourism, we can drive further re-growth and development of this industry, particularly of the small businesses who make up the bulk of it,” he said.

“In December, tourism contributed R800m to the metro’s economy and R5.8 billion in all of 2021. The domestic campaign resulted in bookings valued at just over R40m.

“Every air traveller that lands in Cape Town helps to support our economy and create more jobs. In 2019, the airport alone helped funnel just under R14bn into Cape Town.

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According to the figures released, Cape Town airport saw 869 119 arrivals between October and January, of which 733 207 were domestic travellers.

CEO of Cape Town Tourism Enver Duminy said a recovery in the sector meant that both domestic and international tourists injected much-needed capital to the city.

“We do understand that recovery will take a little longer than we had hoped but we are optimistic that this trend towards recovery continues in February, as we enter our ‘second’ peak season,” he said.

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Duminy said the emergence of the Omicron variant last month impacted travel sentiments for the festive season and peak season.

“Prior to the advent of Omicron, our Cape Town Tourism visitor study reported that 67% of South Africans intended to travel in December. In practice, just 47% went away, according to the latest retrospective study,” he added.

“That’s a considerable decrease, and many of our local members reported experiencing drastic last-minute cancellations. Hopefully February will bring a surge of guests to our shores to experience the best our beautiful city has to offer.”

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