Tourism numbers for the December and January period have increased significantly – which is good news for a sector that contributes R15 billion to the local economy.
The latest tourism figures were released by the Western Cape Department of Economic Development and Tourism last week, with MEC Alan Winde noting that the increase in visitors sees Cape Town as a leader in world tourism.
“The brand of Cape Town is growing tremendously. We can see that from the numbers. Historically, repeat visitors explore other regions, outside of Cape Town, and these regions need to prepare themselves for the second wave of growth. To respond to these trends, we need to build our tourist asset base by increasing investment into new attractions.
“We are building three new attractions, namely the Cape cycle network, the Madiba Legacy route and we have repackaged our food and wine offering across the province.
“We’re also rolling out our province-wide skills drive to ensure we offer quality service. Our job is to help every region to realise its full tourism potential.”
Some of the most visited tourist sites in the province in 2016 included the Table Mountain Cableway and Table Mountain National Park, which attracted 150 201 and 400 929 visitors, respectively.
Suzette Little, mayco member for Area North, said that tourism played a vita role in the city.
“The tourism sector is an important component of our economic growth strategy because of its role in building skills and creating jobs.
“(A total of) 38 838 permanent jobs and 15 489 temporary jobs have been created in the local tourism sector.
“The economic value of tourism for Cape Town is estimated at R15.1 billion (2015) and it continues to grow.
“A current trend, which will be highlighted by the industry, will be niche tourism – smaller but significant tourism markets like educational tourism, religious tourism, food tourism and business tourism.
“It is relatively easy for a small tourism operator to put together a package which would appeal to these markets and to encourage the visitors to stay for longer and experience more. The more that these markets are catered for, the bigger the economic impact of tourism that will be felt,” added Ms Little.
According to Cape Town Tourism CEO Enver Duminy, tourism is an essential part of the local economy, especially since it is a sector showing growth.
However, Mr Duminy added, transformation within the industry was vital.
“As a destination marketing organisation, it’s our role to ensure that within the tourism sector growth and inclusivity take place.
“Transformation is central to this, and we encourage our members to provide skills development and mentorship to younger tourism professionals. Tourism as an industry is an ideal environment for entrepreneurs to create niche offerings that meet gaps in the market.
The City of Cape Town is always seeking ways to encourage ways for locals to get involved in tourism activities.
“For locals, we are aware that the ability to access some experiences is limited for financial reasons, but we highlight activities across the city that anyone can enjoy.
“We understand the importance of domestic tourism, and encouraging our locals to explore the many neighbourhoods within Cape Town.
“Anyone can enjoy our beaches and the mountain, so why not take a stroll along the Sea Point Promenade, or enjoy the contour path on Table Mountain?”