Tourism in Cape Town ‘on a strong road to recovery’

Cape Town Tourism board members at the annual general meeting on Wednesday October 26.

The tourism economy’s recovery looks promising, said CEO of Cape Town Tourism (CTT) Enver Duminy at the 19th annual general meeting (AGM) of the city’s tourism authority, held at Kenilworth Racecourse on Wednesday 26.

And while there is still lots of work to be done to re-establish Cape Town as one of the world’s top tourist destinations, speakers at the AGM detailed a significant comeback for the industry as the world returns to normal after the Covid-19 lockdowns.

Joanne Strauss was the host at the Cape Town Tourism annual general meeting.

Mr Duminy said while the city was trying to recoup, during the next 12 months, CTT would focus on demand generation, increasing market share, and pride in the city.

He said CTT had also launched a number of programmes during the past year to benefit tourism in the city.

The theme for the AGM was “Find your Freedom X”, said Mr Duminy.

“The ‘X’ means different things for different people. For us, it means the transformative steps we need to take to overcome the challenges that we meet in our city.”

The City’s Mayoral committee member for economic growth and tourism, James Vos, said the latest data from Cape Town International Airport indicated that arrivals continued to increase. “At the beginning of this year, international airport arrivals recovered to 34% of 2019 figures for that same period. Between July and September, it was up to 84% with total arrivals recovering to 70%.”

“We are expecting 184 flights per week to come into town in December,” he said, and next year, up to 191 flights a week are expected.

“This will amount to approximately 1.5 million two-way seats over the period, generating a whopping R7.9 billion in tourism spend.”

He added that the City is also expecting to see at least 80 ships dock at the port this season, and Cape Town International Convention Centre would also be hosting a number of gatherings.

Sporting events are also keeping Cape Town busy, he said, with the 2022 Rugby World Cup Sevens and World Masters Hockey recently being held in the city, and the Netball World Cup coming up in 2023.

“If we had learned anything from the past few years, it was the innovative way of thinking to overcome the challenges in the city. Together with Cape Town Tourism, we are determined to make Cape Town the easiest place to do business.”

CTT’s outgoing chairperson, Brett Hendricks, spoke on the past year and the encouraging growth in both international and local travel and hospitality in Cape Town.

“We have won a number of prestigious destination awards of which we are extremely proud. Being recognised as a truly world class destination shows us all, as an industry, that the hard work behind the scenes doesn’t go unnoticed.”

He added that Table Mountain was also named Africa’s Leading Tourist Attraction at the World Travel Awards, and that Cape Town International Airport was named the World’s Leading Airport.

He said a highlight of his last year as CTT chairperson was the Find You Freedom Campaign, and how it was received by the international market.

The digital travel experience, found on the Cape Town Tourism website, uses game-style graphics to help travellers from all over to choose their adventure in Cape Town based on the guide they identify with – the Fearless Foodie, Nature Warrior, or Urban Adventurer.

He said the campaign resulted in about 10 million visitors to Cape Town.

CTT had also launched a TikTok promotion campaign, as well as established a partnership with action camera company GoPro.

A city-to-city agreement was also signed with Berlin in Germany, during which each city aims to promote the other at airports, billboards and bus stops, among other promotions.

Mr Hendricks said CTT had also increased their outreach in schools to educate pupils about opportunities in the tourism sector.

And while Cape Town Tourism is still on the road to recovery, he said, people should also acknowledge the issues in the city, including the growing levels of poverty, crime, hunger, homelessness and lack of education. “We have to do more to help our communities – all of us. It is all of our responsibility.

“My challenge to you is to make a difference and help those who need your help.”

Some of the goals that Cape Town Tourism will focus on in the next 12 months:

  • Safety, which is a big priority. Cape Town Tourism will continue its Travelwise information campaign and the Band-Aid programme which helps visitors who may be in distress during their stay in Cape Town. Mr Duminy encouraged locals to join safety forums and attend meetings in their respective areas.
  • The Freedom to Wish campaign, which ran during Tourism Month in September, aimed at giving back to the locals that make the Mother City a dream destination. Whether it’s a cable car ride, a diving lesson, or paragliding over the mountains, the campaign invited anyone living in Cape Town to nominate themselves or a loved one to highlight the one thing they would love to experience in their city. They had already received thousands of nominations.
  • Building global partnerships, which forms part of a mission to attract more travel and trade to Cape Town.
  • Streamlining its membership sign-up process with shorter, simpler, and quicker sign-ups online. The organisation is also introducing a communications calendar so members can anticipate industry news and information and plan accordingly. Members will also benefit from a newly launched portal on the capetown.travel website with individual member logins, designed to make it easier and faster for them to access and manage their information and benefits in one place.
Mayoral committee member for economic growth and tourism, James Vos, signs the Board Development Fund cheque, awarded to Baz-Art. With him are, from left, Philippa Taylor, office manager at Baz-Art, outgoing Cape Town Tourism chair Brett Hendricks and host Joanne Strauss.

At the AGM, the Cape Town Tourism Board Development Fund (BDF) announced that Baz-Art and IC Africa Travel & Tours are the 2022 recipients of the annual BDF Award. Each organisation received a R50 000 prize.

Mayco member for economic growth and tourism, James Vos, with the Board Development Fund recipient, IC Africa Travel & Tours Director Ingrid Carelse and outgoing Cape Town Tourism chairperson Brett Hendricks.

“We’ve always strived to create opportunities to nurture entrepreneurship and innovation in the local SMME space, whether through cash awards, mentorships, or other business-boosting actions that develop their tourism businesses. Our BDF programme supports the sustainability of these initiatives and creates a marketing and media platform that improves their business profile,” says Mr Hendricks.

Donovan Everett, the COO of Cape Racing, added that they were proud to host Cape Town Tourism at the Kenilworth Racecourse, where renovations to the tune of R250 million are still ongoing. “We are excited to reposition the Dame of Kenilworth into something of the 21st century. We all understand what value these add to the economy and we need to put our best foot forward where tourism is concerned.”

He added that the racecourse will be opening its doors to community events as well.

The night ended off with entertainment by stand-up comedian Dalin Oliver and a networking event for guests and members, as well as the announcement of newly elected chairperson of the board, Wahida Parker, who is the managing director of the Table Mountain Aerial Cableway Company.