Tourism industry has ‘weathered the storms’

Outgoing chairperson of the CTT board Julie-May Ellingson.

Cape Town Tourism (CTT) identified the challenges faced by the tourism industry and celebrated the highlights of the past year at the organisation’s annual general meeting, held at the Cape Town International Convention Centre last week.

Julie-May Ellingson, outgoing chairperson of the CTT board, said that despite challenging headwinds like South Africa’s continued sluggish economy along with the increased number of reported incidents, involving tourists, the travel and tourism sector had managed to weather these storms and should look ahead with optimism. The theme looked directly to this, with the thinking that we can create a better tomorrow for our city through collaborative action today, she said.

She also pointed to two key initiatives as generating a positive response from visitors, communities, government and the tourism sector alike.

Running for a second year, CTT’s TravelWise Safety Ambassador Program has done much to reduce possible safety risks posed to visitors while ensuring they enjoy every part of Cape Town.

Cape Town Tourism’s initiative to market the city to the global Muslim travel market had seen the organisation working closely with CrescentRating, the world’s leading authority on halaal travel, to accredit and train the industry first-hand was another of these initiatives.

In terms of key industry indicators over the financial period of July 1, 2018 to June, 30 2019, Cape Town International Airport (CTIA) welcomed 5.4 million passengers which is the third consecutive year that arrivals have exceeded 5 million passengers.

This was achieved despite challenges like the depressed economy, safety and security issues, visa requirements and the drought.

Most international arrivals to Cape Town were from the United Kingdom, Germany and the USA. The international source markets that saw the greatest year-on-year (YOY) growth include India, China and Spain.

Indicators from the accommodation sector, however, did reflect the challenges the industry has faced. With the exception of November 2018, monthly occupancy rates recorded a decline for all months during the period. Despite the overall decline, room rates have consistently increased over the period of March to June 2019.

When looking at indicators from tourist attractions, Chapman’s Peak Drive and Robben Island were the only attractions that reported year-on-year growth. December was the peak month for attractions, but performance decreased by 5% year-on-year.

In addition to the overall destination challenges, attractions reported that weather and the changes to the school holidays affected their performance with the decline in the domestic market being largely as a result of the constrained local economy.

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