Tourism Month kicks off with plans to revitalise the industry

The CEO of Cape Town Tourism, Enver Duminy with the City’s mayoral committee member of economic opportunities and asset management, James Vos

The City of Cape Town and its tourism authority, Cape Town Tourism (CTT) has announced a plan to revitalise tourism in the city.

The plan was announced at the City Hall’s revamped Cape Town Tourism visitor information centre on Wednesday, September 1, which also marked the start of Tourism Month.

The centre has interactive screens and boasts virtual reality goggles so visitors can get a taste of a tourist attraction before they experience it in person.

CTT CEO Enver Duminy said the theme for Tourism Month this year was Tourism for Exclusive Growth.

“We are asking everyone to look beyond the stats and see the business and community that relies on tourism in Cape Town, and the only way to get through this is with the locals.

“We encourage people to visit and to experience tourism attractions.”

Mr Duminy said on reflection of the past 18 months, the organisation had identified three high-level needs of businesses in the industry: marketing, increasing international demand, and financial support.

He said at CTT, they addressed the financial support for small business and as a result, they are offering free membership until the end of the year. “This comes with access to our research, network and exposure opportunities.“

The said this month will also include activations at various tourism and hospitality service providers in Langa, Mitchell’s Plain, Kirstenbosch, Khayelitsha, Woodstock and Salt River, among other spaces, as well as visits to schools to encourage Cape Town’s future entrepreneurs to understand the value of tourism and socially investing in their home city.

“We have so much to offer, and we encourage the locals and visitors to go to these spaces.”

Mayoral committee for economic opportunities and asset management, James Vos, said tourism was everyone’s business, and it was through tourism that people shared cultures and belief, cuisine and experiences with the rest of the world.

He said the tourism sector contributed nearly 3% – or R130 billion – to GDP in 2018 and 4.5% of those employed in South Africa worked in the tourism industry while 113 000 tourism jobs were held in Cape Town in that year.

“Now consider that the volumes of tourists countrywide decreased by 72.6% from 10.2 million in 2019 to 2.8 million in 2020.”

Mr Vos said while there’s still much work to do, the industry has helped many navigate the stormy weather.

Through CTT, he said, the City was to maintain vital awareness of Cape Town, stay connected with travellers and empower local industry businesses with access to information, networking opportunities and exposure.

He said the Tourism Bounce Back Strategy and the Six-Pillar Destination Marketing and Communication Initiative was already active for the past year and a half, which helped position Cape Town as a premier destination.

He said the work the City was doing under this banner included:

  • Attracting more airlines back to Cape Town International Airport. In recent weeks, Emirates, Singapore Airlines, Lufthansa, and Turkish Airlines came back while British Airways is set to fly to and from Cape Town from November. Mr Vos also mentioned that for the sixth year in a row, Cape town International Airport has been voted the best in Africa at the World Airport Awards.
  • Calling for the national government to roll out a remote working visa to allow international working tourists to stay and spend in South Africa.
  • Appealing to the UK government to remove South Africa from its so-called red list and for other nations to also review their travel restrictions. “The red list deters UK travellers from coming to South Africa even though our vaccination campaign is well under way.”
  • The launch of Cruise Cape Town, a partnership with Wesgro, Transnet National Ports Authority, the Western Province Department of Economic Development and Tourism, the V&A Waterfront, and the South African Maritime Safety. With cruise ships due to set sail in November, its time to boost Cape Town’s destination profile, Mr Vos said.
  • Campaigning for the reduction of aviation taxes as a way of lowering the cost of air travel so that more South Africans can travel at an affordable rate.
  • The launch of a local campaign by CTT called Explore Captivating Cape Town, which also highlights pocket-friendly tourism.
  • Amplifying community tourism to show the diversity, cuisine and cultures of Cape Town. “In one day in Cape Town, you can go for drum lessons in Langa, eat a Gatsby in Athlone, work it off with surfing in Muizenberg, walk the artistic streets in Salt River and Bo-Kaap, and then end off the day with fish and chips in Kalk Bay – that is the ultimate experience.”

CTT will be providing businesses with a Neighbourhood Experience Development training manual to help guide small businesses through developing their operations and to encourage neighbourhood readiness for when travellers return. The manual was drafted together with experts at Cape Peninsula University of Technology.

The City has collaborated with CTT on a travel safety app called Namola. Mr Vos said further tech solutions are being explored, such smart apps and enhanced search engine optimisation that would highlight Cape Town when would-be travellers are looking online for information about activities or adventures around the world.

CTT has also launched the Find Your Freedom campaign where potential travellers will be able to choose their own Cape Town adventure in an interactive video. The body is also engaging with international partners to put branding in airports and train stations to make sure potential travellers become actual travellers.

The Western Cape MEC for finance and economic opportunities, David Maynier, said Tourism Month marks the start of what will hopefully be a period of welcome relief for the tourism and hospitality sector, however the success of the summer season remains dependent on the opening of the economy in the Western Cape.

He said with the decrease in Covid-19 infections and an exit from our third wave peak, together with the continued vaccination rollout, it is critical that national government considers easing lockdown restrictions, which are impacting on businesses in the Western Cape.

He said this month he would be travelling across the province to launch several new tourism products and showcase many existing tourism offerings to remind travellers that the Western Cape is a world in one province, offering a range of affordable, accessible experiences