Talking Tourism - Cape Town’s summer tourism season bounces back

Dear Tourism Friends and Colleagues

With watchful optimism I can report that not only are the latest statistics suggesting that our tourism industry has experienced a positive boost these past months, when compared over the same period last year, but it is noticeable on the streets and in the shopping malls – Cape Town is filled with overseas voices and awed expressions. It makes me proud to be Capetonian. 

In December 2011, Cape Town Tourism revealed that our members showed improved optimism, and recovering early results in the 2011/2012 summer tourism season supported this renewed hopefulness. This is the encouraging news:

  • For the 2011 calendar year, overall passenger numbers at Cape Town International Airport grew by 4%, with just under 8.5 million passengers processed in 2011. (Courtesy ACSA)
  • During December, total passenger movement showed an increase of 7% compared to the same period last year. Total passenger numbers for January 2012 marked a healthy 8% growth compared with January last year.
  • Our feedback from 106 Cape Town Tourism accommodation establishments found that, in December 2011, 60% of respondents reported occupancy levels of over 60%. In a slight levelling out, 54% of industry members had occupancy levels of over 60% for January 2012.
  • In the tour operator sector, 52% of respondents reported an increase in bookings during December 2011, while 58% of respondents saw an increase during January. The main attractions booked during this period were Cape Point, the Cape Winelands, Table Mountain and the V&A Waterfront.
  • The top tourism attractions also reported excellent trade with 78% of respondents noting an upswing in December 2011 and January 2012. Significantly, 63% reported an increase in revenue to match the increase in bookings. Similarly, restaurants in Cape Town reported an increase in bookings between December 2011 and January 2012.

In all of the cases above, travellers were reported to be a mix of both domestic and international tourists. Nationally, we have found that Cape Town receives most of its domestic visitors from Gauteng, Kwa-Zulu Natal and the Western Cape respectively, while international visitors predominantly hail from Germany, the UK, the Netherlands and the United States.

Throughout our survey responses we found that sectors responded very positively when asked how they expected their establishment to perform in the coming summer months when comparing occupancy levels with the same period last year, which is promising.

It certainly feels as if the awareness generated for Cape Town by Capetonians during the 2010 FIFA World Cup, enhanced by the latest accolades such as World Design Capital 2014, Table Mountain’s New7Wonders status and TripAdvisor’s Top Destination Award for 2011, is translating into tangible results.

We can only sustain this through extraordinary delivery on the promised allure and this means consistent value for money and a passion for service.

The biggest challenge for the sustained growth of Cape Town’s tourism industry remains seasonality. To address this repetitive trial for our local industry, we are positioning our efforts and focus into the creation of a winter events calendar – and a year-round events approach to drive our industry’s attention and collective energy to ensure that we are not “left in the cold” as Winter approaches.

For the full Summer Season Report visit: Cape Town’s summer tourism season gets back into action


Enver Duminy
Cape Town Tourism Acting CEO

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