Cape Town Tourism CEO responds to Whale Cottage blog

I refer to your blog post of Tuesday, January 11, titled “Cape festive season disappoints, February looks promising”. The relevancy of where I spent Christmas aside, it is advisable to contact Cape Town Tourism to verify your statements for accuracy before publishing your blogs, as suggested before. I would like to clarify a few things.

A total of four member surveys will be conducted as part of our summer survey series; two of which have been completed with a further two to take place in February and March respectively. The results of the second survey, in addition to an industry phone-around and a survey of more than 200 visitors at our Visitor Information Centres, is what was used to correlate the results we released to the media on December 22, 2010.

As a member of Cape Town Tourism, you would have received our first two surveys in specifically the accommodation category. 

Cape Town’s tourism and hospitality bodies (Cape Town Tourism, Cape Town Routes Unlimited and the Federated Hospitality Association of Southern Africa) have had a unified forecast of Cape Town’s occupancy and visitor levels for the 2010/ 2011 summer season. I quote from the official statement released on December 22, 2010: “Cautious optimism remains the order of the day as Cape Town starts to experience the beginnings of its traditional summer tourism season with an influx of domestic tourists. While it’s not expected to be a bumper season, the early findings of a Cape Town Tourism industry survey conducted across the accommodation, tour, restaurant and attraction sectors in November 2010 and then again in mid-December 2010, confirm that more and more visitors are arriving for the holidays, albeit in many cases at the last minute.”

Cape Town Tourism’s industry surveys are a great indicator of trends and traffic within Cape Town’s tourism industry if viewed as a poll rather than an audited survey. It is a good indication that our World Cup survey findings were later mirrored by official, academic surveys. 

Please also note that these results are early findings and with the trend of late bookings having emerged, it is not possible to forecast accurate occupancy levels. We always respond to any media request about tourism levels with a reminder that audited numbers only become available four to six months later. Our surveys were devised as a response to the media and the public’s need for more immediate insight. We do not claim that they are the benchmark – only that they are healthy and reliable indicators. 

If you refer to our release of December 22, 2010, you will see that we are in agreement that the international tourism season runs from January to March/April. We do not deny that there is a dip after new year. As per our report, we state that international arrivals peak between mid-January and the end of March.

Furthermore, we have not said that Cape Town does not receive international visitors during the December period, but rather that the majority of visitors during this time are domestic travellers. We also pointed out in our report to media that “There may be a substantial number of visitors in town who are staying with relatives and we are not picking up these visitor numbers.” Although you argue that domestic visitors only arrive from December 26, it is our experience that domestic visitor patterns coincide with the school holidays, markedly increasing around the public holiday of December 16, and we believe that overall visitor statistics (to be released later in 2011) will confirm this. 

Here is a link to the the entire report back on our second summer survey submitted to the industry, as well as to media, during the week of December 22, 2010.

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