Creating sustainable growth in Cape Town's tourism industry

A Joint Association Members Meeting Session (JAMMS) was held at the Vineyard Hotel & Spa in Newlands on Wednesday July 20, addressing the need to create sustainable growth in the Western Cape’s tourism industry.

Cape Town Tourism CEO Mariëtte Du Toit-Helmbold explained that the city’s tourism industry was in a “brand vacuum” following last year’s FIFA World Cup™ and that because the economic recession was still affecting long-haul travel, it had become vital to explore new marketing methods and establish a new brand for Cape Town. She explained that Cape Town had become over-reliant on leisure tourism and beauty and now needed to look “beyond beauty”.

She reminded those present that Cape Town was still a “challenger brand” and that despite all the awards and accolades the city had recently collected, a lot still needed to be done to push industry growth beyond the three percent it was currently reflecting. Du Toit-Helmbold pointed out that top established city brands all had signature branding, such as romance in Paris, energy in New York and tradition in London. She added that following discussions with various local tourism marketing minds, it had been decided that “inspiration” was the most suitable brand for Cape Town.

Du Toit-Helmbold explained that business tourism was an area with much room for expansion, as it currently accounted for just three percent of the visitors to Cape Town. In comparison, 31% of visitors to Melbourne and 29% of visitors to Rio de Janeiro were business travellers.

Domestic travel was another area where Cape Town could improve.

Advice from the Tourism Enterprise Partnership

Jonathan Jacobs of the Tourism Enterprise Partnership gave the following advice to members of the local tourism industry:

  • Create a strategy
  • Turn to existing clients
  • Get free publicity wherever possible
  • Step up customer service
  • Create controversy
  • Collaborate with other organisations
  • Use social media for free brand development

Why we need to vote for Table Mountain

Table Mountain has been shortlisted as one of the New7Wonders of Nature and needs all the support it can get before public voting closes on November 11. Anyone can play their part by voting online or sending an SMS with the word “Table” to 34874.

Table Mountain Aerial Cableway CEO Sabine Lehmann explained that if Table Mountain were to become one of the New7Wonders of Nature, it would become part of international education curriculum and would enhance the awareness of Cape Town as a result. A study conducted by auditing firm, Grant Thornton, predicted that New7Wonder status could result in an economic boost of R1.4-billion for Cape Town, as well as the creation of 11000 jobs.

Read more about this on the Table Mountain Aerial Cableway website.

Contact the Cape Town Chamber of Commerce

Cape Town Chamber of Commerce executive director, Viola Manuel, invited members of the Western Cape tourism industry to contact her for more information about ways their businesses could join the Chamber of Commerce’s network. She can be contacted via email: or via telephone: +27 (0)21 402 4300.

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