Positive growth for Cape Town’s tourism sector in 2012/2013 peak season

6 May 2013

Key ideas
• Positive peak-season growth in tourism experienced in Cape Town year-on-year
• Increases in room occupancy rates
• Winter packages continue to drive visitor numbers in winter

Cape Town Tourism is pleased to report positive tourism growth to the city for the 2012/2013 peak tourism season.

As announced recently by President Jacob Zuma, South Africa’s Annual Tourism Statistics 2012 showed encouraging growth for tourism countrywide. A total of 9 188 368 international tourists visited South Africa in 2012, 10.2% more than the 8 339 354 tourists in 2011.

Cape Town enjoyed positive peak-season growth in tourism this season. Photo by Bruce Sutherland

Looking at the more recent summer season in Cape Town, it would appear that the upward trend shows no sign of abating. Research concluded by Cape Town Tourism and Horwath HTL found that positive growth occurred across most sectors of Cape Town’s tourism landscape from December 2012-March 2013, with an annual increase of between 6 and 8 percent year-on-year.

It was also reported by Amadeus Air Traffic Travel Intelligence Solution last week that the Cape Town-Johannesburg flight route is one of the 10 busiest routes in the world.

Accommodation

The survey by Horwath HTL reveals that room night demand for December 2012-March 2013 was stronger than room night demand for the same period a year ago.

For December 2012-February 2013 there was an aggregate increase in the number of room nights sold of approximately 6.9 percent. For March 2013, there was an aggregate occupancy rate of approximately 78 percent, compared with 72 percent in March 2012.

Survey feedback has found that all accommodation types, with the exception of self-catering, registered positive growth in room night demand. B&Bs registered the highest growth rate, followed by hotels. With regard to geographic location, all locations except the Helderberg region registered positive growth in room night demand. The Northern Suburbs, City Centre and Southern Peninsula registered the biggest increases in room night demand, in that order.

From December 2012-February 2013 approximately 51.4 percent of all room nights were sold to international guests, followed by 42.2 percent by domestic guests and 6.4 percent for regional guests.
By March 2013, domestic tourism accounted for 47 percent of room nights, with regional source markets accounting for a further 7 percent of room nights sold during the month. Only 46 percent of room nights for March 2013 were sold to the international market.

With the Easter weekend traditionally marking the conclusion of the tourism peak season, the accommodation sector anticipates a decrease in room night demand in the following months.

Attractions

In March 2013, the V&A Waterfront saw 2 169 748 feet through their doors – an increase of 11.9 percent on the same period last year. The Table Mountain Aerial Cableway saw 82 805 visitors, a 6 percent increase on March last year. The Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden saw 71 033 visitors, which is an increase of 13.7 percent on March 2012. The Cape Point Nature Reserve saw 91 096 visitors in March 2013, which is an increase of 23.9 percent on the same period last year, and Robben Island saw 32 112 visitors in March 2013 – a drop of 8.6 percent on March 2012.

Airport

There has been a general decrease in total airport arrivals figures from December 2012-March 2013, ranging from 3-6 percent. This suggests visitors are making use of alternative transport and hiring cars to get to Cape Town.

Comment

Mariëtte du Toit-Helmbold, CEO of Cape Town Tourism says: “The recent summer season was palpably improved, and it appears that this is indicative of some recovery in the economy and a restlessness to travel again. Other factors that contributed to our great season was the excellent weather and the fact that Cape Town was positively marketed through travel programmes in our international source markets at a key time for travel decision-making. Cape Town Tourism will be marketing the low season in partnership with Thompsons Holidays to offer ‘Love Cape Town City Breaks’ – a series of value-added packages and specials that will run from 1 May to the end of September 2013.”

Du Toit-Helmbold believes it is also necessary to use the quieter months to refocus on the growth of emerging markets: “The demands and expectations of emerging market travellers are very different from those of the source markets that we have created our industry around. It’s time to take a critical look at how we are developing to meet the next wave of tourism.”

Cllr Grant Pascoe, Mayoral Committee Member for Tourism, Events and Marketing, concludes: “The improved tourism figures are encouraging, and call for further focused action to maintain this trend by offering excellent value-for-money packages year round. We must continue to be competitive, while sharpening and adapting our service-orientated approach to attract new markets. We are looking for tourism opportunities that will grow the City’s natural fortés and are inclusive while sustaining the current core of the tourism economy. Our spotlight on winter as an events magnet is already translating into some excellent packages to drive conversion.”

 

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