Cape Town Tourism - Table Mountain

Tourism industry surveys reveal cautious optimism for summer 2010/2011

Cape Town Tourism has launched a series of tourism surveys to better understand and prepare for the summer season ahead. A similar programme to monitor trends during the 2010 FIFA World Cup™ period proved a useful barometer for the local tourism industry.

The results of these surveys, repeated at key intervals throughout the peak season period, along with information from Cape Town Tourism’s sixteen Visitor Information Centres (VICs) and industry stakeholders, will be used to identify tourism trends post-World Cup, together with the reaction of key and emerging source markets.

Early survey results indicate cautious optimism for the upcoming summer season, with the majority of respondents in all sectors feeling happy with the exposure that Cape Town and South Africa received during the FIFA World Cup™.

The strengthening rand, ongoing recession, and concerns that many international travellers have exhausted their leave and disposable funds on their holidays to South Africa during the FIFA World Cup™ have fuelled fears of a below average summer season in 2010. Others, however, have reported feeling more positive, expecting that domestic midyear travellers who postponed their holidays during the June/July period will visit Cape Town this summer.

Here are some of Cape Town Tourism’s preliminary findings from these surveys:

Accommodation findings

  • Some 70.9% of respondents to Cape Town Tourism’s November survey of member accommodation establishments are expecting an average or above average summer season (in relation to 2009 figures) and 75.3% of those expect guests to be returning visitors.
  • Around 31.4% of respondents report that they have already noticed an increase in bookings on the same period for 2009.
  • A third (33%) of respondents report a forecasted occupancy level of above 50%.
  • The average size of booking parties is for couples and small groups of between three and seven people, generally for about two to seven nights.
  • More than 38.4% of respondents say that most of their bookings are from international source markets, namely the United Kingdom, Germany and the Netherlands, while the largest quantities of local travellers to Cape Town are from Gauteng, the Western Cape and KwaZulu-Natal respectively.
  • Around 85.9% of accommodation establishments polled report that bookings were made online, either directly or through booking aggregators.

Tour operator findings

  • Some 65.4% of responding member tour operators expect a good summer season, and 33.3% report an increase in bookings on the same period last year.
  • Around 62.9% report bookings made in advance, but the majority of respondents are still expecting last-minute bookings to come in.
  • More than 69.2% report bookings from the international market, predominantly made by travellers from the UK, USA, Germany and the Netherlands, while 63.6% report bookings by locals from within the Western Cape, and 45.5% report bookings from Gauteng.
  • The average size of booking parties is two to seven people. Some 69.2% of respondents have tour bookings for the city and the Cape Winelands, while 46.2% report bookings for Cape Town and the Garden Route.
  • Just under a two-thirds (63%) of respondents received bookings online and 29.6% through travel agents.

Restaurant and attraction findings

  • The majority of restaurant respondents expect an average or above average summer season. Due to the high number of walk-ins forecast for both restaurants and attractions, figures cannot be analysed as yet, but a clearer picture will emerge during further rounds of surveys, when actual figures will be available for tracking.
  • Cape Town’s attractions expect a good summer season. Sustained marketing throughout the year has ensured that many of the attractions now have a loyal local following to boost their seasonal peaks and troughs.
  • All restaurant respondents indicate that feedback from foreign travellers about Cape Town is always positive, with many tourists expressing a desire to return.

CEO of Cape Town Tourism Mariëtte du Toit-Helmbold says, “We are pleased with the feedback from our responding members regarding the upcoming summer season. Many expect last-minute bookings, as this has become a recurring trend, and many expect to see returning visitors.”

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