A better summer season anticipated for tourism
Optimism for the Season Ahead
CEO of Cape Town Tourism, Enver Duminy says; “We are optimistic about the tourism outlook for this summer season with positive growth in forward bookings being felt by many of our members. We are hoping that the strong exchange rate, in favour of traditional source markets, and Cape Town’s recent spate of international accolades will be additional contributors to a good season for tourism. Of course, global economic and political instability, and a continued need to tighten the belt, may still put a damper on our peak season so we must remain cautious in our optimism.”
Spring has sprung in Cape Town (September-November 2013)
The most recent Accommodation Performance and Forecast Report by Horwath HTL on behalf of Cape Town Tourism polled participating accommodation members on their business’ performance in September 2013 and their forecasts for October and November.
Showing growth, the aggregate occupancy rate in September 2013 was 59 percent, compared with an aggregate occupancy rate of 57 percent in September last year, occupancy was up 2%, the average room rate climbed by almost 3% and Revenue per Available Room (RevPAR) had increased by 6%.
Sixty percent of all room nights sold in September were sold to domestic guests with a further 6% sold to regional visitors from the continent and the remaining 34% to international guests.
October’s room night demand was anticipated to amount to approximately 64%, and the outlook for November was encouraging at 72%.
Looking Ahead (December 2013 to February 2014)
In a phone-around survey, Cape Town Tourism asked participating member establishments specifically about their forecasted occupancy for the peak period compared with the same time last year. The selection of possible answers were; ‘much better, better, same, worse or much worse’.
The sample included tourism attractions, tour operators, car-hire companies and accommodation establishments including hotels, guest houses, B&B’s, back-packers and self-catering establishments. Overall 14% expected a much better season, 54% felt a better season ahead, 24% felt it would be the same, whilst 4% thought it might be worse and 4% were still unsure.
Hotels were the most optimistic with all hotels saying that they expected a better season ahead.
When asked about whether there were increased accommodation bookings from emerging markets like Brazil, India, China and Russia (BRIC), 36% had seen an increase and some mentioned China in particular.
Key tourism attractions and tour operator members of Cape Town Tourism also reported moderate growth rates for September 2013 and forecast a better season for Summer (December 2013 – February 2014) compared with the same period last year.
Whilst certain attractions and the accommodation sector are reporting year-on-year increases, a decline in passenger arrivals through Cape Town International Airport has been reported this year, with the exception of September 2013.
In October 2013, the customary increase in seasonal flights was sparked by airlines such as Virgin Atlantic, Air France, Condor, Lufthansa, Edelweiss Airlines and British Airways resuming their direct flights. Airlift remains a critical challenge in bringing more visitors directly to Cape Town. General Manager of Cape Town International Airport, Deon Cloete, says; “The peak season ahead appears to be promising with seasonal airlines coming back on line and in many cases extending their route to Cape Town. We are looking forward to an increase in passenger numbers. Together with our partners, let’s continue to present a world class destination to all of our visitors in ensuring continuous growth and sustainability.
Global Growth Trends
The United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) forecasted a flattening growth rate of 3 - 4% in international arrivals for 2013, when encouragingly international tourist arrivals grew by 5% from January to August 2013, compared to the same period in 2012. UNWTO also reported that growth continued to be stronger in emerging markets in 2013 with most BRIC countries reporting double-digit growth. Africa reported 5% growth in international tourist arrivals for the January – August period and South Africa reported 3% growth in international arrivals for this period, bearing in mind that the summer season is still ahead.
According to a recent Grant Thornton and City of Cape Town ‘Economic Value of Tourism’ report, the average annual growth in Cape Town of the economic value of tourism between 2009 and 2012 has been 5.6% per annum. Cape Town Tourism will release the results of its next Horwath, HTL survey at the end of November 2013.