Cape Town Tourism welcomes tourism growth figures

Cape Town Tourism CEO Mariëtte du Toit-Helmbold says the latest international tourism statistics show that international tourism is steadily gaining momentum, following an extremely challenging 2009.

Du Toit-Helmbold says information just released by the World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) World Tourism Barometer shows international arrivals grew by 7% in the first two months of this year.

The highly respected barometer found that growth was particularly strong in Asia, Africa and the Middle East. The UNWTO now forecasts international tourist arrivals to grow by 3% to 4% in 2010.

“These results are very encouraging and bode well for Cape Town Tourism in the year ahead,” says Du Toit-Helmbold. “They show that there is, indeed, light at the end of the tunnel, as far as the global recession is concerned, and we can now expect a better year for tourism in Cape Town.”

According to the April interim update of the UNWTO World Tourism Barometer, international tourist arrivals are estimated to have increased by 7% in the first two months of 2010. This follows the upturn already registered in the last quarter of 2009, when arrivals grew by 2% after 14 consecutive months of negative results.

Though data for March is limited, countries that have already reported data confirm that the positive trend is likely to continue.

Growth was positive in all world regions during the first two months of 2010. It was led by Asia and the Pacific (+10%) and Africa (+7%). Information for the three countries of the Middle East that have reported results so far also point to a strong rebound in the region compared to the very subdued first months of 2009. The pace of growth was slower in Europe (+3%) and the Americas (+3%), the two regions hardest hit by the global crisis and where economic recovery is proving to be comparatively weaker.

Du Toit-Helmbold says the fact that Cape Town is playing such a significant part in South Africa’s hosting of the 2010 FIFA World Cup™ should boost figures going forward.

“Although the tourism industry will remain under significant pressure for some time to come, the figures from UNWTO are very heartening indeed,” she says. “We can expect a gradual improvement towards 2011 – and couple this to the fact that the World Cup is just around the corner and South Africa will be showcased to an international audience, [and] there is plenty of room for optimism.”

However, the clear improvement on the negative results of 2009 must be considered with caution, as it compares with a particularly weak period of 2009 – the worst months of the global economic crisis. Though international tourist arrivals totalled 119-million during the first two months of 2010 – up 7% on 2009 – this was still 2% below the value of the record year of 2008.

While the positive trend registered in the first months of 2010 reflects improved economic conditions, UNWTO warns that many challenges remain.

“Although economic results have improved significantly in recent months with a positive impact on tourism demand we must remain cautious as many factors can still jeopardise the pace of recovery,” UNWTO Secretary General Taleb Rifai said at the opening of a UNWTO seminar on “Tourism Governance in Times of Crisis” in Bulgaria on April 29. “The economic recovery is being driven mainly by emerging economies while growth is still sluggish in most advanced ones. At the same time, increasing unemployment levels in major tourism source markets is a cause of concern.”

UNWTO Contact information:

Media Officer: Marcelo Risi

T: +34 91-567-8160 / +34 91-567-8100 / F: +34 91-567-8218




For further information about Cape Town Tourism, please contact Cape Town Tourism’s PR and Communication Manager Skye Grove,, +27 21 487 6800 or see

Released for Cape Town Tourism by

Rabbit in a Hat Communications

Tammy White

+27 21 447 3197

+27 73 202 5041

blog comments powered by Disqus