Cape Town tourism bounces back for World Cup

2010-01-26 13:11

South Africa’s top holiday destination, Cape Town, weathered a

post-recession summer with fewer tourists, but is gearing up to bounce back at

the World Cup.

The global economic crisis saw international arrivals to the city

drop by up to 12% last year, while domestic arrivals fell by 8% as South Africa

braced its first post-apartheid recession.

But industry experts say the country fared better than most, with

the World Tourism Organisation (WTO) listing Africa as the only continent to

buck negative trends last year with a robust 5% growth.

“The world recession really hit us very late,” said Calvyn

Gilfellan, chief executive of the regional tourism body Cape Town Routes

Unlimited.

“We are fortunate that our industry hasn’t been as negatively

affected, but there’s nothing to be complacent about. We still need to work hard

to ensure that we are on a road to recovery.”

Tourism is part of the top five industries in the Western Cape

which boasts some of South Africa’s premier attractions: Cape Town, the Cape

winelands, the popular Garden Route and the whale-watching hub of

Hermanus.

Foreign spending in the region topped R20 billion for the first

time last year, even though a stronger rand has made South Africa more expensive

for foreigners.

Domestic tourists brought in a further R4.5 billion.

“Anything that is happening in the industry is of huge concern for

the authorities,” said Gilfellan. “It is indeed for us the goose that lays the

golden egg.”

But even the Cape Town summer – when long sunny days draw crowds to

the city’s beaches, mountains and cafes – did not go unscathed.

With summer winding down, foreign arrivals are down 6% and locals

3% during the peak season that runs December 12 to January 13.

Part of the visitor drop could be because holidaymakers plan to

visit later during 2010, said Kamilla Swart of the Centre for Tourism Research

in Africa.

“It appears as if some visitors have changed their holiday plans to

visit in June/July 2010 instead,” she said.

Nick Seewer of the Orient-Express group which owns Cape Town’s

luxury Mount Nelson Hotel said: “What we will have is another ‘high’ season, as

June and July are generally quieter tourism months in Cape Town.”

Predictions for the World Cup are “excellent”.

The group, which draws between 70% and 80% of business from outside

South Africa, reported a healthy summer after knocks during the year. This is

despite an overall dip of at least 10% among top-end bookings in the

province.

“We hope that with a successful World Cup and revitalised world

economies ... both corporate and leisure travel to South and southern Africa

will greatly improve,” Seewer said.


Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/Sport

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.