Cape Town - The Mother City has seen a healthy start to its tourism season, with the hospitality and entertainment sector reporting a busy time over the December holidays. “Cape Town is enjoying a good start to the summer holiday season. There has been slow but steady growth in tourism over the past few summers and this is very encouraging,” said Cape Town Tourism CEO, Enver Duminy. Duminy also noted that there is now a strong appetite for discounts on last minute bookings and packages. “Online daily group buying and discounting models have created a bargain-hunter mentality but smaller accommodation establishments simply can’t adapt their offering to attract last minute shoppers at whim without upsetting their business model and bottom line. Cape Town must position itself on its excellent value - but we can’t afford to give it away,” he explained. He added that a recent Cape Town Tourism survey of its membership conducted by Horwath HTL showed that average actual room occupancy for October 2013 was recorded as 59.9%, up 3.3% from “A report reflecting the actual occupancy level experienced in December will become available in mid-January 2014,” he said. The tourism body saw a slight increase in visitors to their Information Centres during November and in the first weeks of December. Their online and social platforms, however, continue to grow, with Cape Town Tourism’s Facebook fan page now reaching 300 000 fans. From an accommodation and restaurant point of view, feedback received from the Federated Hospitality Association of South Africa (FEDHASA) Cape, the official voice and representative of the hospitality industry in the Western and Northern Cape, Cape Town members indicate that ‘Location! Location! Location!’ is still the primary consideration of tourists when selecting accommodation. The majority of members anticipated a busy festive season with improved occupancies. Generally, members were fully booked until after Christmas and New Year. Traditionally, Cape Town hosts more international tourists between October and March. However, there seems to have been an incline in domestic tourism over the festive season. This is supported by a general consensus among FEDHASA Cape members that their bookings this festive season are dominated by visitors from Gauteng, Western Cape and KwaZulu-Natal. Collette Van Aswegen, Marketing Manager, Table Mountain Aerial Cableway said that they did well over December “Although our operations are weather-dependant and some days we are forced to close due to strong winds and cloud cover, the Cableway is averaging around 3 000 – 4 000 visitors on a good day.”Cape Town International Airport spokesperson, Deborah Francis said that the death of Madiba had impacted on the mood of the passengers moving through the airport during the early weeks of December but that the holiday mood returned as Christmas and New Year approached.“We have big days ahead and we are certain that there will be a significant amount of movement between now and the end of January 2014”, said Francis.While most local tourists will be returning home, if they have not yet, Cape Town will continue to see an influx of international visitors between late January and March.