Cape Town - Ways to combat the challenge of seasonality in Cape Town's tourism industry were discussed at a recent Joint Association Members Meeting (Jamms) hosted by the Federated Hospitality Association of Southern Africa (Fedhasa) Cape region.
Fedhasa has been working in collaboration with Cape Town Tourism, Wesgro and industry role players, in an effort to find a solution to combat seasonality. Aware of the negative impact that seasonality has on the tourism industry and on economic growth in Cape Town and the Western Cape, industry role players discussed what has been done to combat seasonality in the city and the Western Cape, as well as the next steps needed in terms of moving forward.
“We must keep chipping away at the international markets, but we must also be realistic – bearing in mind that we’re competing against destinations like Barcelona and London. For us it’s winter but, it’s summer in Europe," explained Rob Kucera, chair of Fedhasa Cape.
In his view, more direct flights and packages that appeal to markets such as the UAE are needed. Kucera also said it is essential that the industry strives towards togetherness.
Kucera said that it is up to each pillar within the hospitality industry to generate new business.
“I encourage both members and industry players alike, to collaborate and work together in generating new business and events for the province and region during the winter period. Our summer months fill up by themselves but, greater effort needs to be made to encourage new business such as events, conferences and incentive programmes to be moved into our winter months,” he said.
During a panel discussion certain key focus areas were highlighted. These include the need for a greater focus on the UAE market, offering safe and accessible public transport and addressing aviation taxes.
The panel also found the need for creating an environment for new markets during the winter season. This market must be understood in terms of offering suitable packages and more direct flights, for instance.
Exploring the opportunities offered by niche markets like food and wine tourism and sporting events was mentioned as another focus area. The idea of a shopping festival in alignment with the already successful Mercedes Benz Fashion Week was discussed. The task team is also working on the idea of a golf tournament during the off-season, spreading it across the region at several different golf courses and accompanied by pre and post tours.
The panel also felt more target driven marketing such as utilising current fruit and wine exports and placing planned and targeted messaging on export packaging could be something to explore.
Lastly, the panel felt there could be a stronger focus on domestic travel, making it more accessible and affordable for locals travellers.
Wesgro has invited the industry to provide the official seasonality task team with input regarding new routes and industry players were urged to participate in a collaborative way forward.