The Cape tourism sector has remained buoyant despite numerous challenges facing the industry.
Cape Town had experienced steady growth in tourism numbers since 2012, resulting in an increase in the direct tourism spend from R14.4 billion in 2012 to R15.6 billion in 2014, according to research conducted by Grant Thornton, on behalf of the city, over a three-year period.
Of the 1,745,300 foreign arrivals to the Western Cape, just over 94 percent (1,645,469) chose Cape Town as their holiday destination, mayoral committee member for tourism, events, and economic development Garreth Bloor said.
The domestic tourism market also remained buoyant, with 863,351 visitors making their way to the city, representing an increase of just over 191,000 domestic visitors.
“For the first time, the research has identified the spend by domestic travellers on day trips to Cape Town, which amounted to R3.2 billion in 2013. This underscores the importance of not underestimating day trips to the city. We need to take cognisance of the bigger picture – although day visitors do not spend on overnight accommodation, they spend on the city’s attractions, restaurants, local transport, and shopping, among others. At R3.2 billion per year, this is a significant contribution to the economy of Cape Town,” he said.
“This spending power of all visitors to our city helps to stimulate local job creation. We have seen an encouraging upward trend over the last few years, with the number of jobs increasing steadily. Currently there are 38,838 permanent jobs and 15,489 temporary jobs created in the local tourism sector. I am pleased to see this positive trend, especially during the tough economic climate that we are facing currently. Sustainable job creation is a huge challenge so every job created is most welcomed.”
A phenomenal 28,000,000 domestic trips were taken in South Africa in 2014 and there were 10,247,614 foreign arrivals to the country for the same period.
Key findings presented with regard to domestic tourism in Cape Town and the Western Cape for 2013/14, included the total direct tourism spend by domestic travellers to Cape Town was R1.9 billion, and the number of domestic bed nights on trips to Cape Town increased by 4.2 percent to 5,467,956.
Domestic overnight spend in Cape Town had grown by 10.8 percent per annum between 2009 and 2014, compared with growth in total domestic spend of 3.7 percent. With an assumed inflation rate of around five percent, the growth in domestic overnight spend in Cape Town represented real growth of 5.8 percent per annum.
The main purpose of domestic trips taken to the Western Cape was generally to visit family or relatives (60 percent), followed by 23 percent travelling to take a holiday. There was a much higher incidence of trips to the Western Cape being taken for holiday purposes as compared with South Africa as a whole.
Key findings regarding foreign tourism in Cape Town and the Western Cape for 2013/14, included the total direct tourism spend by foreign visitors to Cape Town topped R13.6 billion, and foreign direct tourism spend in Cape Town had increased by 3.9 percent per annum between 2009 and 2014.
The number of bed nights occupied by foreign arrivals in Cape Town increased to 15,514,877 from 13,392,566 in 2013 – an increase of 2.1 million bed nights. The Western Cape share of foreign bed nights was 22,409,196 for this period.
“It is also interesting to note the shift in the visitor profile of foreign visitors to our shores. We have noticed a trend over the last few years whereby our travellers are much younger today. One of the reasons is that South Africa is known as an adventure destination, attracting younger and more active foreign tourists searching for diverse experiences and holidays that are not offered elsewhere,” Bloor said.
In keeping with the trend of the past few years, more than 60 percent of foreign visitors to South Africa were between 24 and 44 years old, with the majority (32.1 percent) being between 35 and 44. This was closely followed by 31.8 percent in the 25 to 34 age group. Only 10.5 percent of foreign visitors were 24 or younger.
Just over 30 percent of foreign travellers indicated that their primary purpose for travelling was to visit friends. This was followed by 19.1 percent of foreign travellers to South Africa for holiday purposes and 14.2 percent travelling for personal shopping purposes, Bloor said.