The Western Cape’s most popular tourist attractions reported major increases at the start of the peak summer season.
"With the city having just received the top spot on the prestigious New York Times list of 52 places to visit in 2014, and being awarded the World Design Capital 2014 title, we expect more international and regional visitors this year," said Grant Pascoe, mayoral committee member for tourism, events and marketing.
“Almost every single number across the tourism board is showing an increase,” says Alan Winde, Minister of Finance, Economic Development and Tourism. “With this tourism growth, all our tourist attractions are running at capacity,” he adds excitedly.
“I’m pleased the Western Cape has seen a marked increase in visitor numbers. The benefits of this thriving industry are spreading across our province, resulting in increased job opportunities for urban and rural residents.”
“The tourism industry is an R18bn industry, employing 150,000 people. Tourism is really the hub of our economy.”
Winde carries on to say that international and regional air travel figures have reached a pre-recession level at Cape Town International Airport, with a number of 780,000 passengers in December, showing an increase of 6.7%.
Other establishments across the province are also welcoming more international travellers:
- Table Mountain Cableway ended off 2013 on a record-breaking note, welcoming 120,318 visitors in December 2013
- In 2013, visitor numbers at the V&A Waterfront reached nearly 24 million, including 175,000 visitors per day at the end of December 2013
- Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens noted a 20% increase in international tourists and overall logged a record high number of visitors in December 2013
- Groot Constantia noted an increase in visitors from African Countries and more tourists for Italy, Spain and Portugal. The estate welcomed 63,000 visitors between November and December 2013
- Usually known as a whale-watcher’s paradise, Hermanus saw a spike in bookings, reporting larger groups and longer stays in November and December 2013
- Robertson tourism authorities reported a 40% increase in visits over the December 2013 period, compared to the previous year
- Robben Island, however, saw a slight decline in the number of visitors. 75,487 were recorded for November and December 2012, with only 70 731 for November and December last year.
Winde remains unperturbed. “I am confident that the high profile awards we garnered in 2012 and 2013, as well as improvement in services, are key drivers of this increase ... The weaker rand is also a factor in driving tourism. We look forward to the January numbers and I am confident we will see a positive trend continuing well into peak season.”