The Aviation Barometer, a quarterly indicator of passenger traffic, which was released this week by Airports Company South Africa (Acsa), showed that year-on-year figures indicated that overall passenger growth in the first quarter was subdued, with a total of arrivals up by a marginal 0.8 percent.
The Barometer said international arrivals rose 5.6 percent while departures went up 7.6 percent during the period.
It said King Shaka International showed more growth for international arrivals, increasing 8.1 percent while departures shot up 8.4 percent compared to last year.
It said Cape Town International Airport (CTIA) came in second with 7.1 percent growth with OR Tambo International Airport experiencing 4 percent growth.
However, domestic arrivals experienced a decrease of 3.37 million passengers, 1.03 percent down from the previous year, while departures also eased 1.1 percent.
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Western Cape Economic Opportunities MEC Alan Winde said the CTIA contributed massively to the provincial tourism.
Winde said the airport reached a significant milestone last year, processing 10 million passengers in a year for the first time.
“Boosting air access forms part of our Project Khulisa economic strategy, which is seeking to add up to 100 000 jobs to the tourism sector.
“Early indications are that we have made excellent progress in this regard, and I am looking forward to releasing an official update on Project Khulisa later this year.”
Cape Town Tourism chief executive Enver Duminy said CTIA added 400 000 seats on direct flights to the city in a year, providing far more capacity to welcome visitors.
Duminy said Cape Town was listed among many world-renowned travel publications last year, as a top destination.
“It must be acknowledged that South Africa and Cape Town represent affordable luxury to our international visitors, as the exchange rate remains in their favour.
“Quite apart from the astounding attractions and experiences including the iconic Big Seven attractions, the city has been host to some phenomenal events in the first part of 2017, so besides the traffic coming here for leisure purposes, we have visitors attending events in their thousands, whether for business purposes (Mining Indaba) or for entertainment or sporting purposes, the Cape Town International Jazz Festival or the Cape Town Marathon, for example.”
Duminy said the initiative had shown great potential for growth with investors noting the city’s capacity for staging successful events. He added that Cape Town Tourism was cautiously optimistic that the growth seen would continue.