Mother City’s ship comes in

Western Cape

Cape Town - Cape Town is by no means a secret in terms of prestigious global destinations. The sheer drama of Table Mountain’s granite face dropping without ceremony into the stark blue of the Atlantic Ocean is known by globetrotters as a place to have your jaw dropped.

However, with new marketing pushes and a series of global media mentions, Cape Town is having its day in the sun.

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Feebearing - Cape Town - 140409 - As summer comes to an end tourists and locals alike take advantage of the beautiful weather around Cape Town. Pictured: Tourists take in the view on Signal Hill. PICTURE: WILLEM LAW.The title of World Design Capita 2014 was bestowed on Cape Town by the International Council of Societies of Industrial Design. Photo: Ross Jansen

Statistics published on Wednesday by the City of Cape Town showed a 15 percent increase in international arrivals year-on-year from 2012-13 to 2013-14 summers, and an overall increase in accommodation trends.

Enver Duminy, chief executive of Cape Town Tourism, attributes it to a perfect storm of factors. “Based on our observations, a cocktail of the weak rand, our great value-for-money offering, position as World Design Capital 2014, and continued recognition of ‘desirable Cape Town’ through a slew of international accolades has made Cape Town a top spot this past summer,” he said.

Nicky Swartz, the World Design Capital programme director, pinpoints Cape Town as a hub for social change design that is appealing to tourists.

“The design here is very different because it’s less about the pretty and more about the gritty, the design is used to unlock innovation,” said Swartz. “It’s a pillar that’s helping to drive interest to bring a different kind of people to Cape Town.”

Excitement over the well marketed “Cape Town Big 6”, which includes Table Mountain, Cape Point, Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens, the V&A Waterfront, Robben Island and Groot Constantia, also took Cape Town to new heights, with Table Mountain Aerial Cableway and Cape Point each reporting more than 100 000 visitors in December.

In addition, 75 percent of tourism businesses surveyed reported higher booking figures in January and February than the previous year.

These increases have spread into the hospitality industry as well. Chris von Ulmenstein, the owner of the Whale Cottage Portfolio, reported average bookings in the high season through the new year, but was wary about the changes in the industry,

“There’s just an ‘x’ number of rooms you can sell, but the average occupancy per month could definitely be more,” said Von Ulmenstein. “There’s such a flood of accommodation and guests are so reliant on mobile, that there is little satisfaction in supporting Cape Town Tourism anymore because there are rarely any references.”

Despite seasonality, participating properties reported around 73 percent of rooms were occupied between October and February, according to the Cape Town Tourism’s Accommodation Performance Review and Forecast.

“While Cape Town traditionally enjoys strong tourism numbers during summer, our vision is to grow Cape Town’s events calendar and tourism numbers during winter as well,” said Anton Groenewald, the city’s executive director of tourism. - Cape Argus

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