Visitors flock to Mother City for winter break

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winter tourism

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The floweres at the Potsberg Section of West Coast National Park near Langebaan. Photo by Michael Walker

Cape Town’s most recent winter tourism season has defied the odds, with visitors flocking to the city.

Cape Town Tourism has also announced an initiative to boost tourism by partnering with Facebook.

This online campaign will launch next month.

Cape Town Tourism’s report for April to June found that seasonality remained a challenge. A drop in visitor numbers during winter was an ongoing problem.

In response to this, the city needed to find a way to make sure it was an all-year destination.

After the latest figure for the winter months, Grant Pascoe, mayoral committee member for tourism, events and marketing, said some of the plans were paying off.

According to figures from Cape Town Tourism, more than half of the city’s accommodation establishments surveyed had a year-on-year increase for occupancy rates.

Over the three-month period, arrivals at Cape Town International Airport increased by 64 000 when compared to last year.

Cape Town Tourism’s visitor information centre also welcomed more than 75 000 people over the three months, a 6 percent increase over the previous three months.

In the run-up to the winter season, the city also partnered with travel company Thompsons to create packages specifically during that time period.

These centred around sports matches like the Manchester United and Ajax CT soccer clash. Packages were also tailored around Women’s Day.

International accolades such as Table Mountain being named as one of the new seven wonders of the world and winning the World Design Capital bid boosted the city’s profile.

The city, along with Durban and Joburg, also has a campaign with the National Geographic channel. It runs for just over a year and includes the screening of an hour-long documentary on each of the three cities.

Pascoe said the city and Cape Town Tourism had started drafting plans well ahead of winter.

“We put in a lot of effort and are happy that some of these things are coming into fruition. And we are glad that they worked out favourably.”

Pascoe said the city was optimistic that it would be able to double the numbers by next winter.

“We will push hard. We know we’re up against many other cities, but these numbers show we can compete with the best of them.” - Cape Argus

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