Cape Town - Tourists to the Western Cape prefer to travel in threes, spend an average of four nights in local hotels and most of them will go on at least one wine tour during their stay, says Wesgro.
The trade and investment agency released its annual tourism trends for last year on Monday, and reported an impressive 10.2 percent growth in tourist arrivals last year.
Of the more than 9 million tourists who came to South Africa, 558 014 were recorded by tourism offices throughout the Western Cape.
Almost 78 percent of overseas travellers chose to spend time in Cape Town, reinforcing the city’s reputation as a top global destination, said Wesgro.
So it was no surprise that most travellers to the Western Cape said they were here for a holiday. Other reasons included visiting friends and relatives, weddings, popular wine tours and attending local and lifestyle events.
Most of last year’s international visitors hailed from other African countries, with most from Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Mozambique and Swaziland. British tourists featured prominently, with 438 023 visitors from there last year.
German tourists also visited in numbers, although Wesgro’s survey indicated they preferred to visit between October and December.
Most overseas tourists wanted to spend time in the Winelands, with the Garden Route and the Klein Karoo also being high on the to-do list.
Wesgro reported an increase in the number of day visitors to the province over the three years, and a slight drop in visitors staying overnight.
The average length of stay for overseas visitors was four nights.
National parks proved to be a major tourist drawcard last year, with 2.9 million visitors recorded. This was a 5.4 percent increase from the year before. Table Mountain National Park was the most visited with 2.4 million visitors, followed by the West Coast and the Tsitsikamma national parks.
There was an increase in the number of people visiting Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens. The V&A Waterfront showed a slight dip of 1.4 percent.
There were 667 814 international arrivals at Cape Town International Airport, a slight drop from last year. But regional arrivals showed a significant 13.7 percent year-on-year increase with 73 590 coming through Cape Town International last year.
The first two months of last year were bumper months for Cape Town Harbour, with 544 vessels arriving in January and 492 vessels in February. A total of 4 850 vessels came through the harbour last year, and more than 21 200 foreign visitors arrived in the city via ship.
This bodes well for the city’s cruise liner industry, which is expected to get a boost with plans to start construction on a dedicated terminal within the next two years. - Cape Argus