File image: IOL

CAPE TOWN - Cape Town’s new R700 million City Bowl, owned by Tsogo Sun, has reinforced the city’s reputation as a world-class holiday destination, said group chief executive Jacques Booysen this week.

The 19-storey hotel’s grand opening was held on Thursday. Booysen said the City Bowl reflected the group’s continued commitment to the city, and brought the total number of rooms operated by the company in the city centre to more than 2 000.

Booysen also said Cape Town had become a globally-competitive business and leisure destination and tourism to the city was expanding. “Just last year, according to Cape Town Tourism, over half a million visitors arrived in Cape Town by air, representing an 8 percent year-on-year increase. Of these visitors, close to 84 500 were international visitors, which was a strong 29 percent increase over the previous year. 

“The numbers say it all, as we were convinced that the City Bowl would be an excellent location for a major investment, particularly as this is the first large-scale new build in the Cape Town city centre for some years,” he said.

The City Bowl development incorporates two economy hotels, the select service SunSquare Cape Town City Bowl with 202 bedrooms and StayEasy Cape Town City Bowl with 302 bedrooms. Booysen said the development of the two economy hotels opens access to a wider market sector as previously four and five-star hotels were predominant in the area.

“These two hotels have been developed in response to a growth trend in the mid-market hotel sector in South Africa and offer excellent style and functionality, representing the next generation of room design in this category for Tsogo and offering superb accommodation, great location and good pricing.” Booysen said the development had created much-needed jobs.

“Specifically, when it comes to this development there were 2 000 jobs created during the development of the two hotels, there are 250 full-time employees in the hotels. Sixty of those have never been in the formal employment environment before, so we essentially recruited for attitude and then we trained them in skills,” he said.

Tsogo Sun’s footprint in Cape Town was spread across six hotels, including The Southern Sun The Cullinan, Southern Sun Waterfront, Southern Sun Cape Sun, Garden Court Nelson Mandela Boulevard, SunSquare Cape Town Gardens, Southern Sun Newlands, StayEasy Century City and three Sun1 properties located in Parow, Milnerton and Foreshore.

The group also owns the Westin at the Cape Town International Convention Centre, Radisson Blu Waterfront and Protea Junction through its controlling investment in the Hospitality Property Fund.

He said outside South Africa, the brand had expanded into Nigeria, Kenya, Tanzania, Zambia, Mozambique, Seychelles and Abu Dhabi.
Booysen said although the group has been in Africa for over 30 years, the uptake is slow as the markets are generally small, whereas in Cape Town if 300 rooms are built they're absorbed quite quickly.

Victor Tharage, director general of Tourism, welcomed the new development. “It is very encouraging for tourism and our economy as a whole when the private sector, in this case the Tsogo Sun group, recognises the value of major investment in this sector. 

"Tourism contributes about 3 percent to the nation’s economy and through its growth, it adds value to the lives of many South Africans.” 

Tharage added that one in every 22 people who are employed in South Africa works in the tourism sector, which is about 4.5 percent of the total workforce. Cape Town mayor Patricia de Lille said the city is proud of its growing reputation as a world-class tourist destination “and the better we get at attracting visitors, the harder we work to make sure they come back again, for another great experience.”

Mayor Patricia de Lille says Cape Town is proud of its growing reputation as a world-class tourism destination. These two hotels have been developed in response to growth in the mid-market hotel sector.