Cricket fans wait for the gate to open at the Newlands Cricket Grounds before the start of the first day of the second cricket test between South Africa and England at the Newlands Cricket Stadium in Cape Town, South Africa, Friday Jan. 3, 2020. Picture: Halden Krog/AP
Cricket fans wait for the gate to open at the Newlands Cricket Grounds before the start of the first day of the second cricket test between South Africa and England at the Newlands Cricket Stadium in Cape Town, South Africa, Friday Jan. 3, 2020. Picture: Halden Krog/AP

England cricket team's Barmy Army helps boost Mother City tourist fortunes

By Mwangi Githahu Time of article published Jan 2, 2020

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Cape Town – Ahead of the second cricket Test match, England’s travelling supporters, known worldwide as the Barmy Army, have seemingly boosted the fortunes of Cape Town’s hotels and other tourist businesses.

Members of the Barmy Army, who are known for their enjoyment of beer and rapturous singing, are believed to have made a significant number of bookings at Cape Town hotels and Airbnb and other guest houses, running from the end of December to the first week of January this year.

The V&A Waterfront has also scored with the visiting cricket fans - many members of the Barmy Army gathered there on Tuesday night to ring in the new year, as seen on the Barmy Army’s social media pages.

Chairperson of the Federated Hospitality Association of SA, Jeff Rosenberg, said: “The cricket has definitely given the number of bookings a bump.

“With the Proteas winning in Pretoria, there is bound to be interest from local supporters and, of course, the very many England supporters who travel everywhere with their team.

“This is good news for hotels as well as restaurants as these supporters spend. The effect of the cricket is a great start for the new year.”

Rosenberg added: “The city has been quieter this year, but I think that’s because more tourists have been spreading out and not remaining in town for the full break, but going on the wine route and other excursions.

“We are still waiting for the numbers to be compiled, of course, but from the majority of reports we’ve received, this seems to be the case.

“Generally, tourism has been better in some regions than others, and in the four to five-star segment there seems to have been an increase on last year’s numbers.

“Meanwhile, we are looking forward to see how the first quarter will behave in the current economic climate.

“I think it will be tough, but we must remain optimistic.”

Mayoral committee member for economic opportunities and asset management James Vos said: “I am very excited to confirm the impressive increases in visitor arrival numbers based on the number of forward bookings. 

"These numbers, based on actual flight reservations, are according to data company ForwardKeys.

“According to ForwardKeys, Cape Town is expecting almost 50000 travellers to arrive from the UK, just over the December 2019 to March 2020 period, reflecting an increase of 30% from the same period last year. This is based on flight reservation data.

“The increase from Germany stands at 20%, and at 11% from the US.”

Cape Argus

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