With the festive season in full swing and holidaymakers searching for the ideal accommodation, more people are having shorter stays, says Wesgro. Picture: David Ritchie/African News Agency/ANA
Cape Town - An informal survey of tourist offices across the province conducted by Wesgro, the Western Cape government’s tourism marketing partner, this past week indicates a good festive season, with growth in domestic tourism thanks to an increase in visitors from KwaZulu Natal, Gauteng and the North West to the Western Cape.

The survey found that “Top experiences attracting visitors to the Western Cape include wine tasting and activities at wine estates for families, cultural and sustainable experiences, local dining, events and outdoor activities such as hiking and cycling.”

Finance and Economic Opportunities MEC David Maynier said: “This is a positive indication of recovery in the tourism sector following the drought, and we remain optimistic ahead of the official statistics which will be published by South African Tourism towards the end of the month. Looking ahead, the visitor numbers remain consistent with the previous year, with a small increase in forward reservations. There’s also been an increase in enquiries for local events and cost- effective experiences for families.”

According to the survey: “Challenges such as load shedding, confusion around unabridged birth certificates and visas, and concerns about safety and the drought were raised by the tourism industry as inhibitors to sector growth.”

Opportunities for improvement were also mentioned, with some visitors noting that many businesses in smaller towns were closed on New Year’s Day, resulting in them leaving destinations earlier than planned.

Referring to these challenges, Maynier said: “I’m committed to working with our partners in the tourism industry to address these issues. Wine cellars, specifically those outside Stellenbosch and Paarl, confirmed an increase in sales from the previous year,” said the survey.

The report from the tourism industry also noted trends in regions outside Cape Town: “Some 80-90% of all reservations were made online; and last minute reservations made directly with establishments increased.”


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Cape Argus