Cape Town - The Western Cape is a great destination for beach strolls and watching the sunset, but it also offers an abundance of activities for adrenalin junkies.
Shark cage diving, 4x4 routes, abseiling, hiking and wildlife viewing are all on offer – and they bring in hard cash to the region.
The good news is that adventure tourism is growing in the Western Cape, says Judy Lain, the chief marketing officer at Wesgro.
“Within adventure tourism, visitors often mix adrenalin-rich adventures like bungee jumping, paragliding or rock climbing with more subtle forms of adventure like scenic mountain hikes, wildlife viewing and bird watching to ensure they get the perfect mix of adventure tourism. Our province appeals to both these forms of adventure.”
Lain said the Western Cape government had identified adventure tourism as one of six niche tourism lifestyle experiences to focus on for the next five years.
Global trends showed there had been an upsurge in the adventure travel in recent years.
“Reports compiled by Adventure Tourism Market study in 2013 focused on Europe, North America and South America which make up 69 percent of all international departures. Of these tourists, nearly 42 percent reported an adventure activity as their main activity on their last trip, projecting a possible adventure travel market worth $263-billion.”
The Western Cape was a destination blessed with a diverse array of activities, and there was a need to capitalise this.
“We know that adventure tourism is significant for Cape Town and the Western Cape to continue to grow our visitor numbers.”
Adventure tourism would help drive economic growth, job creation, geographic spread of visitors and reduce the impact of seasonality.
Velma Corcoram, the executive marketing manager at Cape Town Tourism, said adventure tourism was an area that had shown tremendous growth in the past few years, and it continued to grow.
“Cycling routes in and around Cape Town are fast becoming a major draw for both domestic and international visitors. Earlier this month, the Global Trends released by Euromonitor International reported that cycling is now rivalling golf for the leisure time of middle-aged men, which is expected to have a significant impact on the tourism industry. While this trend was cited in reference to the Americas, it is likely that the trend will also apply to other destinations.”
The Western Cape hosts numerous cycle events like the Cape Town Cycle Tour, the largest timed cycle race in the world, and boasts many mountain biking trails.
Economic Opportunities MEC Alan Winde recently launched a new 30km mountain bike route at the !Khwa ttu San Culture and Education Centre on the West Coast.
The launch was attended by visitors from the surrounding community who completed the inaugural ride alongside Winde.
Winde said at the launch: “The !Khwa ttu mountain bike route has it all – single track, jeep track, farm roads, relaxed riding, technical sections, fast-moving terrain, game viewing and beautiful scenery. This is a great addition to the growing number of quality routes in our province.”
Johan van der Merwe, acting mayoral committee member for tourism, events and economic development at the City of Cape Town said the city was pleased with the establishment of the new bike route.
“We hope to establish many more recreational zones along the West Coast and look forward to working with the people of the area to prove that, in Cape Town, progress is possible when we work together.”