Data from the 2020/2021 tourism season has shown a steep decline in the Western Cape with officials hopeful for a recovery. Picture: Ayanda Ndamane/African News Agency (ANA)
Data from the 2020/2021 tourism season has shown a steep decline in the Western Cape with officials hopeful for a recovery. Picture: Ayanda Ndamane/African News Agency (ANA)

W Cape tourism shows signs of recovery

By Tshego Lepule Time of article published May 26, 2021

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Western Cape tourism, battered by the Covid-19 pandemic, is showing some sign of recovery say authorities.

Briefing the standing committee on finance and tourism in the provincial legislature on Wednesday, the province’s investment body Wesgro, together with the department of finance, economic opportunities and tourism released the 2020/2021 tourism figures for the province which painted a bleak picture for the sector.

* Almost all of the top attractions, including the Table Mountain Aerial Cableway and Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, recorded more than 60% decline in visitors during the peak tourist season with Robben Island the most affected with a 83.6% drop in visitors.

* International arrivals to the Western Cape remained significantly lower than the previous years, with 52 711 passengers recorded in December 2020 compared to 281 382 passengers the previous year.

* Hotel occupancy in the province stood at around 33% in December due to the absence of business travellers and international guests with five star hotels in Cape Town being the worst affected.

However, officials say despite the low numbers recorded, there are signs of recovery.

“While December and early January performance was far below expectation there has been some further recovery since then,” said the department’s Ilse van Schalkwyk.

“This was particularly notable during the Easter Weekend driven by domestic tourists. The domestic terminal at Cape Town International Airport saw 61 099 passengers for the 2021 Easter Weekend, which was a 65% recovery when compared to the 2019 Easter weekend, with load factors of 77%.”

Wesgro’s Chief Marketing Officer Monika luel said campaigns launched to boost the domestic travel sector showed positive results from the festive season as well as the Easter weekend period in the province. She said the “kids stay for free” campaign saw as many as 2 780 bookings made for accommodation with the top areas being Cape Town, Beaufort West and Knysna.

As many as R9 milllion in sales revenue was generated as bookings with children increased from 26 in the same period in 2019 to 243 in 2020.

During the March to April period around 6 860 flight bookings were made to a value of R19.1 million and over 525 accommodation bookings recorded worth R1.7million.

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