The peak December tourism month saw high growth in international arrivals and an increase in visitors to regions across the Western Cape, despite a severe drought affecting Cape Town and surrounds.
This is according to Airports Company South Africa, which said Cape Town International Airport registered 127,309 international arrivals for December 2017, an increase of 11.5% from December 2016.
Domestic arrivals by air dipped slightly by 2.2% to 389,324 but is it thought that many local tourists chose to use land travel to access the province.
Western Cape MEC for Economic Opportunities, Alan Winde, welcomed initial reports of increases in regional trips.
“The positive feedback received from these offices points to a growth in geographic spread. More people are getting out onto the open road and exploring the diversity of attractions that are on offer across the province,” said Winde.
“Key goals of Project Khulisa, our economic growth strategy, include securing more direct flights and spreading the returns of tourism across our region to create growth and jobs in rural areas. These results prove that we are having a positive impact. We have also received feedback from our towns that visitors have responded positively to our water savings message, with many bringing water from their hometowns.”
He added that the department would like to thank visitors for their efforts, “the majority of our tourism offices have noted that bookings are continuing to come in, indicating that tourism season is still in full swing”.
Cape Town and the Western Cape’s Official Tourism, Trade and Investment Promotion Agency Wesgro’s CEO Tim Harris added: “Our dedicated tourism team has been working hard to ensure that tourists explore the amazing attractions that the rest of the province has on offer. By getting out on the road and exploring our beautiful towns and communities in the Cape, tourists are helping grow local economies and create jobs in the most remote parts of the province.”
“This is precisely why tourism is so valuable to our economy during these more challenging economic times, and why Wesgro will continue to do everything possible to ensure the industry continues to grow.”
Cape Town Tourism CEO Enver Duminy noted that “Cape Town remains a popular destination due to its natural beauty, diverse tourist attractions, and local culture. It is also pleasing to see that water consumption in the city remained the same despite increased numbers of tourists in December. Thank you to all of our visitors and locals for their water-saving efforts.” (via African News Agency)