New direct flights to Cape Town have given the tourist industry a fabulous boost at the time we need it most, says Ms Janine Myburgh, President of the Cape Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
Every month from June to December last year saw record numbers of international passengers arriving at the Cape Town Airport. In June international passenger number increased by 21.8% and this was followed by increases of 27% in July, 23.6% in August, 26.6% in September, 21.4% in October and 17.2% in November.
December saw the biggest increase ever when the number incoming international passenger rose from 88 608 to a staggering 114 208, an increase of 28.9%.
“There are three reasons for this,” said Ms Myburgh. “Firstly, Cape Town has a growing international reputation as quality destination and, secondly there has been some great marketing of the City. The third reason is that airlines have recognised this and have increased the number of direct flights to the City.”
There was a 15.71% increase in international arrivals for the whole year and this was significantly better that the 5.41% increase in the number of domestic passenger arrivals.
“These figures are exciting and I am sure they will justify further investment in tourism facilities and that should mean even more visitors in the future.”
Most of the tourists were from Europe and the priority now should be to open more markets. “Perhaps it’s time for a direct flight to the United States. There used to be an SAA flight between Cape Town and Miami and it was always fully booked. There was an outcry when it was cancelled so I don’t see why the route should not be re-opened. It would be a great boost for the growing film industry and the local economy,” Ms Myburgh said.