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Cape Town’s tourism sector sees another bumper summer season

Cape Town’s tourism sector sees another bumper summer season

With yet another successful summer season behind us, i.e. the October 2013 to February 2014 period, the City of Cape Town anticipates continued growth with a series of planned new events that are set to entrench Cape Town’s position as a year-round destination.

Several new events are being mooted for Cape Town over the next few months, including a new performing arts festival inspired by the energy and ethos of popular fringe festivals in New York, Amsterdam, Adelaide and Edinburgh. In addition, Cape Town’s title as the World Design Capital 2014 is expected to attract visitors from the world’s creative hubs this year.

Meanwhile, Cape Town Tourism has reported an improved season overall, with growth in international arrivals and visits to top city attractions over the past five months.

Arrivals by air

There was growth in international arrivals at Cape Town International Airport over the five-month period starting in October 2013 (with an almost 15% increase year-on-year) and ending February 2014 – up by about 8%. This represents a record number of international arrivals for February.

Regional Africa arrivals by air increased each month (with the exception of December 2013) and culminated in a 17% increase in February 2014. Domestic arrivals saw small increases from December 2013 onward.

Growing hotel occupancy

Cape Town Tourism’s  Accommodation Performance Review and Forecast Survey showed that accommodation performance in Cape Town continued on an overall upward trend with Revenue per Available Room (RevPar)* increasing by an average of 16% per month between October and December 2013, when compared with the same period the previous year.

The occupancy level registered by participating members between October 2013 and February 2014 was above 73%, further supporting the 1% occupancy increase in 2013 when compared with 2012.

Overall, the Cape Town accommodation sector finished 2013 ahead of the class with an almost 5% increase in Average Room Rate (ARR), setting itself above the global average of 3% growth in ARR as reported in the latest Hotel Price Index.

Alluring attractions

Tourism businesses (including attractions, tour operators, vehicle-hire companies, restaurants and wine farms) were surveyed in March 2014 about their performance in recent months. A total of 75% said that their actual booking figures for January and February 2014 were better than business performance for the same period the previous year.

December 2013 proved to be the best summer month for surveyed major tourist attractions, with record-breaking results for Cape Point and the Table Mountain Aerial Cableway, both reporting more than 100 000 visitors as well as record growth for Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens. Positive year-on-year growth was again reported by all attractions in February 2014. The V&A Waterfront saw its highest ever number of visitors (24 million) in 2013, including 175 000 visitors on 31 December 2013 alone.

Source markets

Traditionally, Cape Town hosts more international than domestic tourists between October and March; however, indicators show a levelling out of international and domestic visitors this past season.

Key source markets – South Africa, the United Kingdom, the United States of America, Germany and the Netherlands – continued to make up the top five countries of origin, but regional Africa flexed its muscle with a year-on-year average growth of almost 3% between October 2013 and February 2014. Emerging market India finished in the top 10 source markets for the season while China and Brazil came in just outside of the top 10.

‘The City of Cape Town is pleased that the tourism sector is showing impressive signs of growth. Looking at the figures, it is evident that Cape Town’s Big Six attractions continue to impress – all have shown a significant increase in visitor numbers year-on-year. Using all of our efforts to encourage tourism is in keeping with this administration’s commitment to building an opportunity city, in which an economically enabled environment makes the space for jobs to be created. While Cape Town traditionally enjoys strong tourism numbers during summer, our vision is to grow Cape Town’s events calendar and tourism numbers during winter as well,’ said the City’s Executive Director for Tourism, Events and Marketing, Anton Groenewald.

CEO of Cape Town Tourism, Enver Duminy, says a number of factors have contributed to the increase.

‘Based on our observations, a cocktail of the weak rand, our great value-for-money offering, position as World Design Capital 2014, and continued recognition of “desirable Cape Town” through a slew of international accolades has made Cape Town a top spot this past summer.  It is essential that we now focus our collaborative marketing efforts on extending Cape Town’s season and creating a year round destination,’ he said.

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