9 May 2013

Cape Town’s tourism sector reports good peak-season growth

The recent summer season in Cape Town – December 2012 to March 2013 – saw an increase in tourist arrivals of between 6% and 8% compared with the same period in 2011/12.

Cape Town Cape Town

Factors that contributed to our great season were the excellent weather and the fact that Cape Town was positively marketed through travel programmes in our international source markets at a key time for travel decision-making. – Mariëtte du Toit-Helmbold, CEO of Cape Town Tourism

Research by Cape Town Tourism and hospitality consulting firm Horwath HTL shows that there was growth across Cape Town's tourism sectors between December 2012 and March 2013.

According to Horwath, there was an increase in room night demand for the period, up 6.9% when compared with the December 2011 to March 2012 period. In March 2013, average occupancy rates stood at 78%, compared with 72% in March 2012.

All accommodation room types, with the exception of self-catering accommodation, reported growth in demand for room nights, with B&Bs registering the highest growth rate, followed by hotels.

The biggest increase in room night demand was seen in Cape Town’s northern suburbs, followed by the city centre and the southern peninsula.

Of the room nights sold during the period, 51.4% were sold to international guests, 42.2% to domestic guests and 6.4% to regional guests. In March 2013, this picture changed slightly, with 46% of the room nights sold to international guests, and 47% to domestic tourists.

Mariëtte du Toit-Helmbold, CEO of Cape Town Tourism, said the growth is indicative of some recovery in the economy.

‘Other factors that contributed to our great season were the excellent weather and the fact that Cape Town was positively marketed through travel programmes in our international source markets at a key time for travel decision-making,’ she said.

She said Cape Town Tourism will be marketing the low season in partnership with Thompsons Holidays to offer 'Love Cape Town City Breaks' – a series of value-added packages and specials that will run from 1 May to the end of September 2013.

She said that it is necessary in the quieter months to refocus on the growth of emerging markets: 'The demands and expectations of emerging-market travellers are very different from those of the source markets that we have created our industry around. It’s time to take a critical look at how we are developing to meet the next wave of tourism.'

Visitor numbers to Cape Town’s attractions also grew in March 2013. There were 2 169 748 visitors to the V&A Waterfront, an increase of 11.9% over March 2012. Table Mountain Aerial Cableway saw a 6% increase in visitors, to 82 805. Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden visitors increased 13.7% to 71 033  and Cape Point Nature Reserve by 23.9% to 91 096. Visitor numbers to Robben Island decreased by 8.6% in March 2013.

Amadeus Air Traffic Intelligence Solution also recently reported that the flight route between Cape Town and Johannesburg is one of 10 busiest routes in the world.