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AAnnual rains have arrived in Cape Town, bringing with them not only much needed rains, but renewed excitement and reinforcing the message “We’re open for business!”
Tourism leaders are “forging ahead with plans for tourism growth in Cape Town and the Western Cape” – a clear message from a group of industry heavyweights as the region heads into a full-speed recovery from water shortages in 2017 and earlier in 2018.
The region’s rapid and pragmatic response to what was a tough period of drought via crisis management from both public and private enterprise has set an example of water-wise tourism to the world, and ensured that it’s able to continue with relative normality, embedding Tourism as a vital source of appeal, and contribution, to the city and province. In the past year, the City of Cape Town has reduced its daily water usage by over 50%, setting a new world-class standard that the rest of the world should look to emulate.
A variety of initiatives back this confidence, ranging from alternative water sources becoming available, strong early May 2018 winter rains, and a steady increase in dam water levels coupled with a broader swing to water-sensible lifestyles by the local population and local businesses.
The industry is united in the need for long-term water resource management, putting smart solutions into effect that reduce water wastage, echoing long-standing reassurances to visitors that the city and province remain a world-class destination that should continue to entice the global traveller and locals looking to explore the unparalleled attractions and experiences.
“Our hotel partners and our other travel partners with us, have acted with urgency to ensure that our businesses are ready for visitors to Cape Town from across the country and the world,” states Michael Tollman, CEO of Cullinan Holdings.
With rains falling Tollman continues: “Now more than ever is the time to come and see for yourself that the Cape is waiting and ready to provide a wonderful and unique experience – one that has, and will continue, to make Cape Town a dream location for tourism, investment and trade. Throughout this period, we have coordinated as an industry to share the latest, expert information, and our current status is that for the first time dam levels for the Western Cape are well ahead of the previous year. Globally, with over 120 cities facing risks of water scarcity, Cape Town has garnered unprecedented interest and respect in how the city’s water crisis has been managed, making the city a leader in water-wise, smart solutions for sustainable urban growth and development. Whether you are looking to investigate trade and investment opportunities, business travel or simply enjoy a break, now’s the time to do it,” Tollman states.
This consensus view is echoed by Danny Bryer of Marriott as well as Keith Randall, CEO of the Hospitality Property Fund and Michael Nel, General Manager of Red Carnation Hotel Group.
A variety of initiatives across the hospitality sector, including hotel groups such as Red Carnations Hotel Group, Protea Hotels by Marriott and many others, have adopted water-wise principles which are enjoying an enthusiastic response from guests.
“Our Hotels and businesses in Cape Town have adapted to a new normal of water-wise tourism, and we are pressing ahead both as individual businesses and collectively as an industry to ensure tourism sustainability is in tandem to experience in the tourism delivery,” Tollman concludes.
Tourism contributes to a multi-billion dollar sector that supports over 300,000 direct and indirect jobs in the Western Cape province, of which Cape Town represents the jewel in South Africa’s crown.
The new water programme by the city of Cape Town includes groundwater abstraction from underground aquifers, temporary desalination and re-claimed/re-used water, which already supplies 12 percent of the city's daily usage, and would increase to more than 45 percent within a year. With dam levels well up now on the previous year, continued water-wise efforts by the local population, and good winter rains, the situation is expected to much improved and these additional measures may simply be back up and safety systems for the future.