Visitor numbers for the upcoming holiday season in Cape Town are expected to remain promising, as indicated by a survey done with Cape Town Tourism’s members, and other tourism barometers.
Tourism businesses surveyed by Cape Town Tourism revealed that 90% of them are expecting a similar or better business performance than the same period in 2013.
This is after a successful season last year, where 80% of tourism businesses surveyed reported a much better or better business performance than expected, for November and December 2013.
Figures looking positive despite challenges
Cape Town Tourism’s findings are aligned with those of the Tourism Business Council of South Africa (TBSA), whose FNB Index found that performance is forecast to remain above normal levels at 109.8 (100 is normal), despite concerns over critical issues such as the new visa regulations for South Africa and the Ebola outbreak in West Africa. The index showed that Quarter 3 (July –September 2014) had been robust with a performance score of 105.3.
In general, this forecast for the 2014/ 2015 holiday season seem attributable to the weak Rand and a high demand for travel in the domestic and international leisure market.
Says Cape Town CEO, Enver Duminy; “We believe that the season will be a good one but there are several factors that make it very difficult to predict with any certainty. We have had a lot of enquiries and it is clear that visitors have already started to arrive as we are seeing them in our Visitor Information Centres and on the streets.”
More inbound flights to Cape Town
A newly-launched South African airline, Flysafair, launched their service on the 16th of October 2014 opening up more low cost flight options for domestic travellers wanting to come to Cape Town.
British Airways will operate seven additional services for the period 1 to 11 January 2015 from London Heathrow to Cape Town, with Edelweiss announcing earlier this year that they are to increase their seasonal non-stop service from Cape Town to Zurich to three weekly flights.
Qatar Airways has also just launched their direct flights that will be operating five-times a week between Doha and Cape Town. This is an important development for Cape Town as the destination continues to strengthen its ties with emerging source market, United Arab Emirates.
Flight routes and source markets are closely linked. Ease of access is a major factor in driving traffic to Cape Town. The Western Cape government continues to lobby for more direct flights to Cape Town from more diverse source markets.
Accommodation forecasts up year on year
The expected occupancy rate for member accommodation establishments for October 2014 is already higher than the actual occupancy rate of 60% percent achieved in October 2013 and the forecast room rate of represents a significant increase on the actual room rate of reported for October 2013. Occupancy of 72% is forecast for November 2014, which puts us on track towards the average occupancy percentage of 79% achieved in 2013. The forecast average room rate for November is already higher than the average room rate achieved in 2013.
Attractions gearing up for a busy season
The top tourist attractions in Cape Town celebrated the highest visitor figures during December 2013 with both Cape Point and Table Mountain Cableway welcoming more than 100 0000 guests during this month. This year, attractions are looking forward to experiencing another busy season and seeing similar performances.
Says Sabine Lehmann, MD of the Cape Town Cableway, “We are expecting, and preparing for, a very busy season this summer. During December and January the majority of our visitors are locals. Over the last 5 years we have seen significant growth in the domestic tourism market and I expect this trend to continue. Of course the Cableway is highly weather dependent so, ultimately, we have to hope for good weather so that we can live up to the expectations of our visitors”.
Cape Town remains a premier global destination
Cape Town’s status as a leading destination is reinforced by travel publications awarding the Mother City with more international accolades, like being listed as number two on Lonely Planet Best Bargain Holiday Destinations for 2015 and being named as the 4th best city in The Top 25 Cities in the World list by Condé Nast Traveler.
Adds Duminy; “Value is a critical factor in global travel and we have fought hard to win over the sceptics, but it is clearly emerging that Cape Town delivers on quality and affordability.”
Safety first in Cape Town
As Cape Town prepares for a busy season, safety is being geared up on all fronts by Cape Town Tourism and industry partners. To access the safety preparations by Cape Town Tourism and the City of Cape Town, along with a list of important emergency numbers, please click here.
Says the Mayoral Committee Member for Tourism, Events and Economic Development at the City of Cape Town, Garreth Bloor; “Cape Town continues to ignite the imagination of international travellers and lure domestic visitors, and we are ready to showcase the city at its best. Safety, access to information and mobility are key areas that the City of Cape Town has been working on with our partners. We are looking forward to welcoming all of our guests and sharing Cape Town with them this festive season.”
Visitors and locals can also look out for Cape Town Tourism’s new mobile visitor information centres from the first week of December, ready to assist visitors on the go with information and booking facilities. Dubbed Thando; the vehicles (vans, electric bicycles and scooters) are fully kitted to assist with details about activities and experiences, with some even offering free wi-fi.