Cape Town is within reach of pre-pandemic tourism levels


Cape Town’s tourism is almost back to where it was before the pandemic, much sooner than anyone expected.

Cape Town International Airport reported a recovery of 72% in domestic visitors and 98% in international visitors compared to the December 2019 festive period.

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“This impressive rebound in tourism can be attributed to the City’s tourism bounce-back strategy, which we developed with partners such as CTT in the midst of the pandemic and is aimed at stimulating supply and demand from specific source markets,” said Alderman James Vos, Mayoral Committee Member for Economic Growth.

He continued, “Overseeing the formulation and subsequent implementation of this strategy involved weeks and long days of work with industry bodies and operators that have paid off this holiday period. The official figures show significant recovery and, in some cases, surpass pre-COVID-19 numbers.”

Mark Maclean, the regional general manager of the Cape Town International Airport Cluster (CTIA), expressed gratitude to everyone who used the airport over the holidays.

“It has been a good festive season at CTIA with high reliability of operations. The airport had a festive feel, and we deployed additional staff to process the increased passenger volumes, supported by technology. We are pleased with the 98% recovery of international passengers compared to 2019, driven by the return of airlines and the start-up of new airlines into CTIA. We also recorded good domestic passenger demand, and we look forward to airlines adding additional capacity this year,” said Maclean.

Enver Duminy, the CEO of Cape Town Tourism, was excited about the steady flow of tourists and locals to the area. These people are helping the Mother City recover faster from the terrible effects of the Omicron discrimination that happened in South Africa last year.

“It’s remarkable to see our collective efforts to restore our beautiful city’s international and domestic visitor performance to pre-pandemic levels paying off. We’re grateful to the City of Cape Town, our Cape Town Tourism members, and residents for sustaining our important sector so that our city remains the destination of choice in Africa,” said Duminy.

In addition to the increase in air traffic, Cape Town Tourism’s most recent travel statistics show that tourists’ interest in the city’s well-known attractions is growing. Compared to 2019, the recovery rates for Groot Constantia were 71%, Kirstenbosch was 76%, Robben Island was 89%, Chapmans Peak was 95%, and Table Mountain was almost 100%.

Wahida Parker, Chairperson of Cape Town Tourism and Managing Director of the Table Mountain Aerial Cableway, says that visitors from all over the world still come to see Table Mountain during the holidays.

“The festive season was undoubtedly in full swing this December. The influx of visitors to our city had the opportunity to complement their beach visits and wine-tasting outings with a hike up Table Mountain or a ride in our cable car while taking in the superb views of the surroundings,” said Parker.

Cape Town’s GrandWest Casino and Entertainment World reported 95% of its 2019 footfall during this festive season, reflecting this recovery. As traffic and trading hours increased, the entertainment destination’s retailers’ revenues exceeded 2019.

The general manager of GrandWest, Mervyn Naidoo, said that the last fiscal year showed clear signs of recovery.

“We’ve hosted over 17 shows since July 2022, attended by more than 92,000 guests. Furthermore, our Grand Hotel was at 100% capacity this festive season with countless out-of-town visitors, we booked excess capacity into the City Lodge, and our retail outlets outperformed 2019 levels and continue to gain momentum,’ said Naidoo.

In a survey of its members, Cape Town Tourism discovered that 85% thought December’s performance was significantly better than in 2019.

The United States, Germany, and the United Kingdom are, according to the respondents, the main international source markets. The main domestic markets were in Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, and Cape Town.

Alderman Vos said he is thrilled that tourists can once again appreciate what Cape Town has to offer.

“We’ve worked tirelessly to remind domestic and international visitors that Cape Town still has so much to offer. So, it’s fantastic that even more visitors got to experience our breathtaking city this festive season, from our vibrant people and world-class experiences in our region that tourists repeatedly fall in love with. I am confident that our critical mission—to create a tourism-related job in every household across Cape Town—will reach even higher if this festive season’s stellar performance is anything to go by.”

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Picture: Unsplash










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