Tourism sector shows jobs and revenue gains, according to official mid-term repo | Western Cape Government



Tourism sector shows jobs and revenue gains, according to official mid-term repo

27 July 2017

A mid-term report-back on the Western Cape’s tourism sector has found significant increases in arrivals, revenue and airline seats in the past three years.

More than 20 000 jobs have been added and foreign tourist spend increased by R4billion in the past three years.

Today (27 July 2017), Alan Winde, Minister of Economic Opportunities, and Wesgro, the Province’s tourism, trade and investment promotion agency, delivered the mid-term report-back on the Western Cape’s strategy to grow the tourism sector, known as Project Khulisa.

Project Khulisa, which means 'cause to grow' in isiXhosa, is a targeted action plan to accelerate growth and jobs in the province’s most competitive sectors, which includes tourism.

The briefing comes after South African Tourism (SAT) released its official annual figures for the country’s 2016 tourism performance.

“I am pleased to announce that we’ve added 26 000 jobs to the tourism sector, taking us closer to our goal of adding up to 100 000 jobs to the sector by 2019. In line with our objective to position the province as a business destination, we have increased the value of conference bids secured from R280m in 2014, to R425m in the 2016/17 financial year. This year alone, we’ve added over 400 000 new two way international airline seats to make it easier for visitors to reach us, bringing our new seat total to 2.6 m. Improved air access played a role in our increased tourism numbers. In 2016, international tourists spent R18bn here, up from R14bn in 2014.

Minister Winde added: "We are especially encouraged that the tourism sector has managed to achieve these successes despite troubling economic times for our country. We believe that the tourism sector, which is not rand hedged, has the potential to pull us out of recession, and to save and grow jobs. Tourism can help South Africa to course correct its current economic trajectory."

Minister Winde explained that the tourism sector had boosted the Western Cape’s business confidence index.

“An analysis by the Department of Economic Development and Tourism shows how tourism infrastructure projects, such as Marriot International’s R3 bn investment, creates additional jobs in the construction sector. This means more residents have more income to spend in retail, which in turn means local businesses have higher revenue and more confidence in the economy.”

Tim Harris, Wesgro CEO, said: “The tourism industry has been a critical catalyst for economic growth and job creation in the Western Cape. As champions of Project Khulisa, Wesgro has worked with stakeholders in the tourism industry across the province to create and promote new opportunities. Through innovative approaches to leisure and business tourism promotion, we have helped minimise the effects of various industry challenges, such as seasonality, keeping the Cape at the forefront of South Africa's tourism industry. We have a number of events lined up for the rest of this year and we are working towards another record-breaking year."

Minister Winde explained that the original Project Khulisa baseline had been revised, as more detailed, and more localized research was completed by the team to assess the worth of the tourism sector at a regional level.

“Our original baseline relied on national figures, aggregated to provincial level. We've now fully developed a social accounting matrix for the province, which gives more accurate regional stats."

Minister Winde commended the tourism sector for the increased figures.

“The Western Cape tourism sector delivers world-class service, and this is why we continue to attract visitors. I would like to thank the people who work in tourism. They are at the frontline of this valuable sector, and it is through their hard work that we have been able to achieve this excellent growth.”

Below is a snapshot of the key indicators:






International arrivals






182 257



Foreign tourist spend








Domestic tourist trips taken





533 000




179 464


206 082

26 618



Total international airline seats


2 045 000


2 658 000


613 000


Gross Value Add (an indicator of all the goods and services produced by a sector)











Project Khulisa was launched in 2014, and outlined a set of interventions to grow the size of the tourism sector, namely:


Boost awareness of the Western Cape in key markets and sectors to drive conversion

2014 Khulisa goal

2017 update

Develop and implement a Delegate Boosting and Conversion programme

Our new delegate boosting programme is showing great success an example thereof is the World Congress of Physical Therapy 2017, which will be held in Africa for the first time. With help from the bureau they have exceeded their 2000 delegate mark.

Develop and implement an Africa and Gulf Co-operation Council countries growth strategy

The focus on this programme is to increase awareness of the Western Cape in the GCC market. We have partnered with Dnata (one of the biggest travel agencies operating in that region), we have engaged with 57 top travel agents from Dnata who sell the Western Cape and hosted 15 of them in country.  We have also garnered media coverage in magazines in country and got inclusion of destination content and promotional angles in their marketing material.

Develop a data and real-time business intelligence capacity

We have launched the dashboards and are now looking at moving paper based research to real time data collection.

Improve accessibility to Cape Town and the regions

2014 Khulisa goal

2017 update

Secure three new direct air routes

10 new direct air routes have been secured

Lobby for friendlier visa regulations

In 2015 National Government revised its onerous visa regulations, which severely impacted jobs and growth in our tourism sector. Following the revision, it was no longer mandatory for travellers from visa exempt countries to present unabridged birth certificates. Many of these recommendations implemented were contained in a report we submitted to the Inter-Ministerial Committee last month. The report was the accumulation of case studies and stakeholder input compiled by our Red Tape Reduction Unit.

Wesgro also facilitated an engagement with Deputy Minister of Home Affairs, Fatima Chohan, which resulted in the Cape Investor Centre. The centre will open next week and will assist large investors to complete local, provincial and national regulatory processes in a single location facilitated by Wesgro.


Boost the attractiveness of the region through competitive product offerings and compelling packaging

2014 Khulisa goal

2017 update

Position the Western Cape as the cycling capital of Africa

The CrossCape inaugural ride took place in May 2017

Maximise culture and heritage tourism through a Madiba Legacy Tourism Route


The City of Cape Town will discuss one aspect of this initiative, the statue at City Hall, during a full council meeting.  The Madiba Legacy Tourism Road Signs was erected along the R301 along a part of the route which directs visitors to Drakenstein Correctional Services.

Position the province as an international business and leisure events destination

The value of conference bids has almost doubled since 2014, reaching R425m in 2016/17. In the off-peak season, events attracted 150 000 visitors to regions across the province and generated R260m for the economy.

Develop and implement a service level improvement programme

The Journey to Service Excellence (J2SE) programme has been piloted in Clanwilliam, during 2016. Chris Maarman was highlighted as delivering outstanding service during the first round last year. The J2SE programme has been implemented in Langebaan and Saldanha Bay in 2017.  The workshop component will be completed this week.  The radio competition for the second round of the initiative will commence in the West Coast from 4 August 2017 until 8 September 2017.


Minister Winde added that while the province continued to welcome an increasing number of visitors, it was also important for the tourism sector to continue raising awareness around the Western Cape’s water shortage.

“Research has found that in developing countries, tourists use between three and eight times more water than residents. We know that water is key for economic growth, and central to many tourism experiences. This is why we need the tourism sector to partner with us to conserve water.”

Minister Winde said many establishments had already taken measures to reduce water demand, such as posting water saving messages in room, including buckets in showers, and requesting guests to choose short showers over baths.

Minister Winde encouraged the sector to sign the Western Cape Government’s draft Economic Sector Water Security Declaration.

Please see below for more tips to reduce water in the sector:

  • Encouraging guests to only request new towels and linen when necessary
  • Installing water efficient appliances such as low flow shower heads, aerated taps, waterless urinals, metering to warn of leaks & overuse
  • Awareness campaigns, including displaying posters in establishments in places that are easy to see (e.g. lifts, bathrooms, buses) – show tourists what the business has achieved and encourage them to use less water.

To download sound clips in English and Afrikaans, kindly visit:

A stream of the press conference can be viewed at

Kindly note that the video is cut at the start due to signal issues.

Relevant Documents:

Project Khulisa Mid-Term Reports

Project Khulisa 2017 Update

Media Enquiries: 

Bronwynne Jooste

Spokesperson: Alan Winde, Minister of Economic Opportunities

Responsible for Tourism, Economic Development and Agriculture

Western Cape Government


142 Long Street, Cape Town


Tel: 021 483 3550

Cell: 060 970 4301



Twitter: bronwynnejooste