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Project Khulisa identified tourism as one of the key sectors, which offers the Province the greatest potential
return in terms of jobs and growth.
The Western Cape accounted for 16.8% of all South African tourist arrivals and received 28.6% of South
Africa’s tourist’s spend. In addition, the Western Cape held 19.3% of South Africa’s bed nights recorded during
the period.
Europe maintained its position as the Western Cape’s top region with respect to tourism volume, reaching the
1 million mark in 2017 and grew by 10.9% year-on-year.
Apart from Asia & Australasia, a robust growth rate was recorded across all regions with the highest increase
attained from the Americas (15.9%) and the Africa land (12.5%) regions.
The United Kingdom, Germany and the United States ranked as the star performing markets in 2017, positioned
in the top three positions, with the highest growth in tourist arrivals attained from Germany (12.8%). These
three markets contributed over R9.0 billion to the Western Cape’s economy in 2017.
Amongst the top ten markets to the Western Cape, 2017 saw the strongest growth in tourist arrivals from
Brazil, recording over 40 000 tourists and growing by a significant 96.9%.
In 2017, the Western Cape recorded the 2nd highest number in total bed nights of all provinces, generating
23.3 million and rising by 39.2% year-on-year. About 40% of paid bed nights recorded in South Africa were
spent in the Western Cape, placing the province in the top position for the highest number in paid bed nights,
reaching 15.1 million nights and rising by a remarkable 49.2%.
Visiting friends and family ranked as the top accommodation usage amongst tourists during 2017, followed
by hotels and self-catering establishments. The Africa markets dominated in average length of stay,
with travellers from the Democratic Republic of Congo and Tanzania staying for over 30 nights in the
Western Cape.
Adventure ranked as the top activity enjoyed by tourists to the Western Cape, followed by natural attractions,
beaches, wildlife and theme parks. While Cape Town maintains its standing as Africa’s top city for business,
the Western Cape continues to hold a strong demand from the leisure market.
Economic Development and Tourism – Annual Performance Plan 2019/20 99
The Department of Economic Development and Tourism has the provincial statutory and legislative mandate
for tourism. It responds to all the elements of the tourism industry, including tourism development, tourism
regulation and tourism marketing. The Tourism, Trade and Investment Act, 2013 provides for tourism
destination marketing to be implemented in the Wesgro public entity.
This is the final year of the Project Khulisa Tourism, which is a transversal approach that provides delivery
on tourism initiatives across the programmes in the Department. Direct tourism destination marketing
implementation is provided by Wesgro (legislative mandate). This transversal approach will ensure that the
following regional outcomes are met for the tourism sector as a whole:
• To achieve an increase in tourism GVA from R17 billion to R28 billion and grow tourism direct jobs by up
to 100 000 additional formal jobs.

Tourism is one of the significant job creating sectors in the province, but has not achieved its growth and job
creation potential.

As a tourist destination, the province demonstrates obvious advantages but also challenges
that will be addressed by the Department within the next five years which include:

Awareness. The Western Cape will develop a clear tourism brand and co-ordinate tourism marketing
efforts within the province amongst SA Tourism, the City of Cape Town, other municipalities and Wesgro.
The Department will identify key source markets that can grow relatively quickly.

Accessibility. In improving accessibility to and within the Province, the Department will agitate for simpler
and easier visa processes particularly for identified growth markets and address issues regarding flights
to the Western Cape. Within the Province, the Department will address issues regarding tourist logistical
issues and impediments for tourists to move easily within the Province.

Attractiveness. It is recognised that the Province attractiveness is underdeveloped, particularly its cultural
and heritage components that accentuate its unique history. Over the following five years the Department
will develop its attractiveness as a tourist destination.

Seasonality. It is recognised that a sustainable tourism industry has to address counter seasonality. In
doing so the Department will grow winter tourism to supplement peak tourism times through further niche



The content on this page was last updated on 31 January 2020