Small towns prove popular as travellers explore the Western Cape over Easter | Western Cape Government



Small towns prove popular as travellers explore the Western Cape over Easter

16 April 2021

An increase in domestic travel over the Easter weekend across the Western Cape and especially to small towns is a welcome and much-needed boost for the tourism and hospitality sector in the Western Cape. 

This increase in visitors reflects the pent-up demand by travellers in South Africa looking to take advantage of the long weekend and explore the many family-friendly, wallet-friendly, world-class experiences on offer in the Western Cape.

Some of the key tourism trends over the Easter weekend identified by local tourism authorities include:

  • Accommodation booked to capacity in many towns, especially small towns, with others reflecting at least 70 to 80 per cent occupancy rates.
  • Camping and self-catering establishments were most popular for accommodation bookings with a noticeable trend in people travelling through the province visiting multiple towns and destinations for shorter stays. Also seeing an increase in return trips as a result.
  • Outdoor activities and experiences such as farmers markets, cycle and hiking routes, nature parks and beaches were well supported.
  • Notable increase in last-minute cancellations and bookings as a result of uncertainty around Covid-19 and possible stricter restrictions implemented ahead of the Easter Weekend. 

The latest data from Airports Company South Africa (ACSA) reveals that the domestic terminal at Cape Town International Airport saw 61 099 passengers for the 2021 Easter Weekend, which was a 65% recovery when compared to the 2019 Easter weekend, with load factors of 77%.

Over the 2021 Easter weekend, 517 domestic Air Traffic Movements occurred which was a 73% recovery when compared to the 2019 Easter weekend.

Our “Kids Stay Free” campaign, which was relaunched by Wesgro’s Destination Marketing Unit at the beginning of March to encourage domestic travellers to consider the Western Cape for the Easter period, saw great results. 

Through the campaign microsite over 6 860 flight bookings were made to the value of R19.1 million and over 525 accommodation bookings were made to the value of R1.7 million. While the City of Cape Town was the top destination, it was great to see that more than 50 per cent of accommodation bookings were for small towns across the Western Cape.

To ensure the Western Cape continues to be top of mind for domestic travellers, Wesgro’s Destination Marketing Unit will continue to host business to business engagements during April with travel trade and media ahead of the June/July school holiday season.

In addition, the campaign with Wesgro to position Cape Town and the Western Cape as a remote work hub continues to encourage domestic travellers to consider long stays.

The campaign launched with an Airbnb partnership, as well as adverts on Google Search and LinkedIn, and a direct marketing push, and will now move into onboarding various service and accommodation offerings throughout the province to encourage domestic travellers to take advantage of the flexibility that working from anywhere brings. This multi-channel approach ensures we are capturing both business and leisure travellers.

International arrivals continue to be affected by global restrictions on travel, and this will continue to have a significant impact on the tourism and hospitality sector in the Western Cape.

However, it is promising to see that intercontinental flights are increasing with Turkish Airlines, KLM, Qatar and Lufthansa Airlines all expanding their routes to Cape Town International Airport in March. We are also looking forward to the launch of the Delta Airlines flight in June 2021 which will connect Cape Town to Atlanta, creating more opportunities for business and leisure travel from the United States.  

We will continue to work hard to support the tourism and hospitality sector in the Western Cape, promoting the many unique and world-class experiences available so that the destination remains front of mind for both domestic and international travellers, so that we can save jobs and rebuild the economy in the Western Cape.

Listen to soundbyte from Minister David Maynier:

Media Enquiries: 

Francine Higham
Spokesperson for the Provincial Minister of Finance and Economic Opportunities
(Responsible for the Provincial Treasury and the Department of Economic Development and Tourism)
Cell: 071 087 5150