State of tourism: Western Cape | Western Cape Government

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State of tourism: Western Cape

24 January 2017

The Western Cape has taken its place as a global big-hitter amongst tourists, with arrivals and infrastructure spend reaching record levels.

Alan Winde, Minister of Economic Opportunities, and Wesgro, the official tourism, trade and investment promotion agency for Cape Town and the Western Cape, this morning (24 January 2017), revealed key facts on the state of the Western Cape’s tourism sector.

Minister Winde said: “We’ve entered a very exciting period for our tourism sector. At a range of key attractions across the region, nine of out ten reported record visitor numbers for the 2016 peak season, and we’ve seen positive numbers from national and city reports. These increases speak to the emergence of the Western Cape as one of the world’s leading tourism destinations, on the back of a new, focused approach to growing tourism, and a surge in private sector investment in hospitality infrastructure.

“In the Western Cape, we have prioritised tourism through our Project Khulisa growth strategy. It is our goal to add up to 100 000 additional jobs to the tourism sector. Improving air access is one of our foremost Project Khulisa initiatives. Since July last year, we have secured an additional 500 000 direct two-way airline seats to our province. Cape Town International Airport (CTIA) is a vital partner in reaching these increases. Earlier this month, we were pleased to announce that for the first time they achieved 10 million passengers in a calendar year. They also remain Africa’s most award-winning airports, and it is ranked as one of the most punctual airports in the world. Over the next three years, CTIA will commit R3.6 billion to the realignment of the runway, and significant investment into the expansion of its international and domestic terminals.

“The brand of Cape Town is growing tremendously, we can see that from the numbers. Historically, repeat visitors explore other regions, outside of Cape Town, and these regions need to prepare themselves for the second wave of growth. To respond to these trends, we need to build our tourist asset base by increasing investment into new attractions. As government we are building three new attractions, namely the Cape Cycle network, the Madiba Legacy route and we have repackaged our food and wine offering across the province. We’re also rolling out our province-wide skills drive to ensure we offer quality service. Our job is to help every region to realise its full tourism potential."

 The most notable wins for Western Cape tourism include:

  • Visa rules relaxed; Investor Centre launch set for the second half of 2017;
  • In 2015/16, we secured 30 conference bids, with an estimated economic impact of
  • Wesgro supported 35 events which attracted 100 000 visitors;
  • Foreign tourist numbers grew at 29.8% year-on-year in December;
  • Major attractions achieved growth of 19.8% between 2013 and 2016;
  • Over the next three years, Cape Town International Airport will invest R331million into its new Domestic Arrivals terminal and R996 million for its International Terminal expansion;
  • In March, the Silo hotel will open at the V&A Waterfront;
  • Last year, Marriott International, in partnership with Amdec, announced a R2 billion investment to develop three new properties here;
  • Tsogo Sun is currently adding 500 rooms to accommodation in Cape Town central through the opening of a R680 million hotel;
  • The Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group has also invested significantly into our province. The group has launched the Radisson Red at the V&A Waterfront’s Silo District, and the Radisson Blu Hotel and Residence at the old Triangle House Building.

Snapshot of growth during December at attractions:






Agulhas National Park

5 243

5 700

6 226

6 256

Bontebok National Park

2 316

2 649

3 087

3 339

Cango Caves

33 335

30 221

30 792

31 409

Tsitsikamma National Park

41 708

38 586

40 704

41 575

Wilderness National Park

20 942

25 495

21 300

21 504

Karoo National Park

5 930

5 759

6 246

6 084

Table Mountain Aerial Cableway

120 318

113 310

149 682

150 201

Robben Island

36 870

33 447

47 945

49 738

Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens

89 196

116 986

114 389

118 699

Table Mountain National Park

336 758

325 620

362 718

400 929


692 616

697 773

783 089

829 734

 Snapshot of growth in international arrivals at Cape Town International Airport:


Cape Town International Airport December arrivals





Growth y-o-y

International Arrivals

82 010

84 649

88 608

114 218


Domestic Arrivals

323 514


386 481

398 245



Related documents:

Tourism Trends

Western Cape figures 2016 high season

Air Access Presentation January 2017

Media Enquiries: 

Bronwynne Jooste

Spokesperson: Alan Winde, Minister of Economic Opportunities

Responsible for Tourism, Economic Development and Agriculture

Western Cape Government

Physical Address: 142 Long Street, Cape Town

Tel: 021 483 3550

Cell: 060 970 4301



Twitter: bronwynnejooste