Tourism in the Western Cape Due to Rise this Summer Season
Media Statement by Alan Winde, Minister of Finance, Economic Development and Tourism
Based on early calculations, I am optimistic that the province's tourism industry will experience a good summer season. Arrivals at the Western Cape's major airports and visitor numbers at attractions across the province in November 2011 were higher than in November 2010.
In November 2011, the Cape Town International Airport registered a 14% increase in international arrivals, an 11.7% increase in regional arrivals and a 3.6% increase in domestic arrivals compared to November 2010.
Of our major attractions, the V&A Waterfront registered 1 828 600 visitors this November, a year-on-year increase of 7.2%. Visitor numbers to Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens also increased by over 7%, from 58 076 in November 2010 to 62 194 in November 2011.
Visitor numbers to attractions in other parts of the Western Cape increased more dramatically, suggesting that tourists are heading off the beaten track to experience locations further afield. This is positive news for our smaller towns that rely on the contribution of tourism to boost their economy and create jobs.
In November 2011, the Cape Agulhas Lighthouse received 24.8% more visitors when compared with November 2010. The Worcester Open Air Museum saw a 56.5% increase in visitors, and the Garden Route national parks in Knysna and Tsitsikamma each received over 25% more visitors. In addition, accommodation establishments along the Garden Route have reported very high occupancy rates.
We are pleased by these early signs that tourism to our province is on the increase. Based on these numbers, we expect that this summer will be a good one for the industry, which will be a relief for those who have suffered through a very hard year.
I am also pleased to note that the majority of visitors perceive our pricing to be acceptable.
At present, tourism contributes over 10% to the region's GDP. We aim to increase its contribution to 15% by 2015.
Throughout 2011, we have marketed the province's tourism industry in new and emerging markets across the globe. We have also successfully hosted several major events that raised the profile of the destination in overseas locations. These initiatives are targeted at bringing visitors to our destination. Now that they are here, I would like to call on local residents to welcome them with open arms as this is arguably the most powerful factor in determining whether they return and encourage others to visit. This summer season, let us all play our part in increasing tourism to Cape Town and the Western Cape by being ambassadors for our province.