The tourism sector remains the backbone of the Western Cape economy, supporting over 300,000 direct and indirect jobs in our province alone thanks to the millions of tourists who flock to the region annually to enjoy some of the most scenic and breath-taking locations that the globe has to offer.
That is why we have embarked on a number of initiatives to increase visitors to the province and ensure that we retain a high return visitor rate.
Most recently, in partnership with the City of Cape Town (CoCT), we have launched the Tourism Law Enforcement Unit to provide additional security and assistance to those visiting the City of Cape Town.
Since early November this dedicated Tourism Law Enforcement Unit have been deployed in key tourist areas in the City of Cape Town such as the cable car parking areas, the V&A Waterfront bridge, St Georges Mall and the Bo-Kaap.
Western Cape Minister of Finance and Economic Opportunities, David Maynier, and the City of Cape Town’s Mayoral Committee Member for Safety and Security, JP Smith, met with these law enforcement officers this week.
At the meeting, Minister Maynier said: “The deployment of the Tourism Law Enforcement Unit is one of many actions that we have taken to ensure that visitors have a memorable experience in Cape Town and the Western Cape. There is nowhere better to take a holiday than Cape Town and the Western Cape.”
“The City and the province are determined to make our city safer for all, including both domestic and international visitors. The tourism sector and the jobs it provides are valuable to us, and so we’re deploying staff to the CBD and other tourism areas to ensure the safety of our visitors. I want to stress that our priority for safety is for everyone.” said Alderman Smith.
In addition to the Tourism Law Enforcement Unit, the Western Cape Department of Economic Development and Tourism has been working with municipalities in the Western Cape to ensure they are ready for tourists by increasing staff and doing beach clean-ups. Visitor information centres have also been equipped to deal with any queries and additional traffic management has been scheduled.
For some time now, the Department of Economic Development and Tourism has also been operating a 24-hour, 7-days Tourism Safety and Support Programme, which together with Cape Town Tourism’s Band-Aid initiative, assist and support tourists who may find themselves in situations of distress.
We have also developed a co-ordinated response between government and the tourism industry to ensure that we are able to provide clear messaging on tourism safety and the drought so that visitors are informed when they visit the Western Cape.
Earlier this month we welcomed the Department of Home Affairs’ announcement of the scrapping of the requirement for unabridged birth certificates for foreign visitors by announcing a collaborative marketing campaign with Cape Town and Western Cape tourism industry to entice families to book a holiday in Cape Town & the Western Cape over a specified period.
The marketing campaign, “Come to Cape Town & the Western Cape, where kids stay free!” will see participating partners offer all children free accommodation over this period.
Finally, the Cape Town Air Access project, has done a great deal to ensure more bums on seats at Cape Town International Airport, and helped land 15 new routes and 21 route expansions since its inception. More than 750,000 inbound seats have been added as a result, providing an economic boost of R6 billion to the province.
Airline forward bookings between December 2019 and May 2020 for Cape Town have seen a positive increase with bookings from the USA up by 11%, Germany up by 20% and the United Kingdom up by 30%.
Thanks to the efforts of the Cape Town Air Access team, I look forward to welcoming the first United Airlines flight from New York to Cape Town International Airport on the 16th of December.
There really is nowhere better in the world to come for a holiday, and we look forward to welcoming visitors to enjoy the best that we have to offer in Cape Town and the Western Cape.