Cape Town – Despite the ongoing worldwide economic dip resulting in shrinking tourism figures, South Africa’s Western Cape tourism industry showed significant growth in 2011.
With approximately five months left before winter sets in, more growth is forecast as foreign and domestic tourists pour into the province.
The latest statistics have shown that a total of 4.21 million passengers arrived at Cape Town International Airport in 2011. This is 4.16 percent higher than what was achieved in 2010 when the country hosted the FIFA World Cup.
This announcement was made on Thursday by Western Cape Tourism MEC Alan Winde.
He said that in December, the iconic Table Mountain Cableway, Cape Point and Kirstenbosch Gardens – three of the province’s popular tourist magnets – had experienced inspiring growth.
The Cableway achieved a record number of 112 000 visitors, 46.6 percent higher than last year, he said, attributing this growth in part to “better weather”.
He said Cape Point had received 106 672 visitors, 187 percent more compared to 2010, while Kirstenbosch Gardens had received 77 300 visitors, 2 percent up in comparison to 2010.
“Our success in achieving these statistics is in part due to the hard work of the industry and the welcoming attitude of all residents of the province,” Winde said.
He noted that last year, Cape Town had achieved a number of international accolades making it a favourite destination for many tourists from around the world.
These, he said, included the World Design Capital 2014, the famous Table Mountain being voted as one of the new seven wonders of nature, as well as being “one of Lonely Planet’s top 10 beach cities”.
Winde said that this year, they would “continue to focus on this industry to achieve growth and job creation”.
His multi-pronged approached would include promoting the province in traditional and new markets “with special emphasis on Africa, the Middle East and the BRICS countries.
“We will be placing special emphasis on increasing the standard of service delivery in our province and calling on all hospitality establishments to up their game.”
On the downside, he said Robben Island had received 3 140 less visitors compared to 2010, a 7.5 percent decline.
“I have requested a meeting with the Robben Island team to discuss possible improvements.” – Francis Hweshe, BuaNews