High expectations for SA’s tourism sector in 2017

Online since 1.03.2017 • Filed under Tourism • From Issue 5 - March 2017 - August 2017 page(s) 86-87
High expectations for SA’s tourism sector in 2017

South Africa’s tourism industry could be referred to as the country’s proverbial pot of gold. Based on the most recent preliminary visitor figures released by top tourist destinations and Cape Town International Airport, it is expected that tourism will, once again, provide an invaluable contribution to the country’s national GDP this year.

According to Josiah Montsho, General Manager at Pepperclub Hotel & Spa, a 5-star luxury hotel in Cape Town’s CBD, the country’s tourism industry plays a major role in contributing towards economic growth, and witnessing the industry perform beyond expectations is an encouraging sign for the local economy.

‘After experiencing the biggest decline in six years in 2015 because of changes to visa and immigration policies, the industry has made an exceptional recovery,’ notes Montsho. He points to the milestone of 10 million passengers recorded by Cape Town International Airport in 2016, the highest number ever recorded. The airport also showed an 8% year-on-year increase in December 2016, recording over half a million arrivals during the month.

‘Cape Town in particular reported a bumper peak season – with most of the popular tourist attractions reporting record preliminary visitor numbers for December 2016,’ he adds.

Montsho points to the preliminary figures for visitor traffic recently released by five of Cape Town’s major attractions, all reporting record year-on-year figures in December, including increases for Table Mountain Aerial Cable Way (0,3%), Cape Point in Table Mountain National Park (15%), Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens (6%), Robben Island (4%) and Groot Constantia (25%).

‘As South Africa offers international travellers a variety of experiences at an affordable price, it comes as no surprise that the country has quickly regained its popularity among travellers,’ comments Montsho. ‘We can expect this trend to continue into 2017 with more developments planned to attract a range of travellers to our shores, for both business and leisure.’

He continues to explain that, according to the 2017 Virtuoso Luxe Report, South Africa is the number one destination for adventure in the world, as well as the second spot for best global destination and fourth for top emerging destination.

The report also revealed that key reasons for travel in 2017 are to explore new destinations, enjoy authentic experiences, to indulge in rest and relaxation, personal enrichment and to seek adventure.

‘South Africa, and in particular the Western Cape, caters perfectly for all of these types of experiences and the sector is working hard to provide even more opportunities for local and international travellers alike,’ says Montsho.

He refers to recent commentary made by Western Cape Economic Development MEC, Alan Winde, on expected trends for tourism in the Western Cape in 2017 – such as a number of new tourism and hospitality developments for Cape Town’s foreshore area, a new cycle tourism route and a new Madiba Legacy Route – all with the aim of adding value and new experiences for visitors in Cape Town, while creating 100 000 new jobs for the Western Cape tourism sector.

‘Overall, we can expect tourism to continue to meet annual targets and positively contribute to the muchneeded growth of the South African economy,’ concludes Montsho.

Issue 5 - March 2017 - August 2017

Issue 5 - March 2017 - August 2017

This article was featured on page 86-87 of SABI Magazine Issue 5 - March 2017 - August 2017 .

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