Tourism booming as city prepares for festive season

The board members of Cape Town Tourism at the annual general meeting, which took place at GrandWest on Wednesday October 25. At back, sixth from left, is the newly elected chairperson, Tracy Thandeka Mkhize.

Cape Town’s tourism industry is booming, with Cape Town International Airport welcoming over four million passengers in the last fiscal year, an increase of over 90% compared to the same period in the previous year.

Additionally, the city’s accommodation occupancy has regularly exceeded 60% since November 2022, and all top tourist attractions have experienced a year-on-year visitor increase.

These were announced by Cape Town Tourism CEO Enver Duminy at the recent annual general meeting, which took place at GrandWest casino on Wednesday October 25.

These figures, he said, indicate a potentially record-breaking high season ahead for the Cape Town Tourism brand, which was recently valued at close to R2 billion by Brand Finance.

“We’re extremely proud of our city’s progress post the pandemic to reclaim market share and be known as a multi-award-winning destination of choice.

“Being named Africa’s Leading City Destination in the World Travel Awards (2021, 2022 and 2023), Africa’s Best City Brand (Brand Finance City Index 2023), and the Greatest City on Earth (UK Telegraph Travel Awards 2023) is paying dividends for our tourism SMME sector, and we hope to see record numbers of international arrivals this December.”

Cape Town Tourism CEO Enver Duminy at the AGM.

Speaking about the year ahead, Mr Duminy said Cape Town Tourism will continue to foster its internal team, and also nurture young talent within tourism through its “The Future Leaders in Tourism” and “Tourism Teachers Think Tanks” programmes.

He urged the tourism leaders in the room to open up doors for the youth. “As the tourism sector continues to grow and we continue on this upward trajectory, so does the demand for skills and for me, unemployment is like a red card we keep giving to our youth, which bashes their hopes of future possibilities. Become referees and issue out tourism green cards. You have the opportunity to transform someone’s life and make them a future leader.”

Cape Town Tourism is also building global partnerships through its global brand and marketing initiative. This partnership aims to foster collaboration with a strategic focus on America and the European Union. Desired outcomes include city-to-city partnerships, media and trade hosting initiatives and marketing partnerships.

Cape Town Tourism has already signed partnerships with destination marketing organisations, Visit Berlin and NYC & Co.

Speaking at the AGM, Mayoral committee member for economic growth, James Vos, said in the past year, Cape Town’s marketing campaigns have far exceeded their targets.

“In America, in March and April this year, we ran a digital campaign that saw a reach of more than 8.2 million people – over 500% above the campaign target. Prior to that, the campaign ran in European cities from November through to December where it received more than 25 million views, exceeding its target by three million views.

He said tourism allows people to experience different sides of Cape Town and to understand its rich history. Furthermore, it creates jobs and puts bread on the table for many South Africans.

“That’s why our mission is to create a tourism-related job in every household.”

Cape Town Tourism’s outgoing chair, Wahida Parker, who is also the managing director of the Table Mountain Aerial Cableway Company, said the marketing initiatives have yielded “exceptional” results.

In stepping down as the chair, Ms Parker expressed her gratitude to the board members, who offered their time to take care of “all things tourism”.

Tracy Thandeka Mkhize, who is also the COO of Cape Town International Convention Centre, was announced as the new chair of Cape Town Tourism.

She said her vision was to get more members involved in the programmes run by Cape Town Tourism, so that they are equipped for “limitless possibilities”.

She also encouraged businesses present at the event to embrace employing people, so that “we have enough people and skills to service visitors who come to South Africa”.

Cape Town Tourism also received its 19th unqualified audit.

“We live in the greatest city on earth, and it’s our privilege to share it with the world. We will continue to work tirelessly to support our tourism sector, our members and all the businesses and people who make this industry exceptional. We are confident this will be a remarkably high season for our city, and we look forward to robust financial in-flows that should help bolster many businesses in this high-inflation environment,” said Mr Duminy.

Cape Town Tourism outgoing chair, Wahida Parker, who is also managing director of the Table Mountain Aerial Cableway Company.