The Western Cape saw a last-minute increase in summer visitors in 2018, with a growth of 11.5% in international arrivals at Cape Town International Airport. Despite the problems the Western Cape faced with the drought and decreasing domestic tourism, international arrivals are still bringing in revenue. Tourists are also bringing more life into the tourism sector of the South African economy and revitalizing businesses in the province. In 2016, most tourists came from the United Kingdom, Germany, and the United States of America, but now tourists arriving from India and the Middle East is increasingly common.
How big is tourism in the Western Cape?
Over the last ten years, tourism in the Western Cape has been steadily growing because of the large variety of attractions and experiences to be found across the province. Positive word of mouth experiences have also brought in more tourists to Africa. The total market in 2016 was worth over R18-billion with increases of more than 21.6% per year until the drought momentarily slowed down growth in this sector. On average, however, according to the Western Cape government, tourists are staying for longer and spending more money. Domestic travelers, for example, spend around five nights when coming from other provinces, but international visitors stay for an average of eleven nights and spend nine times as much on their holiday.
Western Cape attractions that bring in tourists
The Western Cape has a beautiful setting with its own Floral Kingdom, combined with some of the best activities in the whole of South Africa. The Cape Point on the edge of the peninsula south of Cape Town is South Africa’s most visited natural scenery attraction with over one million people visiting annually. The V&A Waterfront in Cape Town is not only the city’s prime shopping destination but it is also the most visited shopping centre in South Africa. Camp’s Bay Beach was also found to be the most desired beach destination in the country based on studies by the Western Cape Government. The Cape Winelands is the most famous wine growing region in all Africa. To top it off, Robben Island, where Nelson Mandela was kept prisoner, is the most visited cultural site in the country and the only UNESCO World Heritage site in the province.
Tourism’s impact on business
The Western Cape, unlike some regions in South Africa, has a massive international influx of visitors all year round. For businesses, especially those in the Mother City, Cape Town, seasonality is becoming less and less of a problem since people are coming all year round. Visitors in the off-season have gone up by over 33% in the last decade and have helped keep businesses afloat. In business terms, travel and tourism are an added security for anyone considering opening a business and also shows the positive aspect of tourism on the Western Cape’s economy.