Western Cape’s Tourism Industry: Beyond Recovery and Towards Growth

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tourism industry western cape

Cape Town International Airport (CTIA) achieved a significant milestone in April 2023 as the airport’s share of overseas tourists reached full recovery compared to its pre-pandemic levels in April 2019. During the month, CTIA recorded a total of 67,747 tourist arrivals via air, with 87% coming from overseas markets and the remaining 13% from the African continent, according to the monthly tourism report from Wesgro, the Western Cape Government’s trade, investment, and tourism promotion agency.

Shifting to Growth

Mireille Wenger, Western Cape Minister of Finance and Economic Opportunities, expressed her satisfaction with this accomplishment and emphasized the importance of shifting from recovery to growth in the tourism and hospitality sectors. Increased tourism would mean more jobs for local residents. Wenger also celebrated recent developments such as the inauguration of a direct flight from Eswatini to Cape Town.

Key Statistics

The monthly report highlighted several key statistics, including a 39% year-on-year growth in international two-way passengers in April 2023, reaching 218,325 passengers. Additionally, over 574,528 domestic two-way passengers traveled through CTIA during this period, registering a 7% increase compared to April 2022 and an 80% recovery compared to April 2019.

Top Source Markets

The United Kingdom was the leading source market for air travel to Cape Town between January and April 2023, followed by Germany, the United States, the Netherlands, and France. Europe remained the most significant contributor to tourist arrivals, accounting for seven of the top ten source markets.

Recovery from Top Source Markets

Cumulatively, tourist arrivals between January and April 2023 demonstrated full recovery from six of the top ten source markets compared to the same period in 2019. These markets included the United Kingdom, Germany, the United States, the Netherlands, Canada, and Zimbabwe. Additionally, Belgium and Italy are rapidly approaching a complete recovery.

Attractions and Vineyards

Visitor numbers to 24 participating attractions across the Western Cape increased by 50% in April 2023 compared to the previous year, reaching 573,262 visitors. This figure represents 91% of the visitor numbers recorded in April 2019. The top five highest year-on-year growth rates for April 2023 were observed at Stony Point, Table Mountain Aerial Cableway, Table Mountain National Park: Cape of Good Hope, Cango Caves, and Table Mountain National Park.

Minister Wenger congratulated Boschendal wine estate for being named the world’s most Instagrammed vineyard, surpassing competitors in the United States, Australia, France, and Spain. Three other Western Cape vineyards also ranked among the top 30 most beautiful vineyards globally: Tokara, Waterkloof, and Spier.

Inviting Residents to Explore

As the region enters its winter season, Wenger encourages residents to explore and share their favorite spots on social media. This invitation serves as a testament to the Western Cape’s resilience and the potential for further growth in the tourism industry, as it continues to rebound from the challenges of the pandemic.

A Russian-Spanish journalist and Cape Town native, channels his lifelong passion for South Africa into captivating stories for his local blog. With a diverse background and 50 years of rich experiences, Serjio's unique voice resonates with readers seeking to explore Cape Town's vibrant culture. His love for the city shines through in every piece, making Serjio the go-to source for the latest in South African adventures.

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