Tourism figures soar in West CapeJanuary 12th, 2012 by Andrew Moth | Categories: government, industry, tourism
It’s official: The Western Cape tourism industry is experiencing a great summer season. In December 2011, passenger arrivals into Cape Town International Airport and key attractions around the province achieved significant year-on-year growth.
The province’s MEC for tourism, Alan Winde, said in Cape Town today:
“This December holiday, Cape Town International Airport received 86 910 international arrivals. This is 12 436 more than last December, representing an increase in arriving international passengers of 17.07%. Regional arrivals increased by 26.78% to 7 139, and domestic arrivals increased by 4.52% to 337 385. This followed similar year-on-year increases in November 2011 of 14%, 11.7% and 3.6% respectively.
“Preliminary statistics reveal that a total number of 4.21-million passengers arrived at Cape Town International Airport in 2011. This is 4.16% higher than what was achieved in 2010, the year that we hosted the FIFA World Cup.
“Statistics from key Western Cape tourism attractions located around the province are further evidence that we are experiencing a good summer tourism season.
“This past December, the Table Mountain Cableway, Cape Point and Kirstenbosch Gardens – three of the province’s most popular tourist attractions – all experienced significant growth. The Cableway achieved a record number of 112 000 visitors, 46.6% higher than last year due in part to better weather. Cape Point received 106 672 visitors, 18.7% more than in December 2010, and Kirstenbosch Gardens received 77 300 visitors, 2% more than in December 2010. Boulders, another tourist favourite, increased its visitor numbers by 22.9% to 68 942 this December.”
Winde had harsh words for the people responsible for Robben Island as a tourism destination and World Heritage Site.
“Despite the good weather, Robben Island received 3 140 fewer visitors than in December 2010, a decrease of 7.5%. This World Heritage Site continues to be plagued by bad service, staff with a questionable work ethic and shoddy infrastructure. Instead of being an icon of our province and country, Robben Island has become a blemish on our tourism industry.
“I have requested a meeting with the Robben Island team to discuss possible improvements.
“While most tourism attractions in locations outside of Cape Town continued to show growth following a strong November, others registered a decline. De Hoop Nature Reserve, Arniston and Napier grew visitor numbers by 23%, 144% and 16.7% cent respectively, while Elim and the Agulhas Lighthouse registered 43.7% and 11.8% fewer visitors, respectively.
“These figures suggest that we need to devise more innovative solutions, in collaboration with the private sector, to market the province’s entire tourism offering.
“Despite the ongoing economic downturn that is affecting tourism numbers across the world, the Cape’s tourism industry showed remarkable growth in 2011.”