Cape needs to capitalise on untapped potential!

Tourism to Cape Town is steadily increasing, but is nowhere near achieving its potential. This was one of the key themes coming from ACSA’s Airline Destination Workshop.

Opening the workshop, Transport Minister, Jeff Radebe, said that inclusive tourism was closely allied to social and economic growth and that despite the successes that Cape Town and the region had enjoyed there was no room for complacency.

He went on to say that while domestic and international landings at South Africa’s airports had increased African passenger numbers were inhibited by poor routings and scheduling.

While the restructuring of African airlines was continuing, the growth in charter flights to meet business travel demand was an indictment of inefficient operators and poor air access between countries.

Nepad would be affected if predictable movements of people and goods across the continent could not be ensured. To this end South Africa would host a continent-wide meeting of aviation ministers to encourage partnerships and cooperation.

Speaking after the minister, Noel Toolan, founder of BrandAid Consulting, relayed the Irish experience and how both the public and private sector delivered a focused strategy to encourage high-value tourism and international investment.

Roshene Singh, SA Tourism’s Domestic Tourism Portfolio Manager and Nokhuthula Dube, the Chief Executive of the Western Cape’s Destination Marketing Organisation (DMO), explained how both organisations were delivering on similarly targeted strategies to deliver ambitious tourism and revenue growth targets for the country and the region.

Dube said that the DMO aimed to grow the number of overseas visitors from the 98 000 who arrived at Cape Town International in 2002 to 2.5 million by 2013. It also aimed to grow spend from R12.2 billion in 2002 to R34 billion.

Its primary target markets are the UK, Germany, the Netherlands and USA, while secondary markets include France, Italy, Span, Ireland, Austria, Belgium, South America, Australasia, the UAE, China and Japan.

Similarly it plans to grow the African market from 400 000 visitors in 2002 to 1.3 million by 2013 and increase spend from R2.5 billion to R9.2 billion.

The domestic market, accounted for 4.4 million visitors in 2002 would be grown to 6.7 million which would see spending increase from R3.2 billion to R5 billion.

Some 200 delegates representing international airlines, tour operators, hotels, provincial and local government are attending the one-day workshop, which aims to define key objectives to secure future tourism growth and develop a measurable implementation plan.

Girish Gopal, acting General Manager of Cape Town International Airport, says ACSA is keenly aware that inbound tourism and investment is vital for the sustainable economic growth of Cape Town and the region.

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