WC tourism keeps growing – first quarter tourist arrivals via air up by 16%!

13 May 2024 | SANews

Tourist arrivals to Cape Town by air recorded a remarkable 16% year-on-year increase between January and March 2024, reaching 336,268 visitors. This not only shows a significant recovery but also surpasses the 2019 figure for the same period.

We are thrilled to welcome the world to our vibrant region because more tourists mean more jobs in the province,” celebrated Provincial Minister of Finance and Economic Opportunities, Mireille Wenger.

This is according to the first quarter tourism report for January to March 2024, compiled by the Western Cape Government’s (WCG) tourism, trade and investment promotion agency, Wesgro.

Other highlights from the report include:

  •  Between January and March 2024, the United Kingdom (UK) led as the top overseas air market to Cape Town, with Germany a very close second, followed by the USA, Netherlands and France in the rest of the top 5 positions.The first quarter of 2024 showed a strong European presence, with 8 out of the top 10 source markets originating from the continent. Overseas air arrivals to Cape Town during the period January and March 2024 reflected full recovery from 7 out of the top 10 source markets to Cape Town versus January to March 2019. These markets included the UK, Germany, USA, Netherlands, Canada, Belgium and Ireland. (Source: StatsSA)
  •  Between January and March 2024, Namibia led as the top air market from the African continent to Cape Town, with Zimbabwe in a very close second position. Angola, Mozambique and Kenya followed in the rest of the top 5 positions. Air arrivals to Cape Town from the rest of Africa during the period January and March 2024 reflected full recovery from 8 out of the top 10 source markets to Cape Town versus January and March 2024. These markets included Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Kenya, Mauritius, Nigeria, Botswana, Tanzania and Ghana. (Source: StatsSA)
  • Cape Town International Airport (CTIA’s) international terminal saw a 17% year-on-year two-way passenger growth in March 2024, with 318,366 two-way passengers, reflecting an even stronger growth rate on the back of a 13% increase recorded in January 2024 and 14% in February 2024.Meanwhile, the domestic terminal recorded a 11% year-on-year two-way passenger growth in March 2024, with over 640 000 two-way passengers passing through the terminal. George Airport recorded 70,640 two-way passengers in March 2024 and in relation to 2019, the year-to-date passenger movement between January and March 2024 recovered by 98%. (Source: ACSA)
  • While air routes are hard at work bringing in the visitors, the 53 participating Western Cape attractions across the six regions of the Western Cape recorded a total of 2,587,808 visitors between January and March 2024, a 23% growth in the number of visitors when compared to January – March 2023.

The top 5 participating Western Cape attractions with the highest volume of visitors between January and March 2024 were recorded for:

  • Table Mountain National Park (951,767)
  • Table Mountain Aerial Cableway (346,277)
  • Table Mountain National Park: Cape of Good Hope (299,392)
  • Table Mountain National Park: Boulders Beach (256 098)
  • Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden (205 207)

The top 5 highest year-on-year growth rates between January and March 2024 were recorded amongst the Western Cape’s nature/outdoor attractions:

  • Vrolijkheid Eco Venue (782%)
  • Avalon Springs (400%)
  • Stony Point Eco Venue (351%)
  • Swartberg Nature Reserve (200%)
  • De Hoop Nature Reserve (185%) (Source: Western Cape Attractions & LTOs)

Minister Wenger added that “tourism is a cornerstone of our strategic economic initiative, G4J, or ‘Growth for Jobs’. Our aim is bold: to stimulate our economy, attract investments, and create job opportunities that transform lives and lift many more residents from poverty to prosperity.

To achieve this, we’re setting ambitious targets, like doubling our visitor numbers by 2035, and working to remove obstacles to growth like the visa regime.”

“For every 100 international visitors, the Western Cape gains R2.1 million in direct tourist spend, adds R500,000 to our GDP, and creates two local jobs. This excellent performance underscores the importance of tourism for growth and job creation in our region.

“To continue to build on our impressive growth, the Western Cape Government recently launched the latest iteration of the R4 million Tourism Growth Fund, aimed at increasing visitor numbers, by continuing to build our destination, enrich our attractions, and expand our offerings—ultimately creating more jobs and prosperity across the province,” Minister Wenger concluded.


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