Tourism Month 2021 marks the start of what will hopefully be a period of welcome relief for the tourism and hospitality sector, however the success of South Africa’s summer season remains dependant on the opening of the economy in the Western Cape.
And so, with the decrease in Covid-19 infections and an exit from a third wave peak, together with the continued successful Covid-19 vaccination rollout in the province, it is critical that the national government consider the easing of lockdown restrictions which are impacting on businesses in the Western Cape.
Where it is safe to do so, they must consider the easing of restrictions on the sale of alcohol, the curfew and the size of gatherings. They also need to consider increasing the capacity of large conferencing venues and the attendance of spectators at sporting events where those attending are fully vaccinated.
The tourism sector generated R15,5 billion in gross value add and supported 174 982 jobs in 2019 in the Western Cape. But the sector has been hard hit and, while the Western Cape maintains the lowest unemployment rate in South Africa, the tourism sector is estimated to have lost 75 477 jobs in 2020.
This is why reigniting tourism is important for jobs and the economy in the Western Cape.
South African government states that it will continue to do everything within its reach to ensure the most successful summer season possible by tackling barriers to growth for the tourism and hospitality sector, increasing connectivity to the region and running its award-winning destination marketing campaigns, showcasing the best that Cape Town and the Western Cape has to offer.
Last year saw a noticeable uptick in domestic arrivals post-winter and the first wave lockdown, and this year it is expected a similar pattern as domestic airlines resume operations.
As restrictions ease on travel to and from South Africa, more international airlines are also scheduled to return to Cape Town International Airport. With key European source markets, such as Germany, France and the Netherlands now open to travel to South Africa, the summer season is poised to be a much better season than last year for the South African economy.
Evidence of this is already manifested with Cape Town International Airport achieving a 21% passenger recovery rate for the first three weeks of August 2021, compared to the same period in 2019, while international airline capacity reached the 50% recovery mark for the first time since the resumption of international services in October 2020.
South Africa’s tourism and promotion agency, Wesgro, is already hard at work on campaigns for the upcoming summer season with an international campaign running in Germany and the Netherlands and a domestic campaign planned for October.
If you are looking for ideas for your next visit to Cape Town and the Western Cape, then visit the website below where you can use one of various regional itineraries for inspiration: