Cape Town Air Access, powered by Wesgro, has released updated figures for the estimated economic impact of international passengers travelling to Cape Town and the Western Cape. The figures highlight the remarkable economic contribution of air travel to the local economy, emphasising its role in job creation, direct tourism expenditure, GDP growth, and air cargo transported.
Underpinning the indispensable role of aviation in the tourism sector in the province, the arrival of 605 000 foreign passengers injected a whopping R24.3 billion into the Western Cape economy in 2022 alone, supporting 10 600 jobs. This means that for every 100 international passengers travelling to Cape Town and the Western Cape, R2.1 million is generated in direct tourism spend. In addition, the same 100 passengers support the movement of R1.4 million worth of air cargo for the province.
The findings reveal that the aviation sector plays a pivotal role in economic prosperity - with the arrival of every 100 passengers enabling an impressive injection of R500 000 to the provincial GDP (Gross Domestic Product) through direct and indirect aviation value chains, enabling two local jobs.
A further analysis of the demographic breakdown of these travellers shows that out of every 100 passengers, 39 are South African nationals, while the remaining 61 are of foreign origin. For the top five markets the distribution includes, on average: eight passengers from the United Kingdom; six from Germany; five from the United States; three from the Netherlands; and three from Namibia - all indicative of our top source tourism and export markets.
"These latest economic impact assessment results underscore the significance of the Cape Town Air Access project and its role in increasing direct air connectivity, creating a ripple effect on both tourism and the broader economy. With the upcoming peak summer season expected to surpass 2019 passenger levels, it is clear this number will continue to grow in 2023," says Wrenelle Stander, Wesgro CEO and official spokesperson for Cape Town Air Access.
Mayoral Committee Member for Economic Growth at the City of Cape Town, Alderman James Vos, said: "Aviation is a pillar of Cape Town's destination value offering and fits in perfectly with my goal to help create a tourism-related job in every household in the metro, because when we land more flights, multiple industries benefit. As such, the City is proud to be a funding partner of the Air Access initiative which has boosted the local tourism sector and the wider economy. We look forward to seeing our aviation industry soar to even greater heights in the coming months."
“These results re-affirm the aviation sector's growing significance as a major engine of economic development, and its far-reaching contributions to other industries as a catalyst for a spectrum of economic activity. The incredible work that Cape Town Air Access has been doing since 2015 continues to pay dividends with the province currently capturing a large share of South Africa’s business and tourism traffic. It’s also worth noting that the passenger and cargo connectivity provided from Western Cape has positively impacted Foreign Direct Investment and trade, providing an even greater access to foreign markets, encouraging exports, and increasing competition in the local economy,” concluded Western Cape Minister of Finance and Economic Opportunities, Mireille Wenger.