With the goal of reaching 21 million tourists by 2030, national government aims to implement a world-class eVisa regime whereby prospective visitors will be able to apply for eVisa’s online, and print the approved eVisa from the convenience of their homes.
“We welcome all plans of action that seek to make the travel of tourists to South Africa seamless. Increased tourism numbers nationally means an increase for our sector provincially." said Wesgro CEO, Tim Harris.
Considering the drought experienced during most of 2018, Cape Town and the Western Cape weathered the storm of the past festive season, with bookings increasing marginally across the province.
The UN World Tourism Organisation forecasts a 3 to 4% growth in international arrivals globally. This is down from the 6% growth experienced in 2018. Making it easier for tourists to visit South Africa through such interventions will therefore boost tourism in an increasingly difficult global environment.
Seeking innovative ways to boost the tourism sector after the drought, a campaign was launched in December 2018 by Wesgro in partnership with the City of Cape Town, provincial government, South African Tourism, The Tourism Business Council of South Africa, Cape Town Tourism, Southern Africa Tourism Services Association (SATSA), FEDHASA, South African Association for the Conference Industry (SAACI), The President Hotel, Marriott International, V&A Waterfront, Airbnb and our private sector players.
Showcasing the breadth and depth of experiences within the Western Cape the global marketing campaign aimed at the UK, Germany and USA market has already reached millions of potential visitors. The campaign can be viewed here www.nowherebetter.co.za.
Our plan also includes the identification of untapped opportunities. A key market identified for 2019/20 is Asia and India.
In November last year, Cape Town Air Access project, housed within Wesgro, contributed to the facilitation of the newly launched direct flight by Cathay Pacific between Cape Town and Hong Kong. This network heralds the first non-stop link between the Western Cape and the heart of Asia.
By connecting the Cape directly to China for the first time, the province hopes to see a marked increase in tourism and investment into the region from this key market.
Harris added, “In addition to the implementation of eVisa’s, Wesgro also welcomes the President’s commitment to growing Agriculture, boosting investment and steps being taken to increase exports – all of which is aligned to the Provincial growth strategy known as Project Khulisa.”
The Minister for Economic Opportunities, Beverly Schäfer, commented: "Tourism is a key sector in our province and we have seen the power of a collaborative approach in action, from our experience with the drought. While economic factors will influence tourism globally for the next while, a sustained focus on innovative projects like Air Access and the Nowhere Does it Better campaign, will help to ensure that the province's tourism sector is protected from major shocks."
Dan Plato, Executive Mayor of Cape Town, said, “I know Cape Town to be an innovative city, as we are always finding new ways to draw the attention of tourists and show them what a wonderful city we have. With the global situation affecting tourism, I am pleased that we have only seen a minor drop in numbers, but I would like to see these numbers going up in the very near future and I am sure that with all the hard working and dynamic agencies and partners we have working on this we will see an improvement.”
Mayoral Committee Member for Economic Opportunities and Asset Management, Alderman James Vos, added: “As a City and province, we have displayed resilience and a willingness to challenge ourselves in coming up with innovative solutions to address the numerous obstacles challenging our tourism industry and other economic sectors. We are most pleased with the results of the campaign to date, as it demonstrates what can be achieved if we work together, across the public and private sector, towards a common goal.”
Wesgro is Cape Town and the Western Cape's official Tourism, Trade and Investment Promotion Agency, and receives its mandate and funding from the Western Cape Government's Department of Economic Development and Tourism and the City of Cape Town.
Issued by Wesgro Media Team, 8 February 2019