November 2, 2023

: As the nation basks in the glory of our Boks, there’s more good news afoot! At the recent Cape Town Tourism AGM, CEO Enver Duminy said that after a year of tough tackles and triumphant tries, Cape Town International Airport welcomed over 4 million passengers in the last fiscal year, an increase of over 90% compared to the same period in the previous year.

Additionally, the city’s accommodation occupancy has regularly exceeded 60% since November 2022, and all top tourist attractions have experienced a year-on-year visitor increase. These figures indicate a potentially record-breaking high season ahead for the Cape Town Tourism brand, which was recently valued at close to R2 billion by Brand Finance.

Duminy said, “We’re extremely proud of our city’s progress post the pandemic to reclaim market share and be known as a multi-award-winning destination of choice. Being named Africa’s Leading City Destination in the World Travel Awards (2021, 2022 and 2023), Africa’s Best City Brand (Brand Finance City Index 2023), and the Greatest City on Earth (UK Telegraph Travel Awards 2023) is paying dividends for our tourism SMME sector, and we hope to see record numbers of international arrivals this December.”

Looking to the future:

The Bok’s victory wasn’t just a win on the field; it showcased unity, strategic brilliance, and a relentless drive for excellence. Cape Town Tourism wants to harness the energy of the Springbok’s journey to light up its path for the future.

The DMO said these trends echo Cape Town Tourism’s heartbeat and will help it navigate the five core 2024 travel trends, which will shape the tourism landscape next year: Sustainable tourism, experiential travel, technological integration, localised travel, and inclusivity.

The way ahead

“Tourism allows people to experience different sides of Cape Town and to understand its rich history. Furthermore, it creates jobs, reduces unemployment, and puts bread on the table for many South Africans. That’s why our mission is to create a tourism-related job in every household,” said Alderman James Vos, Mayoral Committee Member for Economic Growth.

Duminy said Cape Town Tourism would employ a multi-factor strategy to its game plan, including continuing to foster its own ‘championship team’ internally. A considerable part of the DMO’s mission to nurture young talent within tourism is ‘The Future Leaders in Tourism’ and ‘Tourism Teachers Think Tanks’ programmes. The DMO is committed to strengthening these programmes and exploring partnerships with organisations like CapaCiTi, Youth4Tourism, TBCSA, and Sanlam.

The DMO is also doubling down on keeping tourists safe through a rigorous ‘Tourism Resilience Network’, which symbolises its commitment to safeguarding thousands of tourists across the city in times of adversity.

Additionally, Cape Town Tourism is building global partnerships through its groundbreaking ‘Glocal’ Brand and Marketing initiative. This multifaceted partnership aims to foster a collaboration with a strategic focus on the USA and EU. Desired outcomes include DMO-city partnerships, media and trade hosting initiatives, marketing partnerships, and more.

This agreement with Visit Berlin and NYC & Co is a world-first, where three competing DMOs and destinations will produce a series of content in collaboration, propelling destination marketing and collaboration into uncharted territories.

The DMO says it remains committed, first and foremost, to building the Cape Town brand locally and on a global stage. Wahida Parker, outgoing Cape Town Tourism Board Chairperson, said, “Our marketing initiatives have yielded exceptional results. The Find-Your-Freedom Conversion Campaign, conducted in partnership with Expedia, not only generated a substantial R62 million in direct bookings but also boasted an impressive Return on Advertising Spend of 25:1.”

Cape Town Tourism is still heavily focused on seamless tech, AI and data integration and shared three exciting digital partnerships with In1Solutions, Gecko Digital and Letsema Digital Marketing Agency. These partnerships will help to showcase Cape Town to the world virtually – a strategy that has already paid dividends for the DMO, as seen through its award-winning Find Your Freedom choice-driven immersive experience.

The DMO said its game plan will keep adding to Cape Town’s reputation for radical inclusivity. Continuing its journey of universal access, Limitless Cape Town embodies the region’s commitment to inclusivity and accessibility for all. The initiative uses strategic braille plaques to bring Cape Town’s iconic attractions to life for blind individuals, as well as working and supporting the first qualified blind tour guide in Africa.

Duminy concludes, “We live in the Greatest City on Earth, and it’s our privilege to share it with the world. We will continue to work tirelessly to support our tourism sector, our members and all the businesses and people who make this industry exceptional. We are confident this will be a remarkable high season for our city, and we look forward to robust financial in-flows that should help bolster many businesses in this high-inflation environment.” 


Cape Town Tourism 2022/23 milestones:

–           Expedia Conversion Campaign and ROI: Cape Town Tourism partnered with Expedia for its choice-driven, multi-award-winning Find Your Freedom experience, which enabled prospective visitors to adventure in the city virtually before booking their trip. The partnership resulted in 5 393 foreign travellers coming to Cape Town, injecting R147 million into the local economy and creating 774 total jobs.

–           African routes: Cape Town Tourism and We Are Victoria Falls partnered to attract visitors to both preeminent destinations within the framework of ‘African Routes’. The initiative involves close collaboration with major airlines and private sector operators to enhance the appeal and accessibility of the two beauty spots.

–           A first-of-its-kind-in-Africa virtual venture: The DMO worked with Gecko Digital Global to leverage virtual reality to showcase Cape Town’s attractions to a global audience. Find Your Freedom was a stepping-stone for this venture, focused primarily on the US as a crucial source market for Cape Town.

–           Global brand and marketing narrative: This multifaceted campaign aims to foster an international partnership agreement with a strategic focus on the USA and EU. Desired outcomes include DMO City Partnerships, media and trade hosting initiatives, marketing partnerships and more. This agreement with Visit Berlin and NYC & Co is a world-first, where three competing DMOs and destinations will produce a series of content in collaboration.

–           More for members: Cape Town Tourism landed almost 100 new members in the past fiscal year and introduced a ‘basic tier’ to ensure access and affordability to amplify inclusivity. The DMO is committed to boosting local businesses; it awarded R100 000 to local artisanal company Honest Chocolate as its latest Board Development Fund recipient.

–           Amplifying footfall: The DMO’s Visitor Service Team interacted with over 166 000 visitors and took its bookings conversion rate from 71% to 90%, year on year. The Mobile Team also helped to facilitate milestone events, from the Formula E-Grand Prix to the ABSA Cape Epic.

–           Supporting young people: Cape Town Tourism’s community programmes shared tourism awareness with 763 grade 10-12 learners, upskilled almost 50 teachers via a focused Think Tank, and supported 749 SMEs through sustained workshops and training sessions. The DMO also extended its Future Leaders Programme to include a Work Integrated Learning Project, which placed participants within the tourism industry for invaluable practical training.

–           Limitless Cape Town: the universal access initiative, branded ‘Limitless Cape Town’, is a strategic move towards inclusivity and accessibility. It endorses respect for differently-abled persons – embodying the limitless potential that defines the beloved city.