Cape Town’s high-end hotels will feel the lingering bite of the recession this high season, as international visitor numbers are expected to decline compared to last year.
But the gains from the World Cup are set to make up for any shortfall, says David Frandsen, executive manager of international marketing at Cape Town Routes Unlimited.
His words echoed those of Ian Anderson, marketing director for Sun International in London, who commented at the French Travel Market in Paris last week that while bookings for the World Cup were looking good, “the interim period, including the high season in Cape Town, are not looking as good as in previous years”.
‘top-level, high-spend’ was an issue
Frandsen ascribes the expected drop in numbers wholly to the effects of the recession, saying it affected not only South Africa and Cape Town, but also competing long-haul destinations such as Australia, Thailand and Mexico.
He said it was “… important for tourism stakeholders to remain upbeat”, until figures started improving.
Frandsen said on Monday that there had been a “definite tendency” towards cheaper accommodation, where visitor numbers had not decreased significantly.
However, “top-level, high-spend” was an issue, he said.
On the bright side, it was not expected that domestic visitor numbers would drop.
“Our high season has a very strong domestic component, and there is certainly no indication to suggest there will be a downturn in domestic tourism compared to last year.
“We will have a good high season, but possibly spend may be reduced,” Frandsen said, estimating a decline of between two and five percent in visitors from the European market.
But come the World Cup, “we are going to be pumping” during what would usually have been the low season.
The city’s Responsible Tourism Charter initiative, which will commit the city and industry to responsible tourism behaviour and practices, is also likely to boost local tourism. Mayor Dan Plato signed the charter on Monday. The initiative seeks to maximise the economic, social and environmental benefits of tourism, while minimising costs to destinations.
Source: Cape Argus