Cape Town Expects More Tourists & Holiday Makers This Summer

Cape Town expects an increase in the number of tourists between now and January as hotel bookings are up with 9%.

Occupancy levels at hotels and bed and breakfast establishments throughout the city are up by 9 percent compared with last year, indicating a possible increase in tourist numbers, says Cape Town Tourism manager Mariette du Toit.

She said, based on a sample group
of Cape Town Tourism members across the city metropole, occupancy levels have reached new heights. But as Cape Town gears up for a bumper holiday season, some township tour operators say they have had immediate cancellations from travel agents in Germany - one of SA's biggest tourist markets - after a German tour bus was held up in Khayelitsha eight days ago.

"Hotel and guesthouse accommodation establishments have reported 60-100 percent occupancy, with the majority showing an occupancy of higher than 80 percent for the period between December and March - the peak tourism period.

"But some have also indicated bookings up until the end of April, so it looks like we could have a good extended season. Last year, the Mother City received some seven million visitors, of which 1,5-million were overseas tourists and over five million were South Africans. "Tourism revenue generated during the period amounted to an estimated R9,2-billion," said Du Toit.

The United Kingdom and Germany were still the top Cape tourist markets, while China, India and the United States were the new emerging markets. She said despite the incident that saw travel agents of the German organisation, Dertour, held up, they had had "positive" feedback from the group. Du Toit was not aware of any cancellations, saying she expected a "continually good" turnout from the German market.

Turning to safety issues, she said: "No one can afford to have the image of Cape Town tarnished. We desperately rely on tourism as a vehicle to spread economic benefits to all our people and as a means by improving living standards by creating sustainable job opportunities. "We rely on the people of Cape Town, the entire tourism industry and our law enforcement agencies to work together on this single most important challenge."

Merril Kushner, tour operations director
at Cape Rainbow Tours, which conducts township tours, said while Germany was their second-biggest market after the UK, they had had "immediate cancellations" following the Dertour incident. Malcolm King from Inkululeko Tours said that while they had not had any cancellations, the incident might have an effect on "short-term bookings".

Meanwhile, the Cape Town Chamber of Commerce
and Industry has appealed to members to provide fair value to tourists and to promote South African products. "Our visitors come to the Cape to enjoy a quality experience and we should make sure they take away good memories and, hopefully, some good Cape products," said president Janine Myburgh.

(Source: The Cape Times 8 December 2005)

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