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Cape Town rings in #TourismMonth with several initiatives for locals

The City of Cape Town (CoCT) and Cape Town Tourism (CTT) has kicked off Tourism Month sharing details of a series of activations that showcase Mother City's diverse destination offering, including the launch of "Freedom to Wish".
Image source:
Image source: Gallo/Getty

Speaking to media at Cape Town Ziplines, the City's mayoral committee member for economic growth, Alderman James Vos said the holiday season looks set to be a busy one and this was an important time to highlight the variety of experiences tourists can find around the metro.

In the Western Cape, according to Wesgro in its Tourism Research Overview July 2022, the top five highest year-on-year growth rates in July 2022 for the Western Cape were recorded for Robben Island, Cango Caves just outside Oudtshoorn, Table Mountain National Park: Boulders, Viljoensdrift River Cruise and Table Mountain Aerial Cableway.

Rethinking tourism

"This Tourism Month, we are aiming to inspire discussions about rethinking tourism for development, including education and job creation, as well as how it impacts the environment and opportunities to grow sustainably through this future-focused theme," said Enver Duminy, CEO of Cape Town Tourism.

"Cape Town Tourism and the City of Cape Town are working hard to revitalise the tourism sector in time for the festive period and to show that Cape Town is a city with so much to offer. As the pandemic has taught us, the locals sustain businesses, so rethinking tourism should take into account the domestic market as well. International tourists love Cape Town, but it's the locals who keep the city thriving."

Freedom to Wish

To thank locals for their continued support, the CoCT and CTT are giving locals the Freedom to Wish for the experience of their dreams.

Capetonians are invited to nominate themselves or a loved one to tell the City and Cape Town Tourism the one thing they would love to experience in the city; "whether it’s a stay at a five-star hotel, a cooking class or paragliding over the mountains – we want to help make as many wishes as possible come true," said Vos.

The initiative ties into Find Your Freedom, an interactive concept wherein users choose an avatar for a virtual taste of Cape Town. You begin by choosing your character – a Fearless Foodie, Nature Warrior or Urban Adventurer – and thereafter decide which part of Cape Town you’d like to experience through a series of first-person perspective videos. As a foodie, for example, you can pop into the award-winning La Colombe restaurant or join a local cooking class.

The expected rise in tourists is also being seen by local operators, with Cape Town Ziplines’ managing director, Clinton Lerm, stating that business is back on track to pre-pandemic levels.

Accessible from all major transport routes, the privately owned property Silvermist Estate has several facilities including a restaurant - conference facilities and other team building options as well to cater for groups – or individual bookings. But for adventure enthusiasts, the journey begins with a brief safety introduction at the Cape Town Ziplines office. From here, guests embark on a guided 4x4 drive into the mountain above Constantia, where Cape Town Ziplines borders the Table Mountain National Park Reserve.

The zipline experience offers a tour of the cables starting high in the mountain and slowly descending down the slopes across 12 platforms. Some of the ziplines are as high as 155 meters with the tree top canopy below and the longest of the ziplines in the tour is just under 500m.

"We are extremely excited about the uptick in visitor figures. This is evident in our forward bookings for October, November and December which are already seeing significant growth. In particular, we are seeing an influx of travellers from the US thanks to the work the City and its partners have done in terms of bringing additional flights to Cape Town. As such, we're looking at doubling our team of staff over the holiday season and thereafter," said Lerm.

The month will also include:

  • An engagement with the Khayelitsha Tourism Forum around small business development
  • The Halal Hopper - a walking and foodie tour focusing on Cape Town’s Muslim culture
  • Showing Cape Town’s remote work travel potential as part of a new partnership with Airbnb
  • The Find Your Freedom race around the city with 60 schoolchildren
  • A Durbanville wine valley tour
  • A meeting with hospitality SMMEs based in Helderburg to highlight CTT’s membership benefits

"This variety of events speaks to the ‘Rethinking Tourism’ theme for this year’s Tourism Month. We are aiming to attract travellers from across the country, continent and globe. At the same time, we are empowering small businesses in the sector with access to information, networking opportunities and exposure," said Vos.

Source: ©Cathy Yeulet via
Source: ©Cathy Yeulet via 123RF

The 'rethinking tourism' theme was also in line with the City’s strategy to boost the sector. Under the umbrella of the strategy, the City is:

  • Attracting more flights, via the Air Access initiative, to Cape Town International Airport. In the coming weeks, Delta and United Airlines, both from the US, the UK’s Virgin Atlantic, France's Condor and Air France, Air Belgium, Air Mauritius, and the Swiss Edelweiss are scheduled to start their routes while Lufthansa and KLM are set to increase flights for the summer season.

  • Focusing on attracting the Muslim travel market. The Halal travel sector’s contribution to the global economy is massive and there is room for further growth, particularly for South Africa which is already one of the top five destinations for international Muslim travellers.

  • Pushing national government to roll out the remote work visa to allow international working tourists to stay and spend in South Africa for longer.

  • Highlighting the many pocket-friendly experiences in Cape Town.

    From a free walking tour in Cape Town’s central business district to enjoying a picnic in Green Point Urban Park, or indulging in Cape Town’s best milkshake and hotdog at Wembley Roadhouse in Athlone and getting an art fix at Langa’s Cultural Precinct, to sipping on some craft beers and gin in Hout Bay, "Cape Town is a triple-A-rated destination", said Vos.

    "While this is a term usually used for credit ratings, in this instance I mean three things: accommodation, attractions and aviation. The City government’s commitment to maintaining that rating is made clear by the fact that we direct funding towards CTT and its industry development initiatives; Wesgro which administers Air Access, the Convention Bureau and Cruise Cape Town.

    "People and places have always been at the core of our tourism destination offering. Rethinking tourism for us means constantly evaluating how this sector benefits the communities of Cape Town. South Africa’s tourism sector is forecast to create over 800,000 jobs over the next 10 years. Through hard work, collaboration and innovation, we can realise these opportunities," said Vos.

    To be part of ‘Freedom to Wish’, which opens on 12 September and runs until 27 September, Whatsapp CTT 072 662 0626 or send your 60-second video or email levart.nwotepac@hsiwotmodeerf with your name, the name of the person whose wish you’d like us to grant and their desired Cape Town experience.

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