Western Cape tourism sector continues to thrive, even surpassing pre-Covid numbers

A Singapore Airlines aircraft takes off from Cape Town International Airport past Devil’s Peak and Table Mountain. Picture: Armand Hough/African News Agency (ANA)

A Singapore Airlines aircraft takes off from Cape Town International Airport past Devil’s Peak and Table Mountain. Picture: Armand Hough/African News Agency (ANA)

Published Oct 17, 2023


Cape Town - Statistics for two-way passengers travelling through the Western Cape reached more than 1.7 million between January and August, exceeding the pre-Covid-19 pandemic.

In its monthly tourism report, the Western Cape government’s trade, investment and tourism promotion agency (Wesgro) said air traffic in and out of the province had grown by 64% compared with January and August last year.

Commenting on the impressive reports, Western Cape Finance and Economic Opportunities MEC Mireille Wenger said that although the province’s tourism and hospitality sector had experienced difficult times over the past few years, it kept bouncing back.

“The August 2023 monthly tourism report gives us yet more reason to celebrate with impressive increases in tourists to the province between January and August this year, compared to last year.”

The report by the tourism agency highlighted all of the province’s airports, including outlying George Airport, which recorded about 511 919 two-way passengers between January and August, representing a 3% yearon-year increase compared with the same period last year.

Wesgro’s report also revealed that between January and August, Cape Town recorded 562 818 tourist arrivals via air, of which 90% originated from overseas markets and 10% from the African continent.

According to the Western Cape Department of Finance and Economic Opportunities, passengers from the UK led as the top source market to travel to Cape Town through air travel, closely followed by passengers from the US, Germany, the Netherlands and France.

“Footfall to 36 participating attractions across the six regions of the Western Cape recorded a total of 607353 visitors in August 2023, which translated to 72% growth in the number of visitors compared to August 2022,” the department said.

Wesgro also recorded the top 5 highest year-on-year growth rates in August for Table Mountain Aerial Cableway (86%), Table Mountain National Park (100%), Groot Winterhoek Wilderness Area (96%), West Coast National Park (89%) and Harold Porter National Botanical Garden (88%).

Wenger said it was encouraging to see continued growth in tourism and hospitality – a major job-creating sector.

“Three weeks ago, we celebrated the impressive contribution the Air Access team, powered by Wesgro, made to increasing air connectivity into the Western Cape, boosting inclusive economic growth and job creation in the province, with the news that in 2022 alone, the arrival of 605000 foreign passengers via air injected R24.3 billion into the Western Cape economy in supporting 10600 jobs.”

Less than two weeks ago, Wesgro also revealed that the Western Cape had welcomed the province’s biggest number of cruise ships to date, generating an estimated R1.2bn for the provincial economy, and creating roughly 1800 local jobs.

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Cape Argus