TOURISM: Cautious Optimism On Improving Arrivals
Recent Western Cape Business News
Sentiment emerging from the World Travel Market in London is that the 2010 World Cup has changed the perceptions of South Africa as a global destination of choice, given the improvement of arrival figures from Europe and the USA for August 2010 compared with August 2009 Statistics South Africa figures. Similarly there has been a considerable improvement in arrival figures for the period January - August 2010, compared with the figures for the period January - August 2009.
If one compares August 2009 figures with those of August 2010, the following emerges: Arrivals from the United Kingdom have increased by 11,2%; Germany by 12.5%; USA by 35.2%; France by 3.9% and Italy has decreased by 2.3%. If one makes the same comparison with January – August 2009 and January – August 2010 figures the following is evident: Arrivals from the United Kingdom has increased by 11%; Germany by 10.7%; USA by 25.7%; France by 9.2% and Italy by 9.4%.
“The excellent performance in arrivals in August 2010 compared with August 2009 from the United Kingdom is most encouraging as this is the first full month not influenced directly by the staging of the World Cup in South Africa.” comments Mathew Armstrong, South African Tourism’s Tourism Trade Manager in London. “The 11.2% increased performance represents 34 068 arrivals in August 2010 from the United Kingdom to South Africa, 3440 arrivals up from August 2009” adds Armstrong. This is very important for Cape Town and the Western Cape, as more than 70% of these arrivals typically include the destination in their travel itineraries.
There is however a note of concern with regard to the high price of accommodation services, particularly in Cape Town. “We held a number of meetings with the big outbound tour operators in the United Kingdom and there is a universal chorus of concern with regard to the unrealistic pricing of many four and five star hotels in Cape Town; the effects of which are exacerbated by the strong rate of exchange between the Rand and the British Pound,” comments David Frandsen, Cape Town Routes Unlimited’s Executive Manager of International Marketing and the Cape Town Convention Bureau, who is attending the World Travel Market.
“Hoteliers should be cognisant of the pricing of accommodation services in competitor destinations globally and also take the fluctuation of the local currency into consideration when setting their rates.” comments Paul Hopkinson, Head of Marketing at Travelbag.co.uk, one of the premier outbound tour operators in the United Kingdom. “It does not make sense to publish rack rates at unrealistic levels and to engage in persistent discounting in order to attract business where the achieved rate is often 50% lower than the published rack rate. This has the effect of driving prospective visitors to Cape Town to competitor destinations such as Thailand, Florida and Brazil where the pricing is more realistic.” comments Norma Meyer, Managing Director of ECCO Tours.
“The early indications of a turnaround in the performance of our traditional tourism source markets in Europe and the excellent performance out of the USA is most encouraging. We urge the local industry to heed the calls of the international tour operators to review their pricing structures, which will ensure maximum competitiveness so that we can take full advantage of this improving performance.” comments CEO of Cape Town Routes Unlimited, Calvyn Gilfellan.
Given the importance of these markets as Cape Town and the Western Cape’s premier international tourism source markets, this is very good news for the local travel industry that have had to weather difficult trading conditions due to the prolonged poor economic conditions in the destination’s premier European and American markets.
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