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TOURISM: Cape Town Needs To Capitalise On 2010


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Chairman Dirk Elzinga’s report at FEDHASA Cape’s AGM reflected on the negative publicity Cape Town suffered prior to the 2010 World Cup due to exaggerated stories about overpricing, but noted how quickly this changed once the World Cup commenced. According to Elzinga, “59% of the more than 309 000 overseas visitors to Cape Town during the World Cup were first time visitors. 79% stayed in hotels or small accommodation suppliers for an average of 10.3 nights. We had 108 000 visitors in the Western Cape – that’s 878 000 room nights! 92% of foreign visitors said they would recommend South Africa and 96% said they would return”.

Elzinga has been outspoken about the fact that Cape Town is too often criticised for being expensive. “Our image is suffering because of the pricing issue. People compare the worst examples, the extremes. Yes, two hotels recently closed their doors, but we also have colleagues who are running at high occupancies. This is a positive indication for the future. There are several excellent guest houses, for example, where you can stay this weekend for less than R300 per room per night and for R475 per night you can even stay in a four star hotel! So don’t come with stories that Cape Town is too expensive. That is nonsense.”

Did we capitalise enough on the World Cup? “No, I don’t think so,” Elzinga continued. “Are we doing enough to target the new, emerging markets such as India and China? There are 1,000 seats on airplanes flying from the Middle East to Cape Town every day. That is 7,000 seats per week. Imagine how many hotel rooms we could fill if every one of those seats were occupied with new tourists from the Middle or Far East. If we want to explore these new markets, the Department of Home Affairs will have to come to the party so that people applying for visas don’t wait for weeks and weeks for their requests to be processed.”

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