Cape Town Tourism participated in a challenging tourism industry discussion on Wednesday aimed at reviewing what has been done to combat seasonality in tourism in Cape Town, and what can be done going forward. The multi-stakeholder session was remarkable in that it included three tiers of government all seeking to build the economy in this powerful sector.
A lively panel discussion highlighted the importance of building on to what already exists and learning from what has worked in the past. Key drivers mentioned included domestic tourism initiatives, tapping into events, boosting business tourism, Joint Marketing Agreements with travel trade and safe-guarding our brand narrative and reputation in international markets.
A review of what has been done to combat seasonality was presented by Enver Duminy, CEO at Cape Town Tourism and Chairperson of the Local Organising Committee for Seasonality, as well as Tim Harris, CEO at Wesgro.
Industry sector input was invited with questions from the floor and put to the panel. Some of the resulting responses and comments included:
MEC Alan Winde – Ministry of Economic Opportunities: Collaborative solutions
“We need to collaborate with all stakeholders including all organisations from tourism, related industries such as winemakers and in all tiers of government to find solutions. We must ensure that we’re continually putting out a good message to leverage our brand that is Cape Town. One way of doing this is for organisations to generate more events, as the niche market is important for the economy.”
Chairman of Cape Town Tourism – Enver Mally: Build on local opportunities
“Local experiences can be grown to become attractive to national and then the international market. The Cape Town Cycle Tour wasn’t created to attract international visitors, but it has developed an international reputation over time. What experiences can we create for locals to enjoy that could grow in stature in the same way?”
CEO of SAACI – Adriaan Liebetrau: Exploit the business tourism segment
“Cape Town is already the number one city for business events: opportunities exist to make more out of conferences as opportunities to offer leisure activities to business travelers. Conference delegates are paid for by their companies to be there, and up to 40% of those delegates return within five years for holidays; we need to offer more incentives to this captive market.”
Chairman of FEDHASA Cape – Rob Kucera: Realistic expectations
“We must keep chipping away at the international markets, but also we have to be realistic – bearing in mind that we’re competing against destinations like Barcelona and London, for us it’s winter, but it’s summer in Europe. We need to provide more direct flights and packages that appeal to markets such as the UAE.”
Chairman of SATSA Western Cape – Collin Thaver
“In markets such as the UAE there are challenges that exist when marketing, for example, Ramadan moves constantly and expats in the UAE only get two weeks leave so they usually go home to their families. However, we find that opportunities exist to incentivise the market, as most of the financial year ends in Dubai happen to be in April and June, so new budgets kick in as we enter our winter period.”
“We constantly strive to spread the message that Cape Town is an ideal destination to visit 365 days a year. After years of combatting seasonality as individual organisations, the time has come to collaborate, to inspect what opportunities and offerings exist and to test those. It is encouraging to see that as stakeholders we clearly have the will, creativity and resources to make a difference as we pay attention to all of the details that add up to the big challenge of seasonality in tourism in Cape Town” – Enver Duminy – CEO, Cape Town Tourism