I am pleased to announce that the Western Cape's tourism industry is, once again, experiencing a great summer season.
There was a total of 3 918 900 tourist visits to major tourist attractions in the Western Cape during the month of December 2012, an 8.9% increase from the previous year.
Our drive to increase the number of tourists visiting our province is motivated by our government's number one strategic objective - Creating Opportunities for Growth and Jobs. An increase in tourism numbers means that there is increased revenue for tourism operators and increased ambit for job creation. At present, tourism contributes over 10% to the region's GDP. We aim to increase its contribution to 15% by 2015.
Hearty congratulations to those attractions that experienced significant increases, especially those on the outskirts of the City of Cape Town, as they have to go the extra mile to attract tourists.
A special mention of West Coast National Park, the V&A Waterfront, Table Mountain National Park and Wilderness National Park, who all achieved remarkable increases.
A big thank you to the individuals that work at all our tourist attractions around the Province. It is their tireless work and excellent service that keep tourists coming back for more.
It is unfortunate that the Cape Overberg region experienced a slight decline in tourism numbers, which must have been as a result of the farm worker strike action.
It is also unfortunate that World Heritage Site, Robben Island Museum once again experienced a decline in tourism numbers. According to management at the island, due to bad weather, there were three 'no-boat days' at a cost of approximately 5 000 visitors.
I will request a meeting with management at the island to discuss initiatives that will make proviso for bad weather days.
In our investigations, we have witnessed a dramatic rise in the number of visitors utilising the information kiosk at Cape Town station. This indicates a rise in the number of visitors using trains to travel around or province. The Western Cape is increasingly becoming known as a destination in which people have access to public transport. As the MyCiti bus service is further rolled out, this developing reputation is set to increase.
Our Summer Campaign - "Adventurously Yours, Naturally Ours" - highlights the many adventure and nature activities that the Western Cape has to offer, and invites domestic and international tourists to visit us and explore their adventurous side. The campaign will continue to run until March 2013 to ensure that we continue to receive record numbers of tourist during rest of the summer season.
In the year ahead in order to ensure that the Western Cape attracts visitors all year round, especially during the cold winter months, our Destination Marketing, Investment and Trade Promotion Agency, Wesgro will be aligning with major events like the forthcoming J&B Met, the ABSA Cape Epic, the Cape Town Jazz Festival and Design Indaba. These types of events attract a particular audience which convert into return visitors, as tourists or investors.
Wesgro will also be partnering with associations on the rest of the African continent with the view of drawing more visitors to our province from our continent.
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