Alan Winde, Minister of Economic Opportunities said online airline bookings showed that tourism arrivals for December and January showed a five percent year-on-year increase.
In 2016, 160 511 international tourists travelled to the region in December.
Winde said:”Between January and March 2017, the Western Cape already attracted a total of 1 000 156 international and domestic visitors. Of these visitors, 472 156 foreign tourist arrivals were recorded during this period, a 6% increase from the same period last year. This resulted in a foreign direct spend of R5,7 billion (€351m) and a 1,2% increase in expenditure compared with the first quarter in 2016.”
He noted that this had had a positive impact on the economy, as the tourism sector supported more than 300 000 jobs in the Western Cape and contributed over R38 billion (€2,34bn) to the economy last year.
“As we continue driving growth in tourism, we must ensure that this sector contributes to sustainability. While international tourists only make up around 1% of our total population during the peak season, it is still important that we share our water-savings message with tourists.”
At the start of December, the Western Cape Government, local municipalities and tourism officers began hosting awareness events along the N2, N1 and N7.
“We’ll be distributing around 20 000 hand sanitisers, branded with water-savings tips. Through this event, we will be welcoming tourists into our province and making sure they are aware of the water crisis.”
Wesgro CEO, Tim Harris, said: “We expect an increase in tourists during this peak season. While international tourists only add approximately 1% to the population of the Cape at any given time during the peak season, they will contribute more than R5 billion (€308 million) to the provincial economy in just three months. Wesgro, however, appeals to all tourists visiting our province to do everything they can to save water. Reduce your water consumption to under 87 litres per person per day.”
Wesgro and the Western Cape Government, in partnership with CapeNature and Airbnb, have started distributing 2 300 low-flow shower heads to guesthouses, B&Bs and Airbnb hosts across the province.