Cape Town focuses on tourism for inclusive growth

“Welcome to Cape Town. Let’s see you smiling. Put on your dancing shoes, Cape Town welcomes you…”

Originally written by David Kramer, and performed by an array of big-name artists over the years, the song has always been the perfect reflection of the city and its people’s love for showing visitor a great time.

For a year-and-a-half, the coronavirus pandemic has disrupted people’s travel plans worldwide. With normality starting to return, we are again ready to roll out the red carpet for guests from near and far.

Cape Town Tourism has some grand plans. Not just to reignite the local economy through tourism opportunities, but also to actively promote growth that benefits everyone, explains CEO Enver Duminy.

“By putting people, the planet, and prosperity at its core, tourism for inclusive growth aspires to develop a sector that is more resilient and innovative, creating jobs, promoting sustainable growth and inclusivity,” he says.

“There was a large perception before the Covid-19 pandemic that tourism was for visitors only, but what the pandemic has taught us is that we need communities and locals to support their local tourism industry.

“In an attempt to revitalise the tourism industry, Cape Town Tourism and the City of Cape Town have launched a series of local ‘pocket friendly’ campaigns to show South Africans, and the world, that Cape Town has so much to offer and is affordable. The Pocket Friendly guides highlight the value-for-money experiences that people may not be aware of, encouraging locals to visit and in doing so, boost the tourism industry.”

Cape Town is indeed a destination for every kind of budget. There are literally hundreds of offerings in the city that won’t cost you a cent (More on the Pocket Friendly Challenge here.)

And it is with this in mind that James Vos, the city’s mayoral committee member for economic opportunities and tourism, is hoping to keep Cape Town top of mind as an affordable destination, with something for everyone.

“We have to continuously drive the message that Cape Town is a safe and healthy destination for different kinds of travelers. That’s why our campaigns are targeted engagements for the domestic and international markets that appeal to their specific needs,” says Vos. “Simultaneously, we are providing tangible support to small businesses through mechanisms such as a new training manual developed by Cape Town Tourism and Cape Peninsula University of Technology and a dedicated business helpdesk.

At the same time, we are continuing our lobby efforts on several fronts, including getting South Africa off the UK’s red list, getting National Government to implement a Remote Worker Visa, and approving the US’s Delta Airlines’ request to add Cape Town to their route.”

Vos is optimistic about tourism recovery in the Cape.

With sleeves rolled up and renewed energy, he says he is ready to put in the hard work to get the turnaround plan firing on all cylinders.

“We are facing a great many challenges but the City, together with its sectoral partners, is implementing campaigns and strategies that will help business regain what they have lost, and respond to a post-Covid traveler who is looking for different kinds of experiences.”

Lizo MC Mgobozi knows all about those different kinds of touristic experiences. As chairman of the Langa Tourism Forum, he’s been key in putting the area on the map and promoting it as a destination for visitors.

“Langa has a huge potential. (Our plan) is to grow the township economy to maximum potential,” he says, adding that the dream is to see the area become part of the main stream tourism sector. “We are starting to put systems and procedures in place for the community at large and to benefit the various industries. (One day) we will get to the point where we sell township experiences to the world. That will mean true representation.”

Duminy, Vos, Mgobozi, and the cast of thousands, are working tirelessly behind the scenes to make sure the city is ready to welcome visitors from every corner of the globe, not just in Tourism Month, but beyond. We’re gearing up for summer. Those always legendary in Cape Town. And locals are also encouraged to be tourists in their own city.

So, from Mitchell’s Plain to Manhattan, from Woodstock to Warsaw – whatever part of the world you’re from, we want you to know – Cape Town welcomes you. We are ready to roll the drums, sound the trumpets, and play our famous song at full blast once again.

‘When you come to Cape Town, the city by the seaside, you’ll meet a lot of friends, have lots of fun, Cape Town’s number one.”

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