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27/06/2022 By : Priti Gadhia

Cape Town Tourism Commentary – dropping of remaining Covid restrictions

CTT commentary – dropping of remaining Covid restrictions

“Cape Town Tourism is delighted at the news of the South African government dropping the remaining Covid-19 restrictions. The lifting of mask-wearing, and ending of gathering limitations and checks on all travellers coming into the country, is a big win for South African tourism", says Enver Duminy, CEO of Cape Town Tourism.

"We remain committed to moving from tourism recovery to a chapter of tourism readiness. Since January, we have seen a continued upward trajectory in local and international passenger movements. In March, we saw a 72% recovery in domestic arrivals and 62% in international arrivals. In April, our domestic recovery numbers increased by 4%, with an impressive 12% jump in international arrivals.

"Our Cape Town Tourism accommodation report also found the Mother City's occupancy rates for March reached 66.6%, up from 39.8% in March 2021, with the average room rate rising to R1972, up from R991 in 2021. And last year, despite the ongoing pandemic and lockdowns, tourism drove R5.8 billion into the city’s economy.

The repeal of these restrictions will, no doubt, further hasten recovery."

The City of Cape Town's Mayoral Committee Member for Economic Growth, Alderman  James Vos adds how the City of Cape Town made numerous submissions to National Government to help achieve this final outcome. “This is great news for the hospitality sector and tourism-related businesses specifically. The lifting of restrictions will translate to more business and lead to increased economic activity and jobs. I have personally seen how these lockdowns and restrictions have decimated the revenues of many businesses. I'm very happy that things can now return to normal. Be assured that we will do everything possible to ramp up our campaigns and strategies to ensure that tourism bounces back stronger than before.”

The news is also a welcomed relief for members of the industry:

David Green, CEO of the V&A Waterfront, “We welcome the announcement that the Covid-19 regulations will be dropped. This will go a long way to boosting tourism and events recovery that’s already underway, which is so critical to getting jobs and livelihoods back on track for so many people in the sector. Its great news for the Waterfront, for the city and for the country.”

Eddy Cassar, Festival Director of the annual Jive Cape Town Funny Festival, adds, “The lifting of Covid-19 regulations is a major game changer for the Jive Cape Town Funny Festival and theatre in general. There is an energy that a crowded audience emits which creates an experience for both the performer and fellow audience members that cannot be artificially replicated. Though it will take months for the industry to return to 2019 levels, the lifting is hugely welcomed.”

Taubie Motlhabane, CEO of the Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC) says that they, and the entire business events industry is delighted with the decision to lift all restrictions for gatherings and entry into South Africa. “Delegates can travel freely into Cape Town and South Africa, and our venues can once again operate at full capacity. This in turn means more revenues for the hospitality value chain, more jobs and greater positive economic impact”.

Graham Wood, Group COO for Hospitality at Sun International Group, also welcomes the news of the Government repealing the remaining Covid-19 regulations.  “The restrictions on gatherings in particular have been onerous on the gaming, hospitality, conferencing and eventing industries. The relaxation of the regulations will have a positive effect on tourism, and we are hoping for an accelerated recovery in international leisure demand from our global source markets."

South Africa and Cape Town need to work together as one so that we remain desirable travel destinations for everyone.

“With the dropped restrictions and our industry opening up, we expect to see a further surge of visitors to Cape Town, and who will feel safe to set forth and travel with purpose. Cape Town is destination-ready; we can't wait to welcome our visitors back,” concludes Duminy.

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