Cape Town ‘second most affordable city in world for UK travellers’ – report

The news that Cape Town has retained its title of second-most-affordable long-haul holiday destination for the third year in a row according to the annual Post Office Travel Money Long-Haul Travel report, should be met with a constructive response from small and medium tourism enterprises in South Africa.

The tourism market in South Africa is facing a difficult recovery after the introduction of new travel requirements for visitors on June 1. According to Fin24, recently released data has confirmed the adverse effects of the biometric visa requirements and the new birth certificate requirements for travelling minors.

Although this remains true, the rand-pound exchange rate (the rand is hovering at around R21 to the pound) is one element working in favour of tourism locally. The global reputation of Cape Town as a premier holiday destination, the current devaluation of the rand and many forthcoming events will entice visitors to the Mother City.

Bookings are also reportedly up from the UK to Cape Town, as the destination proves popular with tourists seeking to enjoy luxury at affordable rates: Anna Watt of UK travel agent, Travelbag, was quoted in the Post Office report stating that Bali and South Africa in particular have seen a rise in popularity, with bookings up 22% and 26% respectively year on year.

The favourable rand-pound exchange rate has been made even more attractive by a 10.9% price drop year-on-year.

Bali topped the list in the report based on 33 destinations calculated on the cost of 10 tourist staples. The items surveyed were an evening meal for two with a bottle of wine, bottle of beer/lager, soft drink, glass of wine, cocktail, chocolate bar, mineral water, sun cream and insect repellent.

The cost of these items was calculated at £41.58 (R875.25) for Cape Town and £37.91(R798) for Bali. For comparison, Dubai came in as most expensive at £167.10 (R3 517.45) and prices in the Far East remained competitive: they are up 6.2% year-on-year to £58.31 (R1 227.42) in Phuket, with the Thai resort dropping just one place to sixth. Hoi An, Vietnam, at £73.02 (R1 537.07) has retained 13th place with a 0.8% drop in costs.

In keeping with the ‘travel like a local’ trend, tourists in Cape Town are seeking a more immersive experience. This international trend has seen millennials between the ages of 18 and 34, the biggest demographic and the one most likely to travel, looking to explore in depth local neighbourhoods within the cities they visit.

At the current rate of exchange, a visitor from the UK can enjoy all the luxury Cape Town has to offer at affordable prices.

If our international visitors have a memorable experience, this will assist the tourism industry to recover.