Initial reports on the December 2017 peak tourism month show high growth in international arrivals. According to Airports Company South Africa, Cape Town International Airport registered 127 309 international arrivals for December 2017, an 11.5% increase from December 2016.

The following is initial feedback received from local tourism offices in some regions across the Cape:

Mossel Bay and Knysna noted an increase in tourists. Mossel Bay in particular noted an increase in visitors from India. Wilderness/George saw a notable increase in visitors from the Middle East.

Swellendam noted an increase in tourists, with regular return visitors from Cape Town. Barrydale recorded the highest number of visitors to the town in the last two years.

Bredasdorp and Cape Agulhas reported positive growth in tourist arrivals. Struisbaai had approximately 20 000 people visiting its beaches. L’Agulhas Lighthouse registered a 34.5% increase in visitors. Grootbos Nature Reserve, in Gansbaai, registered a positive peak season, with the majority of international visitors coming from Germany, the United Kingdom, The Netherlands and Italy.

In Paternoster the leading international markets remained Germany, Switzerland and The Netherlands.

Hermanus also recorded an increase in visitors, retaining its normal European source market. Spain was noted as the new emerging market.

Lambert’s Bay noted a 5% increase in its top international markets - the United Kingdom and The Netherlands. Velddrif and Porterville both noted increases in international visitors. These towns reported a visible increase at their local shops, parking areas and camping sites.

Altogether, 30 out of 36 local tourism offices interviewed by Wesgro noted increases in visitors this December.

Western Cape Minister of Economic Opportunities, Alan Winde, said: “Key goals of Project Khulisa, our economic growth strategy, include securing more direct flights and spreading the returns of tourism across our region to create growth and jobs in rural areas. These results prove that we are having a positive impact. We have also received feedback from our towns that visitors have responded positively to our water savings message. We would like to thank visitors for their efforts. I’m thrilled too that Knysna is having a good season despite the fires of June this year. The majority of our tourism offices have noted that bookings are continuing to come in, indicating that tourism season is still in full swing.”