In 2018, 2.6 million international passengers were recorded by Cape Town International Airport (CTIA), representing a 9.6% growth from 2017, despite the drought and other challenges experienced by the region. This growth came from long-haul carriers from outside the Southern African region.
Overall passenger numbers grew from 10 693 063 in 2017 to 10 777 524 in 2018, equating to an increase of 84 000 additional passengers passing through the airport, a growth rate of 0.8%.
There was a slight decline of 1.4% in domestic passengers for the year. In December, international passenger numbers grew by 3.7%, while domestic passenger numbers declined by 0.8% year-on-year.
These numbers include all traffic through the domestic and international terminals (arrivals and departures) and may include repeat travellers throughout the year.
“The City of Cape Town is delighted at the growth in international passenger numbers for 2018. Busy peak season and tourism growth to the region is encouraging in terms of sustainability, especially following what has been a challenging time for the tourism sector. More visitors mean increased benefits for the city and its residents,” said the City’s newly appointed Mayoral Committee Member for Economic Opportunities and Asset Management, Alderman James Vos.
Western Cape Minister of Economic Opportunities, Beverley Schäfer, added: “It’s no secret that the tourism industry was hard hit by the drought last year, but reports from many of our tourist offices have been largely positive and we look forward to working with the industry in 2019 to ensure that this sector continues to grow as it is an important creator of jobs in the province.
“The growth in international traffic at CTIA, despite the drought factor, is testament to the good work of the Air Access partnership. International traffic numbers at CTIA for the whole of 2018 reflect solid growth, which can be attributed to the launch of several new routes throughout the year, and our sustained focus on ensuring growth in our tourism industry,” continued Schäfer.
“CTIA is experiencing a busy peak season and it’s been good to have the seasonal carriers back. Although busy, the airport value chain is continuously playing their part to ensure that a memorable experience is created for visitors,” said Deon Cloete, General Manager of Cape Town International Airport.
“Cape Town is a must-visit destination that is a key feature on the global travel itinerary. Our goal is to ensure seamless, inclusive travel through the airport and other modes of arrival that provide positive visitor experiences,” added Enver Duminy, CEO of Cape Town Tourism.
Wesgro CEO, Tim Harris added: “The Cape Town Air Access initiative, a partnership between the City of Cape Town, the Western Cape Government, Airports Company South Africa, Wesgro, Cape Town Tourism, South African Tourism, and the private sector, has helped land 13 new routes to CTIA, adding over 1.5 million two-way seats to our destination. This has resulted in a R6 billion (€374 m) boost to our economy since 2015.”
According to Schäfer, events such as the Rugby Sevens held in Cape Town in December and the Queen’s Plate in January helped to stimulate the city’s tourism and hospitality sector. Looking ahead, the city will host the SunMet event later this month, which draws large crowds each year, and has several major conferences lined up in the coming months, including the YPO leadership conference which will see around 2 500 delegates from around the world descending on the city in March.
“Together with our partners, we need to build on our tourism success as a city to ensure this translates into investments in programmes and projects that drive demand and make business sense. My new portfolio has the potential to ensure that we continue to be the go-to city on the African continent and globally for business, trade and tourism. We have a diverse economy that is creating jobs and keeping unemployment low,” added Alderman Vos.
For the 17th year the city was voted the Number One Favourite City in Africa and Middle East for 2018, in Travel + Leisure’s 2018 readers’ poll, and scooped the award for the City with the Best Growth Potential. In 2018, CTIA, once again, won the award for Africa’s Leading Airport.
“These awards, among a host of other accolades, acknowledge our efforts and signify a turn for tourism in Cape Town,” concluded Alderman Vos: “Going forward, the city will drive increased international, domestic and regional tourism growth, especially via the air routes.”