New York is committed to its long-term marketing partnership with Cape Town, despite recent security concerns, says NYC & Company Tourism Market Development MD, Makiko Matsuda Healy.

“We’re here for the long-term. We’re committed to this market. It’s not really my place to comment on security matters, but we see the potential in this market. Cape Town Tourism (CTT) is such a great organisation to work with and we strongly believe that we can grow together,” she told Tourism Update.

Matsuda Healy was speaking in Cape Town during an event where CTT and NYC & Company renewed their existing two-year marketing partnership for another year, which allows for an exchange of media and marketing assets. “It also allows us to exchange ideas and best practices and learn from each other in growing responsively as tourist destinations,” she said.

CTT CEO, Enver Duminy, said NYC & Company were interested in learning from Cape Town’s environmental sustainability and township tourism campaigns, which they could adapt for their own needs.

He said the marketing partnership would give Cape Town R1.5m (€88 300) worth of marketing exposure in New York in the coming year, which may be little in terms of spend but would provide Cape Town with global exposure, as New York was the largest outbound destination in the US, attracting 60m visitors annually.  He said since the start of the partnership in 2017, CTT and NYC & Company had successfully stimulated tourism in both directions and encouraged New Yorkers to visit Cape Town in off-peak seasons. 

According to CTT statistics, the partnership achieved global media coverage worth R4.85m (€285 500) reaching the USA, Belgium, Brazil, China, India, Portugal, the UK, Namibia and Kenya. In New York, Cape Town was being promoted as a global destination with a unique value offering. Duminy said huge exposure had been gained by advertising Cape Town on New York bus shelters and Link kiosks, through public relations campaigns, trade and media hosting, online competitions, social media, SAA in-flight videos and through SAA and SA Tourism databases and media platforms. Results included: 4.8m social media impressions, 52 000 website page views, 40 000 in-flight video views, 16 000 entries to a New York Times travel show competition and 1.3m direct interactions through events. He said Cape Town had also achieved a 21% return on investment on R1.5m spent by industry partners.

Duminy said the focus in the past two years had been on each destination running awareness campaigns in each other’s cities, positioning Cape Town as a gateway into Africa for New Yorkers, while showcasing the Big Apple as a priority destination for Capetonians. He said focus was now shifting from awareness to conversion, and that the partnership had facilitated the direct United Airlines service starting in December and value deals surrounding it.

Whilst NYC & Company were currently holding trade road-shows in South Africa, budget constraints prevented CTT from doing the same in New York, but CTT would be piggybacking on SA Tourism road-shows in that market.