Virgin Atlantic’s seasonal LHR-CPT service commenced on October 28 and will run until the end of March next year. This adds more than 80 000 seats between Cape Town and London, with daily flights between the two cities on VS 479 CPT-LHR and VS 478 LHR-CPT.
“I am delighted for the return of the 2023/2024 season of this well-loved route between Cape Town and London,” commented Marc Harding, Country Manager for South Africa at Virgin Atlantic.
Passengers will fly on the airline’s most fuel-efficient aircraft, the Boeing 787-9. “This service will make it even easier for our customers to travel for business and leisure between South Africa and the United Kingdom, as well as providing seamless connections via Heathrow to Europe and North America,” said Harding.
The addition of these seasonal seats, along with Condor’s seasonal Cape Town-Frankfurt routes, give impetus to hopes that the 2023/2024 high season will meet, or exceed, pre-COVID-19 figures.
The monthly tourism report – compiled by the Western Cape Government’s (WCG) trade, investment, and tourism promotion agency, Wesgro – released today highlights that between January and September of 2023, more than 6.8 million two-way international and domestic passengers passed through award-winning Cape Town International Airport (CTIA), of which 1.9 million were international two-way passengers, and 4.9 million domestic two-way passengers.
International two-way passengers through CTIA between January and September 2023 increased by 60% compared with the same period in 2022, and domestic two-way passengers increased by 14%, compared with the same period in 2022.
“We continue to see the impressive growth of tourists coming to the Western Cape. This is extremely exciting and a trend that we anticipate will not only continue but will far exceed all previous summer seasons,” said Western Cape Minister of Finance and Economic Opportunities, Mireille Wenger.
Other insights from the monthly tourism report for September include:
- Two-way passengers through George Airport reached 576 347 between January and September 2023, representing a 3% year-on-year increase compared with January and September 2022;
- Between January and September 2023, Cape Town recorded a total of 621 238 tourist arrivals by air, of which 89% originated from overseas markets and 11% from the African continent;
- Total tourist arrivals as well as overseas tourist arrivals by air remained at full recovery in September 2023 year-to-date compared with January and September 2019;
- The UK continues to lead as the top source market to Cape Town (by air) between January and September 2023, with the US a very close second, followed by Germany, Netherlands and France in the top five positions;
- The European market remains the largest contributor to tourist arrivals into Cape Town, with six out of the top-10 source markets originating from the continent;
- The cumulative total of tourist arrivals between January and September 2023 reflected full recovery from eight out of the top 10 source markets to Cape Town (by air), against the same period in 2019 (Jan-Sep). These markets included the UK (105%), US (142%), Germany (104%), Netherlands (112%), Italy (109%), India (104%), Canada (104%) and Zimbabwe (178%);
- Footfall to 40 participating attractions across the six regions of the Western Cape recorded a total of 571 657 visitors in September 2023, a 23% year-on-year growth in the number of visitors when compared with September 2022; and
- The top-five highest year-on-year growth rates in September 2023 were recorded for these attractions
- Groot Winterhoek Wilderness Area (385%)
- Robben Island (270%)
- Swartberg Nature Reserve (178%)
- Keurbooms River Nature Reserve (91%)
- Wilderness National Park (72%)