The Western Cape’s May 2022 tourism statistics – released by tourism, trade and investment promotion agency, Wesgro – indicate that the province’s tourism sector is continuing on its growth trajectory towards recovery.
“This is good news for our tourism and hospitality sector, which employs tens of thousands of residents across the Western Cape,” said Mireille Wenger, Provincial Minister of Finance and Economic Opportunities, in response to the results.
Key findings for May 2022 include:
- Passengers through Cape Town International Airport’s domestic terminal recovered to 83% when compared with the same month in 2019;
- George Airport passenger numbers recovered to 97% of 2019 levels;
- International travel has recovered well since the start of 2022 as airport terminal passenger movement recovered to 74% in May 2022 when compared with May 2019;
- Hotel occupancy stood at 49% in May 2022, representing a recovery rate of 95% when compared with May 2019;
- Visitors to the 27 participating attractions recorded a total of 295 565 in May 2022, representing a 91% year-on-year growth in the number of visitors and a recovery rate of 56% when compared with May 2019;
- The top-five highest year-on-year growth rates were recorded for Robben Island (+259%); Table Mountain: Boulders (+217%); Cango Caves (+183%); Kogelberg Nature Reserve (+183%); and Table Mountain: Aerial Cableway (+169%); and
- Based on mobile location data insights of 12 565 domestic and 538 international tourists, the Cape Winelands was the most popular region among domestic visitors, while international visitors spent time in Cape Town.
“Considering that this period covers the start of our historically low winter tourism season, these statistics certainly give hope to a sector that has been among the hardest hit during the pandemic. Now that the remaining restrictions have been lifted and as we head into the school holidays, I am hopeful that these upward trends will continue,” said Wenger.
She cautioned, however, that there were possible headwinds to this growth. “We do need to acknowledge the possible impact of the rising price of petrol and the grounding of the Comair fleet. Together with the Department of Economic Development and Tourism and the Western Cape Government’s official destination marketing organisation, Wesgro, we are keeping a close eye on air travel trends,” said Wenger.
Wesgro CEO, Wrenelle Stander, added: “As we enter the winter season, tourism recovery in the Western Cape remains steady. This month’s performance reflects significant recovery once again, with some areas exceeding pre-pandemic levels. I echo MEC Wenger's celebration of the full reopening of tourism, including gathering sizes, which will allow leisure and business events to resume full economic impact. Wesgro calls on the tourism value chain to spend the coming months getting ready, as there are strong indicators pointing towards the coming summer season exceeding 2019 levels.”