The City of Cape Town’s Executive Mayor, Alderman Dan Plato, opened the sixth World Travel Market (WTM) Africa 2019 conference in Cape Town on 10 April 2019.
“We are pleased to welcome all the delegates, members of the tourism industry and business buyers to the beautiful Mother City.
Platforms such as WTM Africa provide us with an opportunity as Africans to share with the world what we have to offer not only as a city, or as a country, but as an African region.
We are looking forward to sharing ideas with our counterparts on how to continue building a globally competitive tourism and business destination.
As Cape Town we are eager to share with the rest of the world how we worked with the tourism industry, our residents and businesses.
I’m sure many of you are aware that Cape Town found itself in the midst of an unprecedented drought which had a knock on effect for the local tourism industry.
I’m standing here today to tell you that we turned the corner by working together and have now become world-renowned for our water demand management and conservation efforts.
Just three weeks ago, the ratings agency Moody’s changed its rating of the City of Cape Town to stable due to its ground-breaking management of the drought crisis and its efforts to avert Day Zero.
Cape Town has emerged from one of the worst droughts in our history as a leader in water resilience.
In just two years, we reduced our water consumption from over 1 billion litres per day to the current volume of less than 600 million litres per day.
The tourism industry, especially our hotels and guest houses came on board to drive sustainable practises and encouraged visitors to get on board with the Save like a Local campaign and visitors could still enjoy the best that Cape Town has to offer.
We want you to come visit us. Cape Town must be on your itinerary as a leisure destination of choice.
This message forms the foundation of the our events strategy which led us to being named World’s Leading Festival and Event Destination at the World Travel Awards in 2018.
This accolade is a testament to our diverse offering, the dedication of City of Cape Town officials, local businesses and our tourism partners.
This recognition means that more organisations, travelers and businesses will see us as an appropriate location for high-profile events, which bring people to our shores.
The recognition that accolades such as this one brings will help drive tourism and job creation as the hospitality industry employs thousands of people. It is a sector that continues to show potential for ongoing growth.
Over the last decade the sector has annually contributed between 2% and 3,5% to the local economy. Currently, the tourism economy in Cape Town employs around 150 000 people which makes it the sector with the highest growth and employment potential.
My Mayoral Committee Member for Economic Development, James Vos, is here today, and I am sure many of you will get to interact with him because he is passionate about tourism and growing our economy.
I will say this again. Come to Cape Town: we have a lot to offer you in the form of leisure, scenic beauty and the world-class infrastructure that enables business growth.
And with the increased number of direct flights that we have secured to various African cities over recent months, this also means easier access for our visitors to visit the rest of Africa too.
Since the inception of the Air Access initiative in 2015, the team has secured 13 new direct flights and 18 expansions bringing much more ease in connecting travelers to Cape Town.
The Air Access team works hard to establish new direct flights and to reestablish previous connections. They have been successful in reestablishing a direct flight between Cape Town and Gaborone, Botswana and last year RwandAir introduced a direct flight between the Zimbabwean capital of Harare and the Mother City.
Other new flights include other African destinations such as Addis Ababa, Kigali, Livingstone, Luanda, Maun, Nairobi and Victoria Falls.
This will further increase tourism numbers to all of these cities and I am sure that it will lead to further job creation.
We are very fortunate in Cape Town to have all the right ingredients: a scenic coastline; warm and welcoming people; a wide range of high-end and affordable accommodation; and a host of activities to keep tourists and locals entertained.
Our location offers value-for-money and visitors can get a comprehensive experience for competitive prices.
Some of the WTM delegates will get a chance to have first-hand experience of these offerings when they take part in local tours that are driven by local entrepreneurs. Please make an opportunity to experience these because they will enrich your understanding of Cape Town.
Part of our plan in Cape Town is to continue to ensure that we have an enabling environment for the growth of emerging tourism enterprises. Building on this, we have started a tourism entrepreneurship programme in partnership with WTM Africa.
The exposure that these businesses will receive has great value as they will have an opportunity to meet potential distributors and buyers, to identify partners and to position themselves globally.
Safety is very also important to ensure the growth of the tourism industry and that our visitors enjoy a holistic experience in our city. To address this, the City in partnership with Cape Town Tourism introduced the Safety Ambassador Programme.
We have recruited and employed young people to assist with the beefing up of safety measures and to provide tourists with a safer experience in tourist hotspots in the city centre.
We have already seen some improvements on the safety aspect as a result of this programme which has reduced crime in tourist hotspots.
As a proudly African global city, our vision is to expand our tourism offering to both local and international visitors. Through Africa Travel Week, local tourism businesses are presented with the opportunity to create sustainable relationships with tourism industry experts from across Africa and the world.
I’m confident that they will be able to have discussions about creating synergies with their counterparts outside of Cape Town to increase our offerings and experiences.
Cape Town is open for you to live, to play and to invest,” – Alderman Dan Plato.