Alan Winde, Minister of Economic Opportunities, said online airline bookings showed that tourists arrival for December and January showed a five percent year-on-year increase.
In 2016, 160,511 international tourists and 312,246 domestic tourists travelled to the region in December.
Minister Winde said: “Between January and March 2017, the Western Cape already attracted a total of 1,000,156 international and domestic visitors to its shores. Of these visitors, 472,156 foreign tourist arrivals were recorded during this period, a 6% increase from the same period last year. This resulted in a foreign direct spend of R5.7 billion and a 1.2% increase in expenditure compared to the first quarter in 2016.
“This is great news for our economy. We know that the tourism sector supports more than 300 000 direct, indirect and induced jobs in the Western Cape and contributed over R38 billion to our economy last year.
“As we continue driving growth in tourism, we must ensure that this sector contributes to sustainability. While international tourists only make up around 1% of our total population during the peak season, it is still important that we share our water savings message with tourists.”
At the start of December, the Western Cape Government, local municipalities and tourism officers will host awareness events along the N2, N1 and N7.
“We’ll be distributing around 20 000 hand sanitizers, branded with water savings tips. Through this event, we will be welcoming tourists into our province and making sure they are aware of the water crisis.”
There will also be knock-and-drops to petrol stations and guest houses across the province. The province’s tourist guides will also spread the message.
Minister Winde said the Western Cape Government was completing case studies of best practice on water-savings in each sector, to share with businesses.
Wesgro – Cape Town and the Western Cape’s official Tourism, Trade and Investment Promotion Agency – and the Western Cape Government, in partnership with CapeNature and Airbnb, have also started distributing 2 300 low-flow shower heads to guesthouses, B&B’s and Airbnb hosts across the province.
It is estimated that this contribution will help save at least 70 million litres of water a year.
Wesgro CEO, Tim Harris said: “We expect an increase in tourists during this peak season, and this is great news for our economy. While international tourists only add approximately 1% to the population of the Cape at any given time during the peak season, they will contribute more than R5 billion to the provincial economy in just 3 months. This means economic growth and more jobs. Wesgro, however, appeals to all tourists visiting our beautiful province to do everything they can to save water.
Reduce your water consumption to under 87 litres per person per day. Wesgro, as the Western Cape’s tourism agency is doing what it can to ensure this message gets to both tourists and tourism establishments.”