Robben Island buoyant as short school holiday hits Cape tourism

22 January 2019 - 08:56 By TimesLIVE
Table Mountain Aerial Cableway and Robben Island increased visitor numbers in December 2018.
Table Mountain Aerial Cableway and Robben Island increased visitor numbers in December 2018.
Image: Cape Town Tourism/Deon Gurling

Robben Island was Cape Town’s star tourism performer in December, increasing visitor numbers by 28%.

This was mainly the result of improvements in operations, and came at the end of a year in which the island’s overall visitor numbers were down 10%, Cape Town Tourism said on Tuesday.

The shortened school holiday hit tourism numbers, it said. “Many locals opted to ‘staycation’ and visited local attractions and experiences. Attractions specifically commented on the increase of local footfall.

“The Table Mountain Aerial Cableway also reported an increase year-on-year for December of 6%, a notable recovery after ending the year 3% down for the whole of 2018,” said Cape Town Tourism.

“The V&A Waterfront, Africa’s most-visited attraction, reported visitor figures for December that were 2% lower than in the same period in 2017, as did the Two Oceans Aquarium and Cape Point.

Cape Town Tourism CEO Enver Duminy
Cape Town Tourism CEO Enver Duminy
Image: Cape Town Tourism

“Chapmans Peak Drive was static at 0%, while Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden was 5% lower in December but 2% higher over the whole of 2018. Groot Constantia reported a December that was at 23% lower.”

International passengers at Cape Town International Airport were up 4% year-on-year in December and over 9% in total for 2018, at 2.4 million passengers, according to Airports Company SA.

December occupancy at hotels in Cape Town was up 2%, according to the STR Destination Report, which monitors tourism globally.

Cape Town Tourism CEO Enver Duminy said tourism was slowly recovering from the drought and recession.

“The recovery of water supplies in the latter part of 2018 following healthy rainfall and the implementation of additional water supplies came a little too late to counteract bookings to the city,” he said.

“December, in general, offered an indication that tourism is on track to becoming a more stable economic environment once again.”

James Vos, the City of Cape Town mayoral committee member for economic opportunities, said he was encouraged that efforts to increase sustainability in the tourism sector were paying off.