Cape Town Tourism welcomes growth figures

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Cape Town Tourism has welcomed the new statistics that show that international tourism is steadily gaining momentum, following an extremely challenging 2009.

Information just released by the UNWTO World Tourism Barometer shows that international arrivals grew by 7 percent in the first two months of this year.

The highly respected Barometer found that growth was particularly strong in Asia, Africa and the Middle East. UNWTO now forecasts international tourist arrivals to grow by 3% to 4% in 2010.

“These results are very encouraging and bode well for Cape Town’s tourism industry in the year ahead. They show that there is, indeed, light at the end of the tunnel, as far as the global recession is concerned, and we can now expect a better year for tourism in Cape Town,” Cape Town Tourism said in a statement this week.

The 7% increase in the first two months of 2010 follows the upturn already registered in the last quarter of 2009 when arrivals grew by 2% after 14 consecutive months of negative results. Though data for March is still limited, countries with data already reported confirm that this positive trend is set to continue.

Growth was positive in all world regions during the first two months of 2010 led by Asia and the Pacific (+10%) and Africa (+7%). Information for the three countries of the Middle East that have reported results so far also point to a strong rebound in the region, though, compared to very subdued first months of 2009. The pace of growth was slower in Europe (+3%) and in the Americas (+3%), the two regions hardest hit by the global crisis and where economic recovery is proving to be comparatively weaker.

Cape Town Tourism said the fact that Cape Town is playing such a significant part in South Africa’s hosting of the 2010 FIFA World Cup should boost figures going forward.

“Although the tourism industry will remain under significant pressure for some time to come, the figures from UNWTO are heartening indeed. We can expect a gradual improvement towards 2011 and couple this to the fact that the World Cup is just around the corner, and South Africa will be showcased to an international audience, there is plenty of room for optimism.”

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