Cape Town’s tourism industry is taking a longer-term view about the impact of the 2010 FIFA World Cup™ on the city’s tourism prospects and is confident about future growth. This comes despite the fact that visitor numbers and bookings in Cape Town, though significantly higher than those for the same period in 2009, did not live up to short-term expectations for a mid-year ‘peak season’.Cape Town Tourism conducted a series of weekly tourism industry surveys, for the duration of the FIFA World Cup™, to assess the visitor footprint, behaviours, choices and trends from week to week and to gauge industry attitudes towards the FIFA World Cup™.
The FIFA World Cup™ was deemed by the majority of tourism businesses polled to have had a positive impact on both the destination (90% of respondents agreed) and in countering seasonality (62% agreed).
Says Cape Town Tourism CEO, Mariette du Toit-Helmbold: “Our focus has never been on the short term benefits of hosting this event, but rather on maximising the long term benefits and changing the opinion the world has of us, converting soccer fans into fans of Cape Town. Our aim is to double the economic impact of tourism by 2020 and the successful hosting of the World Cup in Cape Town in winter will definitely make this target more attainable.”
Alderman Felicity Purchase, Mayco Member Economic Development and Tourism for the City of Cape Town concurs, saying that the hosting of major events during Cape Town’s winter season is critical to unlocking economic growth for the city. “The City of Cape Town has developed an Events Policy and is now working on a post-2010 World Cup Events Strategy with key stakeholders from the events and tourism industry,” she said. “Events can play an important role in addressing seasonality, which is one of the greatest stumbling blocks in the development of Cape Town as a year-round tourism destination.”
Says Deidre Hendricks, Communications Manager for ACSA at Cape Town International Airport: “The FIFA World Cup™ has demonstrated the importance and the impact that events have on traffic into Cape Town. And while these signature events will not take place every year, it is clear that special initiatives during winter will help to drive the visitor numbers into Cape Town, thereby mitigating Cape Town’s seasonality effect.”
A full report of Cape Town Tourism’s FIFA World Cup™ industry surveys has been issued on the findings (please find it at http://www.capetown.travel/media/blog/entry/tourism_industry_positive_about_the_impact_of_the_world_cup_on_future_touri/) and a summary of the key findings follows:
- Whilst final visitor numbers will only be revealed at a later stage (in an economic impact report being prepared by the City of Cape Town), it was clear that most accommodation businesses in Cape Town enjoyed a better than usual winter. Average occupancy levels for the full duration of the event are estimated at 55%, at least 15% up on the same period for 2009. Bookings rose sharply (by at least 30%) over the last two weeks of the tournament, averaging around 70% for the greater Cape Town Metropole for that period. Accommodation establishments located closer to the City Bowl and Cape Town Stadium enjoyed the most positive spin-off from the FIFA World Cup™, reaching a 90% average occupancy in the week of the quarter- and semi-finals.
- International arrivals to Cape Town International Airport for the extended FIFA World Cup™ window period (11 June – 16 July 2010) were up 24% on the same period in 2009. This was due largely to the increase in chartered flights over and above the usual international flight schedule. Domestic arrivals were up by 8%.
- Some major attractions reported visitor numbers in excess of 2009 peak season figures and FIFA World Cup™ visitors are also reported to have spent up to four times as much as the usual winter visitors to Cape Town.
- For the period 11 June to 11 July 2010, Cape Town Tourism’s network of 18 Visitor Information Centres reported a total increase of 47% in visitors to the centres in comparison with the same period last year – international visitor numbers were up by a staggering 71% and domestic visitors by 15%.
- Visitors were mainly from the UK and USA but there were significant inflows from new markets, particularly South America and the Far East. These are key new source markets for Cape Town’s tourism industry and there are immediate plans to continue conversations that have already begun with both the media and trade in these regions.
- Visitors used the internet extensively, both to book accommodation and as an in-destination World Cup information source.
- Travel groups were small – two to four people – and visits were short and very much aligned with the timing of games and the progression of teams. Bookings were largely last minute. Guests were found to be price sensitive with regards to both accommodation and tours.
Says Cape Town Tourism CEO, Mariette Du Toit-Helmbold; “We have to follow up the raised profile that our city has garnered as a result of a highly successful World Cup with real, visible, accessible offers that speak to a world still battling their way through tough times.”
Cape Town Tourism’s Winter Campaign launches this week and will be marketed locally through selected Gauteng radio stations and billboards and globally via a partnership with Tripadvisor. A leading user-generated online travel information portal, Tripadvisor ranked Cape Town among the Top 25 Destinations in the World in their Travellers’ Choice 2010 Best Destinations Awards.
“We are in a unique and incredibly fortunate position to have seen so much positive coverage on television this year. Now it’s up to us to convert that into tangible tourism results through showing that we offer great value,” concludes Du Toit-Helmbold.