Joint statement issued by City of Cape Town Mayoral Committee Member for Economic Opportunities and Tourism, James Vos and Cape Town Tourism CEO, Enver Duminy: Cape Town remains open for tourism business and a safe destination for travellers.
Cape Town, 15 March 2020 – With tourist destinations around the world being forced to shut down in light of the COVID-19 coronavirus, Cape Town Tourism and City of Cape Town stresses that the Mother City remains a welcoming destination to visit and play.
The COVID-19 coronavirus is a serious matter and one which we are monitoring closely. While tourism is a very important sector for Cape Town, we cannot ignore how this disease is affecting destinations across the globe. Uppermost in our minds is the safety of our citizens and visitors to our city. But, we are also mindful of how panicked responses could negatively impact the future of tens-of-thousands of Capetonian families dependent on our tourism economy.
Both Domestic and International arrival figures from Cape Town International Airport, for the first two months of this calendar year, have shown positive growth for the city.
Looking at estimates from travel data company ForwardKeys, for March to May 2020 we are however seeing a drop in bookings to Cape Town. For instance, the United Kingdom, one of our key source markets, is showing an 8% drop in bookings to the city.
However, other markets are thankfully still showing an increase. In that same period, ForwardKeys estimates show an increase of 11% from Australia, 7% from Brazil, and Germany and the United States showing nominal increases of 4% and 5%, respectively.
The South African Health Department and other relevant authorities have not issued any travel restrictions. Together with other industry associations, we will continue with our programmes geared to attract and welcome visitors.
While the safety and wellbeing of everyone in our city is our primary concern during the COVID-19 pandemic, Cape Town remains open for business and a safe destination for domestic travellers to visit.
Tourism is the backbone of the city’s economy with thousands of residents dependant on this sector for their livelihoods. As such, we will do everything possible, within reason, to ensure that our visitor economy remains active.
We will continue to deliver on programmes to attract visitors who are able to travel to our city, for both business and leisure.
Already, the City’s Enterprise and Investment Department together with Cape Town Tourism will continue to work on strategies to ensure that we are able to welcome and host visitors in a safe and responsible manner.
It is important that we work together, that we address the concerns around this outbreak and not create unnecessary panic.
As a responsive government, the focus is currently on prevention and we are keeping up-to-date with all developments related to Covid-19.
We are comforted by the fact that our tourism sector has proven to be resilient and that it can and will bounce back from the impact of this global pandemic.
As it stands, Cape Town is open for tourism. We will be advised by the relevant health authorities on a case to case basis. As of 14 March 2020, there 3 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Cape Town.
We urge all visitors to follow the guidelines provided by both national and provincial health in dealing with hygiene matters.
We also ask all citizens to take care of each other and be mindful of their own actions. We are all working together to get through this.
Numerous resources have been made available regarding COVID-19:
- The NICD Hotline on 0800 029 999 operates seven days a week, 24 hours a day. Call the hotline if you have symptoms.