Cape Town, South Africa, 08 February 2019 – Wesgro has welcomed President Ramaphosa’s announcement regarding the implementation of an eVisa regime in 2019 at the State of the Nation Address last night.
With the goal of reaching 21 million tourists by 2030, the national government aims to implement a world-class eVisa regime whereby prospective visitors will be able to apply for eVisas online and print the approved eVisa from the convenience of their homes.
“We welcome all plans of action that seek to make the travel of tourists to South Africa seamless. Increased tourism numbers nationally means an increase for our sector provincially,” said Wesgro CEO, Tim Harris.
Considering the drought experienced during most of 2018, Cape Town and the Western Cape weathered the storm of the past festive season, with bookings increasing marginally across the province.
The UN World Tourism Organisation forecasts a 3 to 4% growth in international arrivals globally. This is down from the 6% growth experienced in 2018. Making it easier for tourists to visit South Africa through such interventions will, therefore, boost tourism in an increasingly difficult global environment.
Seeking innovative ways to boost the tourism sector after the drought, a ‘Nowhere Better’ campaign was launched in December 2018 by Wesgro in partnership with public and private sector players.
Showcasing the breadth and depth of experiences within the Western Cape, the ‘Nowhere Better’ global marketing campaign, aimed at the UK, Germany and the USA markets, has already reached millions of potential visitors. The campaign can be viewed at nowherebetter.co.za.
Encouraging the power of a single voice, a ‘Nowhere Better’ trade website has been made available for tourism stakeholders to download the complimentary white label marketing assets for use on individual company marketing initiatives.
Wesgro’s plan also includes the identification of untapped opportunities. A key market identified for 2019/20 is Asia and India.
In November last year, the Cape Town Air Access project, housed within Wesgro, contributed to the facilitation of the newly launched direct flight by Cathay Pacific between Cape Town and Hong Kong. This network heralds the first non-stop link between the Western Cape and the heart of Asia.
By connecting the Cape directly to China for the first time, the province hopes to see a marked increase in tourism and investment into the region from this key market.
Harris added, “In addition to the implementation of eVisas, Wesgro also welcomes the President’s commitment to growing Agriculture, boosting investment and steps being taken to increase exports – all of which is aligned to the Provincial growth strategy known as Project Khulisa.”
The Minister for Economic Opportunities, Beverly Schäfer, commented: “Tourism is a key sector in our province and we have seen the power of a collaborative approach in action, from our experience with the drought. While economic factors will influence tourism globally for the next while, a sustained focus on innovative projects like Air Access and the Nowhere Does it Better campaign, will help to ensure that the province’s tourism sector is protected from major shocks.“
Dan Plato, Executive Mayor of Cape Town, said, “I know Cape Town to be an innovative city, as we are always finding new ways to draw the attention of tourists and show them what a wonderful city we have. With the global situation affecting tourism, I am pleased that we have only seen a minor drop in numbers, but I would like to see these numbers going up in the very near future and I am sure that with all the
Mayoral Committee Member for Economic Opportunities and Asset Management, Alderman James Vos, added: “As a province, we have displayed resilience and a willingness to challenge ourselves in coming up with innovative solutions to address the numerous obstacles challenging our tourism industry and other economic sectors. We are most pleased with the results of the campaign to date, as it demonstrates what can be achieved if we work together, across the public and private sector, towards a common goal. We look forward to seeing further engagement as we launch the next two burst of the campaign on please advise date.”
About Wesgro: Wesgro is Cape Town and the Western Cape’s official Tourism, Trade and Investment Promotion Agency, and receives its mandate and funding from the Western Cape Government’s Department of Economic Development and Tourism and the City of Cape Town. For more information visit wesgro.co.za