By Thandisizwe Mgudlwa
The Western Cape Province’s stakeholders are up in arms in a mission of making their region and Cape Town city the number one zone for economic prosperity.
This is hoped will lead to the much needed economic development and job creation.
And as a result, senior representatives of South African Airways, the Western Cape provincial government, the City of Cape Town, and public and private sector tourism operators and promoters, and the conference and transport industry met recently in Cape Town to discuss further strengthening cooperation in marketing Cape Town and the Western Cape as a premier business and leisure destination.
Participants in the meeting agreed that although a myriad of joint activities internationally were proving successful in bringing leisure and business travellers to Cape Town, even more could be done as the airline and the region work for further growth.
Hosted by the Western Cape’s destination marketing, investment, and trade promotion agency, Wesgro, the gathering examined current global marketing activities and explored new approaches to leveraging the province’s multiple attractions in order to expand leisure, business, incentive, and conference visitor numbers as a spur to economic growth and job creation.
Theunis Potgieter, GM Commercial: “Cape Town and the Western Cape as a whole are a crucial and integral part to our overall approach to marketing SAA and South Africa.”
“We are seeing significant visitor growth from elsewhere in Africa, and from South America, Asia, and Australasia, and we are responding accordingly by deploying our aircraft capacity to those growth markets”.
SAA has recently announced increased frequencies to a number of cities within its network, including Accra, Mumbai, and Perth. Recent figures show that the number of Indian visitors to the Garden Route is rising, and visitors from across Africa are discovering Cape Town as an ideal holiday destination.
Participants agreed to make the Western Cape workshop a bi-annual event for the exchange of ideas and information.
Nils Flaatten, CEO of Wesgro added: “SAA’s presentation outlining the challenges associated with sustaining routes has highlighted the complexities facing air transport internationally.”
“The round table discussion was important because together, many key role players in the Western Cape tourism industry and SAA were able to identify fresh marketing opportunities on the newer routes the airline is developing, as well as a mechanism for future coordination.”
Among the new opportunities identified are accelerated specialised business tourism and conventions, support and development for sports and other major events, including ways of extending these benefits to the whole of the province. “We are thrilled that the next International Air Transport Association Annual General Meeting will be in Cape Town next year,” said Flaatten.
“Bringing the world’s airline chiefs and 350 travel and air transport journalists to Cape Town will give the Western Cape tourism industry a massive boost.”
SAA plans similar workshops with tourism and business travel stakeholders in other regions of the country it serves in the coming weeks and months.
“As a national asset and the backbone of South Africa’s air transport infrastructure we are very pleased to contribute our global insights, visibility and reach in forging partnerships to the benefit of the country’s growth in leisure and specialised tourism,” concluded Potgieter.