Cape Town Routes Unlimited has released statistics, comparing the tourism performance between June 2009 and 2010.  In general it would appear that tourism facilities fared better in June this year compared to last June, due to the World Cup, which kicked off on 11 June.

 The following statistics were provided in the Cape Town Routes Unlimited “World Cup Impact” report:

1.  The Table Mountain Aerial Cableway received 63861 visitors in June, an increase of 69 %

2.   Boulders Beach in Simonstown had just less than 20 000 visitors from 1-20 June this year, compared to 21 314 for the whole of June 2009

3.   Kirstenbosch received 7 % more visitors in June, at 25 469, compared to last year

4.   The V&A Waterfront received 1,6 million visitors in June, up 7 % compared to last year.

5.   Robben Island doubled its visitor numbers between June this year and last year.

6.   International arrivals at Cape Town International airport increased by 18 % in June relative to a year ago, (and by 24 % for the period 11 June – 16 July, according to Cape Town Tourism’s World Cup Impact report, released yesterday).

7.   Domestic arrivals at Cape Town International airport increased by 10 %, at 261260 in June 

8.   The Cape Town “Lodging Statistics Summary” (where did they get that name from?) seems very wrong, from own experience and discussions with other industry colleagues, given the exceptionally poor May 2010 accommodation bookings.  We publish the information with a warning (the Cape Town Routes Unlimited report does not identify the source of its statistics):

             Occupancy:                 2010                                              2009

             April                             59%                                                 62%

             May                              55%                                                 46%

             June                              68%                                                 41%

9.  The FIFA Fan Fest at the Grand Parade had its best day on 11 June, the Opening Match between Bafana Bafana and Mexico, with 41000 visitors, and had to be closed at that number due to overcrowding. The second busiest day was the Bafana Bafana match against France on 16 June, with 39000 visitors.  The quietest day was 21 June, with just less than 8000 soccer fans.

10.   In June the busiest Fan Walk day was when Holland played Cameroon, with an estimated 72000 walkers between the City centre and the Cape Town Stadium.  The Portugal/Korea DPR match attracted only 25 000 – 30 000 walkers, a day with heavy rain.

11.   Public Viewing set up in provincial towns was highest on 11 June in all such towns, and highest overall in Worcester (8000), followed by George (more than 7000).  Attendance dropped strongly on other days, and night matches were not well supported where public transport had not been organised.

12.   The V&A Waterfront Gateway (one assumes the one at the Clocktower) attracted 23911 visitors in June, up by 8 %, but the value of bookings increased by 55%.   Only 94 bookings were made last month, a disappointing number, given the traffic in the V&A Waterfront in this period.

13.   The Cape Town Tourism International airport office served 6841 visitors, the City branch 1206, the Table Mountain Cableway branch 849, and Kirstenbosch 803 visitors.  No comparable 2009 figures are provided, which is a surprise and disappointment.  (Cape Town Tourism’s World Cup Impact report states that 71 % more international visitors and 15 % more domestic tourists visited a Cape Town Tourism branch during the World Cup period - even though I have never seen information about the origin of the tourist asked) 

14.   Franschhoek claims to have received more than 4000 visitors (no 2009 comparative figures) in its Information office in June, which did not translate into much business as far as accommodation and restaurant bookings are concerned.  Paarl claims to have served 1 961 visitors (no 2009 comparative figures), and Knysna Tourism received 1433 visitors, double the number of last June.   Ceres received 1173 visitors, treble the 2009 figure, but this may have been due to the heavy snowfalls last month.

It is a pity that 2009 figures are not available across the board for the statistics provided, and that the 11 days of the World Cup are not reflected either, as Cape Town and the towns close to it were fuller in July, given the round of 16, quarter-final and semi-final matches played in Cape Town in this period.  Yet it is commendable that statistics were made available at all, no matter how questionable some of them appear to be!

Cape Town Tourism’s World Cup Impact report, presented to the media yesterday, claims that 200000 of the 350000 international visitors that came to South Africa for the World Cup came to Cape Town (even though its earlier pre-World Cup surveys showed that the majority of such soccer fans planned to visit Cape Town!).   One wonders how this estimate was made.  Cape Town Tourism CEO Mariette du Toit-Helmbold said that the World Cup was never about the short term, but about long-term benefits for Cape Town, turning soccer fans into fans of Cape Town.  City of Cape Town Mayco Member of Economic Development and Tourism Felicity Purchase noted that events hosted in winter months are needed to counter the seasonality of Cape Town’s tourism industry.   The 750 journalists that were shown around Cape Town loved the city, describing it as “photogenic”, and falling in love with it.   The Report also addresses accommodation occupancy during the World Cup, but its “research” was so poorly conducted that their misleading results will not be reported here (read our criticism of their intital results, mid-way through the World Cup).

What all the reports lose sight off is the extremely poor May that the tourism and hospitality industry experienced, a vacuum having been created due to the World Cup, which wiped out any gains made between 11 June – 11 July!

Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com