Supporting tourism can reinvigorate the Cape economy

Supporting tourism can reinvigorate the Cape economy

Tourism has long been a huge economic driver. As with any other industry, however, we are vulnerable to slumps. For some time now, residents of the Western Cape and other drought-stricken regions in South Africa have maintained a steady focus on water-saving initiatives. We have had some rain, with more expected in the coming months, but we still have a long way to go. We are by no means free from the drought. At least, for now, the panic has been allayed and our combined focus can shift a little. We may not have to worry about our taps running dry just yet, but other problems remain, i.e. poverty, unemployment, the economy – and for us, boosting tourism. I believe all these things go hand-in-hand.

Now, more than ever, we must pour our energy into enticing tourists and residents to go out and explore the Mother City. Cape Town’s “Big Seven” attractions (Cape Point, Table Mountain Cableway, Groot Constantia, The V&A Waterfront, the City Walk, Robben Island, and Kirstenbosch) receive visitors throughout the year. First-time visitors tend to prioritise the top or most well-known attractions, while returning tourists and locals, who love to explore, will seek out more off-the-beaten-track destinations and activities.

The impact on the South African economy as a whole

Tourism has the potential of driving our economy. As tourism demand grows and products develop, more jobs are being created. This is vital, considering the dismal state of employment statistics. This is where the tourism industry has the power to make an impact in South Africa by developing and training young people to ultimately, grow the industry further. Tourism offers the potential for job creation where other industries are being forced to cut back.

Young people would be wise to consider tourism for their future careers. For matric and university graduates, there are opportunities spanning hospitality, destination marketing, management of attractions, servicing, cleaning and other service providers – the potential here should never be underestimated. There are approximately 50,000 people permanently employed in Cape Town and roughly 300,000 across the Western Cape – that is just direct employment. Then there are various service levels and supporting services which reap the benefits.

There are so many people who rely on visitors coming to our beautiful city. There are entire communities which greatly depend on business generated by tourism – Langa, Gugulethu, and Khayelitsha, for example. It is imperative that we continue to promote tourism to ensure employment stability. As long as we do it in a responsible way, and continue to drive water-wise messaging, we can create more job opportunities and support entrepreneurs to build and grow their businesses.

Other provinces hold huge potential

Cape Town has what the world wants out of a tourism destination: scenery, attractions, adventure, and the exchange rate. Other provinces hold the same potential if you look at the incredible destinations found in KwaZulu-Natal, Mpumalanga, or Limpopo, for example. Tourists may initially visit the Western Cape, but there is huge potential to expand their horizons within our beautiful country.

And let’s not forget, as locals, that there is so much to explore right on our doorstep. For every traveller, there is the potential for up to 10 employment opportunities. If we, as an industry, keep encouraging and driving tourists and locals to attractions, we can do so much more.


An article by Judiet Barnes via Bizcommunity.  Image by Kevin Healy via Unsplash

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