Tourism remains biggest potential for growth beyond 2010

5th March 2010 By: Petronel Smit

The Western Cape Department of Economic Development and Tourism reports that the biggest potential for economic growth in the province resides in the tourism industry, particularly through its Beyond the 90 Minutes campaign – which aims to get FIFA World Cup fans out into the region, even beyond 2010.

Western Cape Finance, Economic Development and Tourism MEC Alan Winde notes that the province will use its Beyond the 90 Minutes campaign, initiated by the Western Cape’s official tourism destination marketing organisation, Cape Town Routes Unlimited (CTRU), to persuade soccer fans to return after 2010.

CTRU CEO Calvyn Gilfellan adds that the Beyond the 90 Minutes campaign presents the opportunity to introduce Cape Town and the Western Cape in a fresh and contemporary way to new tourism markets, such as Brazil and Argentina.

“The campaign aims to motivate tourists, including nonfootball visitors and locals, to experience Cape Town and the Western Cape’s diverse tourist attractions and activities before, between and after football matches,” he notes.
As a guideline, Cape Town Routes Unlimited put together six themed travel itineraries for football tourists, as well as those who love to travel. The organisa- tion reports that, with the economic slowdown, it has become important for destinations to package and present their tourism experiences in an affordable, all-inclusive way.

“We also want to seize every opportunity to fill our business calendar with high-profile conferences and congresses. “This, together with private-sector marketing drives, will present significant opportunities for tourism beyond 2010,” Winde explains.

The Western Cape has South Africa’s most developed tourism sector. Tourism currently has a 10% share of employment and has the potential to grow the province’s economy in a sustainable manner.

However, Winde warns against unrealistic expectations regarding the FIFA World Cup, saying that it will add less than 1% to the regional gross domestic product growth.

“Businesses should not expect increased profit and should price for the long term to encourage people to come back, rather than discouraging potential business in the future,” he points out.

Tourism has low barriers to entry in certain product and service categories. Winde would like to see industry and government working together in future to compete with holiday destinations across the world.

“The 2010 FIFA World Cup is our window to the world and, if we manage it cor- rectly, it could provide us with opportunities for the next ten years,” Winde concludes.