The Cape Town International Airport reportedly recorded the highest domestic traffic volumes in April after air travel resumed in June 2020 following the hard lockdown.
According to EWN, domestic terminal numbers reached 61% of 2019 totals for last month.
“More flights give us more bums on seats and more boxes in the belly and this means that we can welcome more visitors and create more jobs through tourism and also provide trading opportunities to export more Cape Town proudly products to the rest of the world,” the report quoted Economic Opportunities and Asset Management Mayoral Committee Member, James Vos, as saying.
He added: “We are working around the clock to restore tourism and travel confidence and to get our visitor economy back on track to save businesses and retain jobs…”
This came as the country’s tourism industry continued to struggle amid COVID-19.
Lockdown and travel restrictions
South Africa’s foreign arrivals dropped by 71% from just over 15.8 million in 2019 to less than 5 million in 2020, according to Statistics South Africa.
“It is evident that the COVID-19 pandemic impacted the tourism industry quite hard around the world and in South Africa, mainly due to the lockdown and travel restrictions that were imposed,” Statistics South Africa said in a report.
The overall number of travellers decreased by 50.7% over a 15-year period from nearly 24.6 million recorded in 2006 to 12.1 million travellers recorded in 2020.
“In South Africa, the direct contribution of the tourism sector to GDP (Gross Domestic Product) was 130.1 billion rand in 2018 and constituted nearly 3% direct contribution to GDP. In 2018, the tourism sector contributed about 4,5% of total employment in South Africa.
“In 2020, the volume of tourists decreased by 72.6% from 10.2 million in 2019 to 2.8 million in 2020. The distribution of tourists by region of residence shows that 74.8% of the tourists who arrived in South Africa in 2020 were residents of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) countries and 1. 5% were from ‘other’ African countries.
“These two sub-regions constituted a total of 76.3% tourists from Africa. Residents of overseas countries made up 23.6% of the tourists,” the report said.
Picture: Cape Town etc gallery