In total, 10 979 946-million passenger arrivals and departures were recorded by Cape Town International Airport (CTIA) in 2019, representing a year-on-year increase of about 2% when compared to 2018. According to the City of Cape Town, this is heartening despite the impact of the drought and other challenges.
Overall arrivals grew from 5 364 704 in 2018 to 5 468 093 in 2019, equating to an increase of 103 389 additional passengers passing through the CTIA, which has been ranked the top airport in Africa.
“The growth reflected in the tourism numbers reflects the attractiveness of Cape Town as a tourism destination. We are pleased that visitor numbers have increased, which is a promising recovery after the drought put a damper on tourism. Cape Town remains a destination of choice and we will continue to work hard to promote Cape Town as it is the backbone of job creation,” said Executive Mayor Dan Plato.
The domestic market grew by 4.92% in December 2019 when compared to December 2018.
Overall domestic arrivals for 2019 (full year) recorded a 2.56% increase in comparison to 2018. On the regional and international front, visitor arrivals for the year (2019), when compared to 2018, grew by half a percentage point.
“We are optimistic, however, that significant growth will be recorded in our regional and international arrivals during our traditional peak season for these tourists, between January to March 2020. It’s no secret that the tourism industry was hard hit by the effects of the drought last year, but reports from many of our tourism partners have been largely positive,” said the City’s Mayco Member for Economic Opportunities and Asset Management, James Vos.
The City, along with partners Wesgro and Cape Town Tourism, have been working to counter the negative messages around water shortages and decreasing rainfall in 2018, and is pleased that the narrative is beginning to change internationally.
Growth in international traffic at CTIA is testament to the good work of the Cape Town Air Access team, which has spearheaded the launch of several new routes over the last year, including the first direct flight between Cape Town and New York in December.
The Air Access initiative, a partnership between the City of Cape Town, the Western Cape Government, Airports Company South Africa, Wesgro, Cape Town Tourism, South African Tourism, and the private sector, has helped land 16 new routes to CTIA, adding over 1.5-million two-way seats to the city destination. This has resulted in a R6-billion boost to the economy since 2015.
“For the festive season, which started in December 2019 and runs up until March 2020, we expect almost 50 000 travellers to arrive from the UK alone, demonstrating an increase of 30% when compared to the same period last year. Meanwhile Germany shows a 20% increase and the USA 11%. These numbers are based on actual flight reservations,” said Vos.
In 2019, CTIA, once again, won the award for Africa’s Leading Airport. These awards, among a host of other accolades, acknowledge our efforts and signify a turn for tourism in Cape Town.
Tourism accounts for thousands of jobs in our city and has great growth potential. The City, in partnership with Cape Town Tourism, will continue investing in programmes and initiatives to drive demand that make business sense.
“We will continue working with the industry in 2020 to ensure that this sector grows as it is an important creator of jobs and business,” said Alderman Vos.