#Shotleft: Festive Season research shows a boost in regional visitors in Western Cape

Cape Town - Regional tourism in Western Cape is on the rise, with more tourists leaving Cape Town to explore other parts of the province.

Wesgro spoke to local tourism offices to gauge the number of visitors to their areas, and 30 out of 36 offices reported a notable increase in visitors, including international visitors with a few emerging markets. Official statistics for December will only be published later by South African Tourism.

SEE: Cape Town Airport: Be early for flights as December is set to be the busiest ever

Western Cape Minister of Economic Opportunities, Alan Winde, welcomed these findings.

“The positive feedback received from these offices points to a growth in geographic spread. More people are getting out onto the open road and exploring the diversity of attractions that are on offer across the province.”

“Key goals of Project Khulisa, our economic growth strategy, include securing more direct flights and spreading the returns of tourism across our region to create growth and jobs in rural areas. These results prove that we are having a positive impact," says Winde.

The Garden route saw an increase of tourists despite the devastating fires in 2017, with Mossel Bay seeing an increase in visitors from India and George/Wilderness seeing a notable increase in visitors from the Middle East. Barrydale recorded the highest number of tourists in the last two years, while Tulbagh and Paternoster saw a rise in domestic tourists.

ALSO SEE: More direct flight routes on the cards as Cape Town Air Access and SAT join forces

Increase in direct flights to Cape Town International

The Cape Town Air Access project has assisted in landing 12 new routes to the city's airport, increasing the airport's seat capacity to over 700 000. The latest new routes was added by Singapore Airlines, which increased its flights from four times a week to daily flights. Other new direct flights were also established to Victoria Falls and Cologne, as well as the expansion of Air France's Paris route.

Though domestic arrivals at the airport took a dip compared to the 11,5% increase in international arrivals, it's expected that South African tourists preferred to travel the province by road.

Full statistics for attractions in Cape Town are still to be finalised and will be released once verified. Cape Town Tourism CEO, Enver Duminy, noted that Cape Town retained its popularity as a travel destination due the natural and cultural offerings in the city.

"It is also pleasing to see that water consumption in the city remained the same despite increased numbers of tourists in December. Thank you to all of our visitors and locals for their water-saving efforts.”

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