City of Cape Town: outcomes of 2022/23 tourism strategy

Finance, Economic Opportunities and Tourism (WCPP)

23 June 2023
Chairperson: Ms C Murray (DA)
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Meeting Summary


The Standing Committee on Finance, Economic Opportunities, and Tourism received a briefing from the City of Cape Town (CoCT) and Cape Town Tourism (CTT) on the outcomes of their tourism strategy for the 2022/23 tourism season and the challenges experienced. It was also briefed on “Unlocking Cape Town’s Tourism Potential”.

The Committee noted the shared successes highlighted by the CoCT and CTT. However, it expressed concern that more than one entity was attempting to obtain mileage from the same initiatives. It recommended that duplication should be prevented, and emphasised the need for funding allocated to provincial tourist economic initiatives and opportunities.

Members noted that municipalities interpreted their roles in tourism in various ways. Some municipalities in-sourced tourism to a large extent, while others contributed financially to new ventures. They asked what the CoCT and CTT would advise rural municipalities on their tourism products. They emphasised the importance of partnerships with local municipalities, and asked what would be done to enhance these partnerships, especially in rural areas. They called for improved prosperity, human capacity, job creation and development of local municipalities.

Meeting report

The Committee expressed its gratitude to Alderman James Vos, Mayoral Committee Member (MMC): Economic Growth, City of Cape Town (CoCT), and Mr Enver Duminy, Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Cape Town Tourism (CTT), for presenting the briefing.

City of Cape Town Tourism and Place Marketing 2023 Performance and Outlook

Cllr Vos took Members through the presentation.

Bounce Back Plan

To achieve increased volumes and greater value: The core strategic drivers underpinning Cape Town’s Bounce Back Plan are to instil traveller confidence; embed an adaptive capability and ensure differentiation on the global stage. These responses are delivered in two phases: Adjustment and Recovery:

  • Create a tourism-related job in every house
  • Implement TDF to grow the tourism economy
  • Position Cape Town as premier destination 6-Pillars
  • Drive affordability and accessibility
  • Carry out Responsible Tourism

Tourism Development Framework (TDF) 2024 Priority Areas:

  1. Ensuing visitor comfort
  2. Improving and diversifying products and experiences
  3. Stimulating demand
  4. Generating community involvement and support
  5. Organising for growth

Members were taken through improvements to safety and security, visitor communications, iconic site improvements, destination marketing, leveraging tourism events, strategic interventions, product development, international agreements and cooperation and destination enhancement events.

The presentation also addressed the COCT department of enterprise and investment - since 2016, the City’s Enterprise & Investment Department has engaged over 602 companies and organisations that has supported investment projects valued at over ZAR33bn, and the creation of 1 500+ direct jobs

Unlocking Cape Town’s Tourism Potential

Mr Duminy took Members through the presentation. He emphasised that the CTT was led by the White Paper on Tourism and legislation. It subscribed to the principle that tourism must be government-led, private sector-driven, and community supported. It was essential in the work conducted, and was vital at a national level.

A commonality in most communities was visible tourists as an indicator of tourism. On the other side, when there was a low number of tourists, creating a hub of employment opportunities was important. This was opposed to forcing tourism, where there was a low potential for fast growth.

Recovery from the effects of the pandemic was still underway, and was an ongoing process. Most companies which had survived had incurred huge debts to keep their staff and structures in place. The loans had to be recovered out of the net profits.

(See documents for details)


Mr A van der Westhuizen (DA) thanked the presenters for the insightful briefing. The Committee’s main responsibility was provincial oversight.

He noted the shared successes highlighted by the CoCT and CTT. However, he also noted that more than one entity attempted to obtain mileage from the same initiatives.

He emphasised the funding allocated to provincial tourist economic initiatives and opportunities. He asked the CTT to expand on its relationship with Wesgro and provincial tourism initiatives. Where did the CoCT and CTT differentiate their focus to prevent duplication?

Municipalities interpreted their roles in tourism in various ways. Some municipalities in-sourced tourism to a large extent, and others contributed financially to new ventures. What would the CoCT and CTT advise rural municipalities on their tourism products?

On local tourism, opportunities to promote visits to Cape Town were often done through persons, not in the tourism field -- for example, academics. To what extent did the CoCT and CTT logistically support such persons and initiatives?

Mr G Brinkhuis (Al Jama-ah) said he was encouraged by the promotion of Cape Town’s tourism, adding that it was one of the top global destinations. Cape Town had positive ties with the United States (particularly New York) and Germany (particularly Berlin). He encouraged Cape Town’s participation in tourism opportunities in the context of the Far and Middle East.

Mr I Sileku (DA) appreciated the local tourist developments in the township areas. What challenges and successes arose from business collaborations in the township communities?

He stressed the importance of partnerships with local municipalities, and asked what could be done to enhance these partnerships, especially in rural areas. He called for improved prosperity, human capacity, job creation, and development of local municipalities.


City of Cape Town

Cllr Vos responded to the question about the relationship between the CoCT and its entities, and said it had service delivery partnerships with all its entities. He supported partnerships with strategic business entities. Special purpose vehicles were funded with specific objectives in mind, to extract the best economic value.

The municipality had to work within the guidelines of the Municipal Systems Act. The Act provides guidelines on how it transacts with the special purpose vehicles, and the special levies or delivery agreements. Such agreements were drafted with consideration ahead of time. It was also specified with whom the entities may collaborate. Specific contracts had specific deliverables.

Tourism was a means to real economic growth and job creation. It was a driver of business growth. It also ensured that there was one job in every household.

The service agreement with Wesgro was specific, because the provincial government funded it for investment and tourism promotion. Wesgro existed because of a provincial act, and was thus a sound partnership.

The CoCT funded its programmes as a delivery agent for specific programmes aligned with the city’s economic growth plan. The programmes were investment promotion, export promotion, conventions bureau, air access, and crews. This was to ensure that there was no confusion or duplication. Concerning "Day Zero," for example, the CoCT, Wesgro and all the industry bodies had collaborated in putting out a single message to avoid a confused audience and provide a clear message on mitigation and what was on offer. There was a very specific joint campaign.

In the CoCT, a specific department deals with the tourist aspects of the city. A lean team leads the implementation of programmes and collaborates with relevant agencies, including Wesgro. It was mindful of its budget and thus had a budget with a specific timeframe and deliverables' objectives.

The CoCT was marketed on the basis of six pillars, including destination development within communities. It also included collaboration with neighbouring municipalities, as tourism had no boundaries.

It had four sister agreements with cities in China, including investment, tourism and trade. Similarly, it signed an agreement with the city of Dubai in the Middle East in 2019.

Africa was the biggest resource market in the area of trade, so the CoCT focused more on exports and trade with African countries.

Cape Town Tourism

Mr Duminy said that CTT and Wesgro share their plans to make it more practical and to avoid duplication. If there was duplication, the plans were rewritten accordingly.

There was also a partnership on air access, so CTT was not just a partner with the CoCT on marketing and management.

The awards that had been won reflected not only the province’s achievements, but also the country's in the context of a global economy. Much time should be spent on the digital component.

CTT conducts destination marketing and management. It focuses on quality product delivery.

One of the challenges was underfunding. Tourism was seen as a low priority in household budgets, especially due to the high level of unemployment.

Loadshedding also impacted the cost of doing business, as alternative energy sources were costly. Government did not subsidise tourism, which pushed up product prices.

CTT hosts township sessions every second month in different communities and with different products. Major challenges include loadshedding, which greatly affects small businesses. Another major challenge was the perception of safety and managing negative media coverage.

Local and rural municipalities must collaborate with tourist business entities on joint activities. Business tourism includes events and conferences. Applications were encouraged through formalised event structures in the city.

Advisory meetings were held regularly between CTT and rural municipalities. CTT did not compete with rural municipalities.

The Chairperson thanked the presenters for the discussion and participation.

Committee matters

The Committee considered the draft Annual Activities Report for 2022/23, and the draft minutes of the previous meeting held on 17 March. The minutes and report were unanimously approved and adopted.

The Chairperson thanked Members for their attendance. 

The meeting was adjourned.


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