With international travel bans following the emergence of the new Covid-19 variant, the City of Cape Town has pivoted quickly to an innovative domestic tourism campaign to help tourism industry this festive season

CAPE TOWN, South Africa: The City of Cape Town’s new Executive Mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis has officially launched the domestic tourism campaign ahead of festive season in the face of COVID-19 pandemic.

The City’s Economic Growth and Tourism Directorate says it has been working non-stop, since the announcement of the recent international travel bans, to ensure the Mother City remains ready to receive visitors.

“With international travel bans following the emergence of the new Covid-19 variant, the City of Cape Town has pivoted quickly to an innovative domestic tourism campaign to help our tourism industry this festive season.

“Our launch event is testament to the quick-thinking creativity of our tourism teams, and is testament to our City’s commitment to doing what we can to help the tens of thousands of Capetonians who work in tourism to thrive in this difficult time.

“We turned this campaign on in a week to send out a clear message to every South African and Capetonian: Don’t let travel bans ruin your travel plans – come to Cape Town! We are waiting to welcome you with open arms, and can’t wait for you to safely experience the best our city has to offer,’ said Executive Mayor Hill-Lewis.

The City of Cape Town’s new Executive Mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis [left] addressing the press at the launch. Looking on is Enver Duminy, Cape Town Tourism CEO.

He said that the City team has worked quickly and creatively this week to put together an impressive collection of offers and packages to attract more South Africans to visit Cape Town this season, and to encourage Capetonians to be tourists in their own city.

“Our launch includes many discounts to flights, accommodation and attractions around Cape Town, and we are relaunching the Pocket-Friendly Campaign to give visitors lots of options. The tourism industry needs every ounce of support this summer peak season and we’re looking forward to welcoming back tourists to visit beautiful Cape Town.”

“Our team has worked quickly to pivot our summer message to a domestic audience, and I am pleased to be here today to launch their work. I have spoken about the need for Cape Town to be creative, innovative and nimble-footed and today is one important example of how we are starting to show that in practice,” he said.

‘The Pocket-Friendly Campaign’, he said, offers discounts in flights, hotels and highlights activities. With a Love Cape Town discount code found on www.travelstart.co.za, our domestic and local travellers can get up to R300 off bookings through Travelstart, Safarinow and Club Travel across flights, accommodation and experiences and that there are great deals discounted up to 20% online, adding that the summer season is the peak tourism season, with the tourism and hospitality sector supporting tens of thousands of jobs.

“Cape Town Tourism has decided to relaunch the Pocket-Friendly Campaign with Travelstart that runs until 28 February 2022, and will help counteract the abrupt international cancellations over the last two weeks. This will be done by offering our domestic travellers great discounts and lower fares to Cape Town through subsidies and vouchers across hotels, flights and experiences.

“This campaign will benefit the sector from SMME businesses such as independent local attractions, guest houses, and B&B accommodation all the way to larger hotel chains that all need assistance over these challenging times,” said the Executive Mayor.

He said that the ‘Pocket-Friendly Challenge’ is part of the overall campaign and helps promote and explain the initiative in a series of six video episodes where multi-cultural teams are given R150 per person to explore the neighbourhoods of Langa, Athlone, Kalk Bay, Sea Point, Kirstenbosch and Blouberg, where each neighbourhood is highlighted by a video, a route map, that can be downloaded, and a website feature.

Alderman James Vos, Mayoral Committee Member for Economic Growth highlighted a recent domestic survey by CTT, which indicated that the majority of South Africans have a strong appetite for vacationing over the festive period.

“Local travellers have always been a pillar of strength for our industry and to ease the financial pressure, we are really amplifying CTT’s Pocket-Friendly Campaign this year with these new offers and partnerships.

“At the same time, we are keenly focused on conversion, which is about turning potential travellers into actual bookings. CTT and the City is working closely with small businesses and communities to get them ready for visitors. For example, CTT has hosted several eKasi Tourism Development workshops and recently rolled out a Neighbourhood Experience Development practical training manual,” said Alderman James Vos.

“We have created the TravelWise initiative, which provides visitors with information on health and safety and ready access to an emergency operator through the Namola app. Travelwise was instrumental in helping myself and provincial officials in assisting international travellers stranded by the latest travel bans. Let’s continue to give travellers the best, most affordable and safest experience possible,’ said Alderman Vos.

He said that the city remains open to local visitors and all the necessary precautions are in place to ensure a safe and enjoyable summer holiday adventure. While the UK has reversed its ban on flights to Cape Town, various other countries have maintained their restrictions on South Africa.

“Cape Town is your summer [and festive season] holiday destination. The City and its partners are committed to doing everything possible to keep this city and South Africa open to protect the livelihoods of our residents. The tourism and hospitality sector needs every ounce of support we can offer. Cape Town can be your holiday destination. We have everything here: beaches, adventure activities, wine farms, top-rated restaurants and hotels.

“Based on domestic research, the primary barrier to Cape Town as a domestic leisure destination is the perception of cost versus value. To this end, the initiative is focused on our domestic marketing by promoting the diversity of our neighbourhood experiences.

“When domestic travel opened mid-August in 2020, we partnered with Travelstart to add a conversion element to the campaign, where we offered highly discounted flights to drive demand in flight bookings. This campaign was extremely successful. Cape Town International Airport domestic arrivals to Cape Town between August and December 2020 increased by 34% in four months to reach 50% of 2019 levels. We achieved a return on investment 74:1 when comparing visitor spend to campaign spend,” said Enver Duminy, Cape Town Tourism CEO.

According to the CEO the areas that are part of the Pocket Friendly Campaign are:

In Blouberg, there’s Eden On The Bay, for shopping or a sunset picnic, a perfect mountain frame pic at the beach, and surfing.

In Langa, there are a host of restaurants to sample local foods such as Eziko, Lelapa, Mzansi and Malusi’s Tavern. If you’re looking for some art, the Guga S’Thebe Arts & Culture Centre has exhibition areas and a theatre space.

In Athlone, sample the best gatsbys at Golden Dish or Super Fisheries, or fish and chips, or another southern suburbs tradition of Wembley Roadhouse and explore the local Gatesville Market or even take in street art at Kannabast Close.

Another must-see space is Kirstenbosch Gardens to see the green views from the Boomslang walkway, the national flower in the Protea Garden and enjoy a coffee or meal at the Moyo Restaurant.

Get the endorphins flowing by pedalling around the Sea Point Promenade on a hired bicycle, sink a hole-in-one at the Putt-Putt area, the little ones catch the mini locomotive at the Blue Train Park or catch a memorable selfie at the Mouille Point Lighthouse or giant Mandela Glasses.

In Kalk Bay, beat the summer heat and get an ice cream, shop for bargains, or enjoy seafood at the seaside at Kalky’s or see the seals at the Kalk Bay Harbour.

Watch the Mayor’s inaugural speech Nov 19, 2021:


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