W Cape tourism is booming. Could get turbo boost from F1 Grand Prix in 2016

The Western Cape’s MEC for Economic Opportunities, Alan Winde, has released spectacular visitor numbers for the Western Cape for the past 2014/2015 summer season.

Tourism is the largest growth engine in the Western Cape in terms of income and its ability to create jobs.

According to Winde, tourism is set to have created 324 000 formal jobs by 2019 in the province. Currently, 204 000 people are employed in tourism in the Western Cape.

Winde laments the difficulty for people from BRIC nations to visit the Western Cape due to visa regulations, which have generated much discussion in the past year.

F1 Grand Prix coming to Cape Town?

Last month Bernie Ecclestone confirmed he was “in the middle of trying to do something in South Africa” and that we could see the return of Formula One as early as 2016.

“I would welcome a Grand Prix,” says Winde. “However, I’m not interested in taking R100-million of taxpayers’ money to make it happen. We must find an economic model to realise this opportunity. Hopefully we can get this onto the calendar.”

Winde says he’d prefer the event during Cape Town’s low season.

Listen to the audio for more detail:

Additional info

  • Visitor numbers to Cape Town International Airport increased by 3.2 percent compared to 2013-2014. Arrivals to the airport are up by 8.2 percent year-on-year.

  • Restaurants in the Overstrand reported 80 percent occupancy.

  • The number of visitors to the Agulhas National Park increased by 130 percent while De Hoop recorded a 30 percent increase year-on-year.

  • The Table Mountain National Park recorded a 14.8 percent increase in visitor numbers from 2013.

“We’ve seen great growth in Cape Town, but what’s also really nice to see is how much tourism in areas further afield is growing,” said Winde.

Also listen to CapeTalk presenter John Matham discuss the Western Cape’s tourism boom with Winde:

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