Mariette du Toit-Helmbold, the chief executive of Cape Town Tourism, said on the 10th in a press release that seasonality remained “the biggest threat” to tourism businesses in and around the city, although occupancy rates in city hotels had remained higher in April and May than in earlier years. “If we cannot establish year-round demand for Cape Town as a leisure, business and events destination the industry will remain threatened and we will not be able to grow the sector.”
Members (in a small sample) claimed occupancy for April and may of 50.2% and 39.1%. For the record, Abbey Manor did 60% and 58% (cough cough). These numbers are definitely up from a rather dismal 2011.
At the same time, some who has lived through the last week in Cape Town must wonder why anyone in their right mind would come at all?
The fact is that all tourism centres are seasonal, and anyone who structures a product that can’t survive the low season should not be in that business at all. Many other markets are seasonal too, like ice-cream.
The business market is moving fast to highly discounted low-grade hotels as companies look to slash costs. We do get business people, but they are generally the upper echelons looking for a special treat. The conference business is nice, but many prefer to be close to the CTICC.
Our view is that there always reasons to come to Cape Town, even in the worst of winters. Restaurants are cosy and offer the most outrageous specially. Sometimes (like as I write this) the clouds part and the sun comes out, and that is the time I love best in this beautiful town.