Project Khulisa: Western Cape’s 3-point tourism strategy showing results

2017-07-28 09:46 - Kavitha Pillay
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Cape Town - Since 2014, more than 20 000 jobs have been created in the Western Cape's tourism sector, with foreign tourist spend increasing by R4 billion.

One of the efforts that have led to these significant increases is Project Khulisa, the Western Cape’s targeted strategy to grow the tourism sector. 

Minister of Economic Opportunities, Alan Winde, and Wesgro - the Western Cape's tourism, trade and investment promotion agency - shared insight on the project at Thursday 27 July's, mid-term report-back on the province's tourism sector.

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Project Khulisa was launched in 2014. "Khulisa" translates into 'cause to grow' in isiXhosa, making it a fitting title for the project that is aimed to "accelerate growth and jobs in the province’s most competitive sectors, which includes tourism," says Winde.

The Project aims to increase awareness of the Western Cape in key markets and sectors, improve accessibility to Cape Town and the regions, and boost the attractiveness of the region through competitive offerings.

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Winde says that the original Project Khulisa baseline has been revised, with more detailed, localised research completed by the team "to assess the worth of the tourism sector at a regional level".

“Our original baseline relied on national figures, aggregated to provincial level. We've now fully developed a social accounting matrix for the province, which gives more accurate regional stats," he says.

Project Khulisa interventions since 2014 to grow the tourism sector

1. Boost awareness of the Western Cape in key markets and sectors to drive conversion

To increase awareness of the Western Cape in key markets, one of the 2014 goals as part of Project Khulisa was to develop and implement a Delegate Boosting and Conversion programme. According to Winde, the new delegate boosting programme is “showing great success”.

An example he gives of the progress is the World Congress of Physical Therapy 2017, which will be held in Africa for the first time. “With help from the bureau they have exceeded their 2000 delegate mark,” he says.

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Another goal was to develop and implement an Africa and Gulf Co-operation Council countries growth strategy. Winde says “the focus on this programme is to increase awareness of the Western Cape in the GCC market. We have partnered with Dnata (one of the biggest travel agencies operating in that region) and engaged with 57 top travel agents who sell the Western Cape and hosted 15 of them in country.”

A third goal was to develop data and real-time business intelligence capacity. “We have launched the dashboards and are now looking at moving paper-based research to real-time data collection,” says Winde.

2. Improve accessibility

To improve accessibility to Cape Town and the regions, Project Khulisa had 2 goals since 2014.

The first was to secure three new direct air routes, and by 2017 ten new direct air routes have been secured.

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The second goal was to lobby for friendlier visa regulations. Winde says in 2015 “National Government revised its onerous visa regulations, which severely impacted jobs and growth in our tourism sector. Following the revision, it was no longer mandatory for travellers from visa exempt countries to present unabridged birth certificates.”

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He adds that many of the recommendations implemented were contained in a report and submitted to the Inter-Ministerial Committee in June 2017. “The report was the accumulation of case studies and stakeholder input compiled by our Red Tape Reduction Unit,” says Winde.

In addition, Wesgro facilitated an engagement with Deputy Minister of Home Affairs, Fatima Chohan, which resulted in the Cape Investor Centre. This centre “will open next week to assist large investors to complete local, provincial and national regulatory processes in a single location facilitated by Wesgro,” says Winde.

3. Boost the attractiveness of the region through competitive offerings

To achieve this, Project Khulisa set 4 goals in 2014:

Position the Western Cape as the cycling capital of Africa. This was achieved when The CrossCape inaugural ride took place in May 2017.

SEE: Be the first to join the inaugural Cross Cape cycle ride

Maximise culture and heritage tourism through a Madiba Legacy Tourism Route. “The City of Cape Town will discuss one aspect of this initiative, the statue at City Hall, during a full council meeting,” says Winde, adding that the “Madiba Legacy Tourism Road Signs was erected along the R301 along a part of the route which directs visitors to Drakenstein Correctional Services”.

SEE: New life-size Madiba statue in Cape Town gets the go ahead

Position the province as an international business and leisure events destination. “The value of conference bids has almost doubled since 2014, reaching R425m in 2016/17,” says Winde. Events “attracted 150 000 visitors to regions across the province and generated R260m for the economy” even during off-peak seasons.

SEE: Cape Town named top city in Africa for business tourism

Develop and implement a service level improvement programme. “The Journey to Service Excellence (J2SE) programme has been piloted in Clanwilliam, during 2016,” says Winde, and implemented in Langebaan and Saldanha Bay in 2017.

“The workshop component will be completed this week,” says Winde, adding that the radio competition for the second round of the initiative will commence in the West Coast from 4 August until 8 September.

See the impact of Project Khulisa from 2014 to 2017:

(Supplied by Wesgro).

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