Cape Town - South Africa's Mother City is currently experiencing one of the busiest and most successful festive season ever recorded - and it ain't over yet!
Preliminary figures for visitor traffic at Cape Town's major attractions, and especially Cape Town International Airport, in December 2016 shows that most of the Mother City's hotspots are seeing a massive up in tourism number from the same time last year.
And it's not as if the tourist figures were weak to start with.
Last year, Cape Town also reported a record-breaking holiday season for the month of December, with attractions like the Table Mountain Cableway and Robben Island citing increases of up to 28% more visitors than the previous.
This year, even more attractions have confirmed the increase in tourists.
Take a look at the visitor numbers to some of the major attractions:
Robben Island Museum ferried 49 738 visitors to the Island this past festive season, 4% more than in December 2015.
READ: Locals love Robben Island again! Record tourist numbers hail in 20th year
Kirstenbosch experienced a record December with the most visitors in a month. December figures showed 118 699 visitors, a 6% increase year-on-year. The second best performing month in their history was December 2014 with 116 986 visitors, only seven visitors less than December 2016.
Groot Constantia experienced a record December with 79 000 visitors, a 25% increase in December 2015. However, total visitors for the year amounted to 437 000, a 5% increase year-on-year.
Cape Point experienced a record December with 129 039 visitors, a 15% increase year-on-year. Their second busiest month was in October 2016, with 113 709 visitors. Total visitors for 2016 amounted to 1 095 270, a 23% increase year-on-year.
Table Mountain received 150 201 visitors in December 2016, a 0.3% increase year-on-year. Their 2016 total visitor figures amount to 1 102 189, a 14% increase year-on-year.
Even in cases where December figures were slightly lower, the attractions posted fantastic annual figures reflecting growth up from 2015.
The Waterfront, for example, had a 1% decrease in visitors year-on-year for December. However, for 2016 in total, they had almost 1 million more visitors than 2015. The Watershed and Aquarium visitor numbers have increased in 2016 and this could explain the decrease in visitors to the Waterfront.
Cape Town International Airport BOOMING
Cape Town International Airport’s arrival figures hit the ball out of the park, with the airport announcing that it had achieved the milestone of 10 million passengers in one year for the first time.
SEE: Cape Town International Airport hits 10 million passenger milestone in 2016
The airport saw a total arrival 5 028 430 passengers in 2016, a 7% increase year-on-year.
The 2016 arrivals breakdown looks as follows, showing a positive incline on both the domestic, regional and international platform:
Domestic arrivals - 4 030 151 (5% increase)
Regional arrivals - 101 275 (19% increase)
International arrivals - 891 945 (16% increase)
In December alone, a total of 522 659 arrivals were recorded, marking an 8% increase year-on-year. The fourth quarter 2016 (Oct-Dec 2016) also experienced a 6% increase year-on-year compared to the same quarter in 2015.
Astonishingly, international arrivals showed a whopping 29% increase in December 2016, pointing to the roaring success of the various new flight routes which connect Cape Town to the rest of the world, directly.
READ: Airlines launched over 3 000 new routes in 2016, more expected in 2017
Local tourism on the rise
Tourism organisations cited locals preferring to stay within South Africa in December and the exchange rate, which remains favourable for international visitors as contributing to the favourable results.
Robben Island too, citing their record-breaking festive season, said the number of local visitors increased significantly.
According to Enver Duminy, CEO, Cape Town Tourism, “The figures represent an enormous boost to the city’s economy during December, as well as an indication that the growth potential in the tourism sector remains positive.
"While it’s still high season, with plenty of visitors still to arrive, we’re confident that the 2016/2017 holiday period will be one of the city’s highest-ever."
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