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#WaterCrisis: Welcome tourist spending during tough times

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Tourism is essential to the Western Cape economy

Concerned about the drought, many Capetonians are anxious about the influx of visitors about to arrive in the Mother City and surrounding areas. Wesgro, the province’s investment arm, has stepped in to assuage their fears. 

Tourism is essential to the Western Cape economy, especially during the challenging economic times brought on by the drought, says spokesperson Russel Brueton. In 2016, the province’s tourism sector directly supported 319 227 jobs (direct, indirect and induced), up by 25 508 jobs
in 2015. 
During the same period tourists spent R38.8 billion in the local economy, up by R10.2bn since 2014. According to World Travel and Tourism, the sector employed 716 500 people (4.6% of all employment) nationally in 2016 while contributing R402bn to the national economy (9.3% of the entire economy). 
Tourism in the Western Cape also created a gross value-add of more than R16.5bn. Exports as a result of tourism contributed R128bn while investment into the sector
amounted to R68.9bn. 
Judy Lain, Wesgro’s chief marketing officer, says: “Tourism presents nearly R1 in
every R10 for the country’s gross domestic product. Interviews conducted by Wesgro in Cape Town made it clear most tourists are
acutely aware of the water crisis, and are happy to be water wise. “Given that these tourists only stay in the province on average for around 10 days, and are not all here at once at any given time, international tourists only add 3.4% to the population of the Western Cape. 
“Tourists should not be viewed as a risk to our province, but as an important economic benefit that will help us th rough these more difficult economic times.”
Alan Winde, MEC for Economic Opportunities, says: “The Western Cape continues to be a leading leisure destination for travellers, recording the highest number of formal bed nights in South Africa in the past quarter. 
“Our region also reported the longest average stay during the period under review. This is because innovative tourism entrepreneurs and major attractions keep reinventing their offerings, giving tourists more reasons to visit. 
“The latest report again demonstrates why we are focusing on tourism as part of our Project Khulisa growth strategy. Tourist spend totalled R5.7bn during the first quarter of this year, driving growth and job creation in our province.”

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