South Africa has seen a 6,9% decline in inbound foreigner traveller numbers for the period April 2017 to April 2018, according the Statistics SA’s latest findings released on 18 June.
The drop is estimated to have seen foreigner arrival numbers shrink from 14 million to 1,3 million, while outbound and transit traveller numbers have also been hit, with a 9% and 4% drop respectively.
While other reports have attributed the decline to unfriendly-visa policies and difficult economic conditions globally, Cape Town lost R1 billion in tourism revenue due to the drought that began in 2015, which led to water restrictions that culminated in the destination being less appealing to international tourists, according to a report by EWN.
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The article cited findings by Wesgro – Cape Town and the Western Cape’s official tourism, trade & investment promotion agency – and quoted its Chief Marketing Officer, Judy Lain, who said: “In 2017, Western Cape saw double-digit growth of 10% and then we look at quarter 1 for 2018, we see a decline of 10%, so we’ve gone backwards 10% in terms of growth. If we look at quarters 2, 3 and 4, we see a 15% decline.”
A joint solar-powered desalination plant project by the Western Cape and French governments amounting to R9 million is said to have potential to bring relief to the province.
According to News24, should the plant receive environmental approval for operation in the fourth quarter, it will be “located in the coastal town of Witsand on the mouth of the Breede River”, with the capacity to produce at least 100kl of water a day.