Top S.African tourist destination sees spike in domestic travel

Johannesburg, Apr 17 (IANS): Western Cape province, a top tourist destination in South Africa, witnessed an increase in domestic travel over the Easter weekend, as it seeks to attract travellers, the provincial government said in a statement.

The increase, which was recorded across the province, especially in small towns, reflects the "pent-up" demand by travellers looking to take advantage of the long weekend and explore family-friendly, wallet-friendly and world-class experiences in the Western Cape, Xinhua news agency quoted the statement as saying.

Over the Easter weekend, the occupancy rates of accommodation establishments reached to at least 70 to 80 per cent, in which camping and self-catering establishments were most popular, said the government, adding that outdoor activities and experiences such as farmers markets, cycle and hiking routes, nature parks and beaches were well supported.

However, the tourism sector also experienced a "notable increase" in last-minute cancellations and bookings as a result of uncertainty brought by Covid-19 and possible stricter restrictions, according to the government.

Figures from Airports Company South Africa (ACSA) showed that the domestic terminal at Cape Town International Airport, located in Western Cape's capital city, received over 61,000 passengers for the Easter weekend, reflecting a 65 per cent recovery compared to the 2019 Easter weekend.

According to the release, international arrivals continue to be affected by global restrictions on travel, which will continue to have a significant impact on the tourism and hospitality sector in the Western Cape.

Western Cape's coastline stretches over 1,000 km, the longest in South Africa's provinces, which includes sandy beaches with rocky to steep and mountainous features in places.

Twenty-eight of the 44 beaches in South Africa that are recognised as Blue Flag beaches are in the Western Cape.

It is also famous for its touring routes for wine farms, as well as wildlife sanctuaries, nature reserves and national parks.


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