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Cape Town and the Western Cape’s official Tourism, Trade and Investment Promotion Agency, Wesgro, on Friday hosted its Annual Review for the financial year 2017/18.

2017/18 was a challenging year for the Western Cape and South Africa. The  credit ratings downgrades witnessed during this time, coupled with the worst  drought to hit the Cape on record, meant that the Agency had to do even more in  a constrained economic environment.

With the clear mandate and support of the City of Cape Town and the Western Cape Government, the  province’s economic ecosystem responded robustly to these challenges.

Due to the work of the units in the Agency, and in partnership with public and private sector stakeholders, Wesgro on Friday announced that Cape  Town and the Western Cape’s economy was expected to receive – at least – R10,25 billion boost over the next five years, helping create more than 7 925 full time  and part time jobs during this time.

International Trade

During the past financial year, Wesgro’s International Trade Promotion Unit facilitated the signing of 53 business agreements with an estimated economic  value of R2.83bn over the next five years, expected to create 679 jobs. Further  to this, the unit facilitated outward foreign direct investment projects valued  at R190m.

Increased efforts from the unit to work closely with bigger exporters in the  province resulted in an exceptional export declaration for Vinimark Trading  (Pty) Ltd based in Stellenbosch to the value of R1.8bn. The company is the  largest independent specialist wine wholesale company in South Africa, covering  all aspects of distributing, marketing, exporting and importing of foreign and  domestic wines.

Investment Promotion

Wesgro’s Investment Promotion Unit, meanwhile, realised committed  investments worth R2.29bn, to be landed over the next five years, which  translated into 1 014 jobs. A key success for the unit was the foreign direct  investment committed by Pegas Nonwovens, the largest producer of spunmelt  nonwovens in the EMEA (Europe, the Middle East and Africa), to the value of  R1.3bn.

Agribusiness Investment

A key part of our investment promotion effort is the work done by our  dedicated Agribusiness Investment Unit, funded by the Western Cape Department  of Agriculture. This team helped land committed investments in the agribusiness  sector amounting to R756m off the back of 6 investments. This is expected to  create 1 412 jobs over the next five years. Contributing to this achievement  was the US founded Cape Town headquartered Marathon Restaurant Group, which  invested R300m in developing Pizza Hut, fast-casual restaurants in the Western  Cape, creating 700 jobs.

Film and Media Promotion

The Film and Media Promotion Unit, together with the City of Cape Town,  worked hard to keep attracting film production in the Cape. During this year,  the Unit assisted in securing R1.92bn in production value, declared in 9  declarations, contributing toward 2 499 full time equivalent jobs. Head of  Wesgro’s Film and Media Promotion Unit, Monica Rorvik, and Wesgro’s Film and  Media Promotion Officer, Lisa Mini, were also certified as African Film  Commissioner’s by the African Film Commissions Network in November last year.  The certification connects the team to a Pan-African group of mandated film  commissioners, who work together to attract production to Africa and develop  capacity across the value chain of the industry.

Leisure Tourism

The devastating drought, and the global coverage of the city’s water  shortages, had a very serious impact on our region’s tourism economy. Our team,  together with national, provincial and local government, and partners across  the private sector, responded to these challenges with a coordinated messaging  strategy.

This included the formation of a water communications room, to deal with  queries and concerns, as soon as possible. A dedicated microsite where updated  FAQs were maintained was also built to help get the message out that tourists  could still come and enjoy Cape Town and the Western Cape, although they would  need to be mindful of the drought.

During this time, the Leisure marketing team also supported over 47 regional  events in small towns across the province during April to September attracting  over 350 000 visitors, supporting over 3 000 temporary jobs and creating and  estimated economic impact of R147m. These events are key in driving  “geographical spread” so that the Western Cape’s rural economy also  benefits from tourism.

Business Tourism

The Cape Town and the Western Cape Convention Bureau, which is responsible  for promoting Cape Town and the Western Cape amongst meetings, incentives  conference and event organisers, helped secure 33 bids for the destination.  This had a projected economic impact of R453m.

These bid ‘wins’ helped contribute to Cape Town maintaining its top position  in Africa, in the ICCA ratings.

Amongst the many bid wins the Convention Bureau successfully landed the  prestigious YPO EDGE and Global Leadership Conference. This conference is  expected to attract up to 3 000 of the top CEOs from the globe to the Mother  City.

Collectively, the Destination Marketing Unit generated and economic impact  of R454.4m and R29m worth of advertorial value equivalent media coverage in the  2017/18 financial year.

Cape Town Air Access

The Cape Town Air Access partnership between Wesgro, the City of Cape Town,  the Western Cape Government, South African Tourism, Cape Town Tourism, Airports  Company South Africa, and private sector partners, demonstrates the power of  collaboration in boosting the Cape economy.

In just three years, this initiative has helped land 13 new routes and 18  route expansions, adding an additional 750 000 inbound seats to Cape Town International  Airport. These additional passengers have spent an estimated R6bn in the Cape  economy. During the financial year in review, the economic impact of  the project is estimated to be R2bn.

Outgoing Minister of Economic Opportunities, Alan Winde said:  “Wesgro has played an important role in the past year in marketing our province  as well as in securing trade and investment. Their hard work means that 7925  new jobs will be created over the next five years, helping us to achieve our  number one strategic goal in the Western Cape of growing the economy and  creating jobs.”

Minister of Economic Opportunities, Beverley Schafer said: “A  few weeks ago, Wesgro launched its campaign aimed at the international investor  market, with the tagline ‘a place of more’. These numbers for the 2017/18 year  show that we are indeed a place of more- more jobs, more investment and more  opportunities to grow the economy.”

Acting Executive Mayor, Ian Nielson, spoke to how the City uses Wesgro as a vehicle to drive investment. Speaking to the power of collaboration and how we need to do as much as we can with that which we have at our disposal, Nielson commented : “Through working with our partners we are have a better chance of building an economy that is resilient to shocks and stresses.”

Working hard to combat negative perceptions caused by the drought messaging, the Agency together with the public and private sector partners have launched several campaigns in an effort to put Cape Town and the Western Cape back on the consideration list for tourism, and to build  investor confidence in our region and country.

Wesgro CEO, Tim Harris, elaborated on these campaigns: “At the beginning of September #ItsAllStillHere  tourism campaign launched. Consisting of three short, shareable videos –  profiling the Cape’s top surfing talent, natural beauty, and world class surf  conditions. The campaign acknowledges that although our region has suffered its  worst drought in history, we’ve got through the crisis and our extraordinary destination  is “all still here”.

Still to be officially launched,  Wesgro’s DMO has been working with key stakeholders at all levels of government  and in the tourism industry to launch the ‘Nowhere does it better’ campaign. Harris  went on to explain: “This globally focused campaign showcases the breadth and  depth of various activities within the Western Cape and the proximity these are  to one another.”

“In addition to this, a campaign was  launched last month to showcase the many opportunities for investment in the  Cape. This marketing campaign’s key objective is to instil confidence in the  economy of the Cape and South Africa internationally, by showcasing the many  opportunities for investment across a variety of sectors,” added Harris.

Head of the Western Cape Department of Economic Development and Tourism –  and recently awarded gold for the Best Head of Department (Provincial) by the  National Batho Pele Excellence Awards – Solly Fourie said: “The Department of Economic Development and Tourism, during the year under review, focused on creating an enabling  environment for economic growth and jobs. Wesgro, as the Department’s trade and  investment agency, supported this vision through initiatives to attract  investment to the Western Cape. We applaud their success stories, especially in  the field of Air Access, Investment Promotion and Tourism. We value our  relationship and look forward to continue creating opportunities for growth  together.”

Lance Greyling, Director: Enterprise and Investment City of Cape Town, concluded: “The  City of Cape Town is immensely proud of all that has been achieved within our  economy over the last year, notwithstanding the enormous challenges we have  been faced with, such as an unprecedented water crisis. The fact that we have  been able to continue creating jobs and attracting investment into our City is  testament to the resilience of our ecosystem and the pivotal role that agencies  like Wesgro play within it. The partnerships that  have been forged in  this challenging period can now help us grow our economy even further and  firmly position our city as a globally competitive, forward looking business  destination.”

Wesgro  is Cape Town and the Western Cape’s official Tourism, Trade and  Investment Promotion Agency, and receives its mandate and funding from the  Western Cape Government’s Department of Economic Development and Tourism and  the City of Cape Town.

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