Cape Town is ready for take-off
22 June 2020
STATEMENT BY THE CITY’S MAYORAL COMMITTEE MEMBER FOR ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITIES AND ASSET MANAGEMENT, ALDERMAN JAMES VOS
The City of Cape Town, has for the new financial year renewed funding for the successful Cape Town Air Access (CTAA) located in WESGRO, an initiative to ensure we get the aviation sector back on its feet. Together with our strategic business partners, we are working on recovery plans for the aviation sector which came to a complete halt during the global coronavirus lockdown. Key aspects of our recovery plans include lobbying national government for the earlier reopening of the aviation sector for regional and international travel, rebuilding confidence in air travel, and the resumption and expansion of air cargo. Read more below:
As operations were brought to a complete halt in a bid to contain the spread of the virus, the global aviation sector has been one of the hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. The impact on Cape Town of the loss of tourists as well as cargo capacity has certainly been felt.
The aviation economy is a crucial driver of growth in Cape Town’s local economy because more connections create jobs and deliver trade and tourism opportunities. This is why the aviation sector is a key part of our economic recovery plan and why connectivity forms part of the City’s strategy to connect Cape Town with key destinations in Africa and globally. Since its launch in 2015, our efforts have contributed to the success of securing 16 new routes, 22 route expansions and increased the international seat capacity to 1,5 million two-way seats.
Various scenarios have been drawn up during the planning phase of the recovery strategy. If we are to minimise the impact of the measures to contain COVID-19, the City of Cape Town fully supports and will push for the components of a scenario where the country’s aviation sector adopts and implements applicable health and safety measures at a faster rate than other countries. This will allow for the unrestricted opening of air travel for both business and leisure travel, domestically and internationally, with international flights allowed from November 2020.
If we can open up unrestricted domestic and international aviation for both passenger and cargo transport in November 2020 rather than January 2021, CTAA estimates that we will be able to reduce projected losses to the industry of more than R5.1 billion. This would be due to the opening up of the sector for the peak summer season between November 2020 and March 2021.
I visited the Cape Town International Airport earlier this month and was very impressed with the readiness of the airport as well as the significant health and safety protocols in place to protect staff and travellers. I can confidently say Cape Town is ready to welcome visitors to the Mother City.
It is also vital that we resume with air cargo so we can get back to exporting our locally produced goods to compete on the world stage, thereby supporting local businesses and the sustainability of employment in this sector.
Early on in the crisis to face this challenge head-on, I established the Tourism Task Team to manage and co-ordinate the interventions needed to minimise the devastating effect that COVID-19 has on the tourism industry.
The City of Cape Town and our official Destination Marketing Organisation, Cape Town Tourism (CTT), will partner with industry specialists to breathe life back into our tourism industry and, equally as important, the sectors that underpin the tourism industry, such as food and beverage, accommodation, transportation, events as well as goods and services.
Our recovery plans include investing in airport branding in our key source markets so that Cape Town is top of mind when domestic and international travel commences.
We will tailor targeted messaging to visit Cape Town to our international markets and will soon launch an exciting and easy-to-use SMART CITY app.
I am confident that together with our official tourism agency, combined with the recovery plans we have in place, we will come back from this crisis, stronger than before and ready to share the abundant experiences Cape Town has on offer.