Cape Town – South Africa’s most visited destination, the V&A Waterfront expects to see more visitors following the UK’s decision to remove the country from its red list.
Being on the list meant travel from the UK was on hold.
The UK cited, among other things, the presence of the beta variant and did not recognize the vaccines administered in the country.
After the country was removed from the list, local experts predicted an increase in travel bookings to and from the UK.
“We are delighted that travel is now permitted,” said Tinyiko Mageza, Executive Marketing Director of V&A Waterfront. “The whole (tourism) industry celebrated the move and 30% of Waterfront visitors are international and 40% of them are from the UK.”
At least 450,000 UK passport holders travel to the country each year. It has been less than a month since the country was taken off the list, and visits to the waterfront have yet to increase.
“It is still early days but we are expecting more visitors.
“We started to hear foreign accents in the area, which shows that visitors have started to come,” Mageza said.
The tourism industry has been hit hardest by the pandemic and the Waterfront has not been spared.
“Some of our tenants have not reopened. There are some big brands that had to be closed for good. We have closed the cinema and are looking for a new operator, ”she said.
Mageza added that it would be misleading not to admit that they are anxiously awaiting a return to normalcy so that they can resume running the business without disruption.
MEC Finance and Economic Opportunities David Maynier also welcomed the decision.
“This decision puts an end to a disconcerting diplomatic mess that risked the economic recovery of the tourism and hospitality sector in the Western Cape. The UK is a key source market for tourism in the Western Cape. In 2019, around 194,900 British tourists visited the Western Cape, spending an average of Rand 24,200 per tourist, ”he said.
Maynier said they would work hard to take advantage of the opportunity and pent-up demand to travel from the UK to South Africa by running social media campaigns and launching other campaigns on the ground.
Plans are already underway to provide visitors with a truly warm and creative African welcome this year during the holiday season. Two years ago, the V&A Waterfront questioned its approach to the annual celebration in an effort to question centuries-old narratives. Why not an African Christmas that benefits local communities?
In response, they set out to re-imagine a holiday season that would celebrate its African roots. The result was “Africa’s Joy to the World,” an approach to the holiday season that celebrated local design and sustainability.
“We asked ourselves why we were celebrating and reflecting a world that was unlike ours, and we realized we wanted to give the holiday season purpose and meaning. We wanted to do it in a way that showcases authentic African stories and inspires joy. We wanted to buy less imported decorations that were thrown away and instead, support the local and the reuse and recycling, ”explained Mageza.
Visitors will be able to see more African decorations when they visit, and with the addition of local stores, the decorations will be adapted, making it more African.