Airports Company South Africa (ACSA) is aiming to facilitate continued year-round tourism growth to the Western Cape by hosting the first co-ordinated forum for local and international tourism industry players, in partnership with The Office of the Premier of the Western Cape and the City of Cape Town.
The two-day Airline Destination Workshop at the new Cape Town International Convention Centre on September 25 and 26 will bring together the international airlines serving South Africa, major international tour operators and wholesalers, local operators and service providers. In all, over 200 local and international delegates are expected to attend.
Speaking at a pre-conference briefing for local delegates in Cape Town, Siva Pillay, workshop organiser and ACSA Group Executive Business and Market Development, said the forum was for decision makers from all key industry players to share their views and co-ordinate their future efforts.
“Until now many of the sectors within the industry have tended to concentrate on their particular areas of interest. For example airlines may understandably tend to focus on peak season capacity, but not discuss joint off-peak marketing initiatives with hotel operators. Now, for the first, time we’re providing a forum for all these interest groups to share their concerns, ideas and come up with co-ordinated solutions.”
To this end the forum is broken into two distinct parts. The conference and exhibition on the first day includes addresses by senior airline executives, hotel and conference experts, tourism agencies and local government. A series of one-on-one meetings between the different sectors in the industry are scheduled for the second day.
Pillay says the presentations on day one are intended to provide a framework for the discussions on the second day.
“We want this to be a practical forum that delivers real outcomes, not just a talkshop,” explains Pillay. “That’s why we’ve invited decision makers who’ll address real issues. The one-on-one meetings will then give people who may not normally get together an opportunity to explore mutually beneficial opportunities.”
He said that peak season airline capacity to Cape Town and the seasonality of the route are certainly two of the topical issues that will be discussed.
On the third day, international delegates will get a chance to see some of the Cape’s most popular tourist attractions.
“Cape Town has experienced an unprecedented increase in tourism over the past year and the conference sponsors are extremely aware of how important sustained growth is to the continued socio-economic development of the Western Cape. As an airport operator ACSA is ideally placed to bring the industry together to achieve this.”
Western Cape Premier, Marthinus van Schalkwyk, announced the workshop at a Western Cape Investment Conference in London in early July, when he identified the need for more airline services to Cape Town.
“We know that one of the biggest barriers to increasing the flow of visitors to the Western Cape from the United Kingdom has been the need for more frequent direct flights. Clearly much has been achieved in establishing the Western Cape as a fast-growing business and leisure destination, which warrants an increase in direct flights to Cape Town not only during the peak tourism season, but for the entire year” It is a view shared by the Cape Town Unicity Council.
“We’re backing this ACSA initiative because we recognise the importance of capitalising on Cape Town’s unprecedented popularity now in order to deliver the investment, prosperity and jobs that a sustainable tourism industry will continue to generate in future,” said Iegshaan Ariefdien, City of Cape Town Key Sectors Manager.
ACSA is hosting the Airline Destination Workshop in partnership with The Office of the Premier of the Western Cape and the City of Cape Town, with the Cullinan Hotel, Cape Town International Convention Centre and the Cape Town Convention Bureau co-sponsoring the event.
Delegates and exhibitors can obtain more information at acsa.csir.co.za/Event.asp?EvId=7 as well as register online.