Newsletter: SAACI WC Branch | June 19

Newsletter: SAACI WC Branch | June 19


It is my pleasure to welcome you to our first edition of the SAACI Western Cape quarterly newsletter.  Topics that will be covered  are specific to the Western Cape.  We would love to include your news as well or any of your achievements.  Please feel free to pop us an email at  with anything that you feel you would like to share with your fellow SAACI members, and we will include it in our next addition.

Something that we would  like to  include is a member spotlight area.  If you would like us to highlight your business or share your story of how being a SAACI member has been valuable to you, please send us an email at

 Just a reminder that we have our next branch event, a POPI Workshop being presented by Louis van Niekerk from Dorrington Jessop Incorporated  on Wednesday, 3 July at the Alphen Boutique Hotel.  Space is limited to 30 attendees so be sure not to miss out and register by clicking here.

Yours in business events

Jaques Fouche
Chair:  Western Cap

Non-stop flight between Cape Town and USA announced

Cape Town Air Access  welcomes the announcement by United Airlines that they intend launching a new nonstop route between the US and Cape Town, from Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey, New York.

If approved by the US Department of Transportation, United’s service between New York/Newark and Cape Town will be operated with Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft featuring 48 seats in United Polaris business class, 88 seats in United Economy Plus and 116 seats in United Economy.

This will be a game-changer for Cape Town and the Western Cape, linking the Cape to the important North American market. It will not only boost tourism but grow cargo and attract even more FDI into the Western Cape from US companies.

“We are always looking at ways to expand our industry-leading international route network to offer our customers more convenient options. We’re thrilled to announce the addition of Africa to our global route offering,” said Patrick Quayle, United’s vice president of International Network. “This new flight will provide customers with the only nonstop service between the United States and Cape Town.”

Newark Liberty International Airport, located in New Jersey, is one of four airports serving the New York metropolitan area. In 2017, the airport was the 6th busiest airport by international passenger traffic in the US. Just 16 miles (25km) from downtown Manhattan, Newark Airport provides quick access to the Big Apple and it’s commercial and cultural centres.

“This is a game-changer for our region. North America was one of the largest unserved markets for Cape Town and the Western Cape, with the USA ranked as the 3rd largest market for inbound passengers to Cape Town International Airport in 2017”, says Tim Harris, Wesgro CEO.

Deon Cloete, the Airport Manager of Cape Town International Airport, said: “The introduction of this new route not only provides a much-needed a link between the USA and Cape Town from a tourism perspective, but a direct flight, with an estimated four hour saving in travel time, will also mean an increase in business and investment opportunities.”

According to a study conducted by Grant Thornton, a direct flight to North America would add an estimated 24 000 passengers, which was 20% of the 2018 market. This would add an estimated R283 million in direct tourism spending to the Cape economy in the first year, with this set to increase by R425 million by 2021. It would see 890 jobs in the province in the first year of operation.

The flight will also see an increase in direct and indirect imports into the province, with cargo capacity contributing approximately R94 million in potential trade. It is also estimated to contribute R286 million to the Gross Geographic Product  and R144 million in direct Gross Value Add  to the Cape economy.

Between January 2003 and February 2017 a total of 76 foreign direct investment projects were recorded from the United States to the Western Cape, amounting to a total capital investment of USD1.9bn. During this period, a total of 7 510 jobs were created.

Western Cape Minister of Economic Opportunities, Beverly Schäfer, said: “We welcome this new route connecting the Western Cape and the United States, a key market for our province. The direct flight will drive growth in the tourism and business sectors, creating jobs and boosting local business tourism, which directly contributes to our Project Khulisa objectives. The Western Cape Government is proud to be part of the Cape Town Air Access initiative, which has helped land this new route.”

The Executive Mayor of the City of Cape Town, Dan Plato, also celebrated this major announcement. “Cape Town is a world-class city and home to an award-winning airport in Cape Town International Airport. I want to thank our air access team who have worked hard to bring this flight to Cape Town. This direct flight positions our beautiful city as an attractive point of entry into Africa and allows us to showcase all that the city has to offer as we welcome visitors from the United States, both new and old. On behalf of the City of Cape Town, I thank United Airlines for the confidence they have shown in our city. ”

Mayoral Committee Member for Economic Opportunities and Asset Management, Alderman James Vos, said: “As a proud funder of the Air Access initiative, the City of Cape Town commends all the efforts that have contributed to landing this important development in the City’s aviation economy. Its impact will definitely have a positive effect on the local market, facilitating job creation as well as further economic opportunities.”

Sthembiso Dlamini, Acting CEO of South African Tourism, added: “Arrivals from the United States to South Africa have shown consistent growth year-on-year, solidifying its position as a key market, not only for the Western Cape, but for South Africa as a whole. South Africa saw close to 450 000 arrivals from North America in 2018 with the region representing 4% of total international travellers travelling to South Africa. Adding a direct connection to Cape Town will improve connectivity to the region and allow visitors to experience South Africa from a new viewpoint. With North America identified by SA Tourism for enhanced focus for the coming year, the United Airlines direct route from New York to Cape Town is great news.”

Cape Town Air Access is a partnership between the City of Cape Town, Western Cape Government, Wesgro, Cape Town Tourism, South African Tourism, Airports Company South Africa and private sector partners. To date, the CTAA initiative has helped land 8 new international airlines, 13 new direct routes and 19 route expansions, resulting in more than 1.5 million two-way seats being added into Cape Town International, boosting the local economy by R6 billion.

Source:  Cape Town & Western Cape Tourism, Trade & Investment


Media Enquiries:

Russel Brueton
Chief Communications Officer
082 815 6020

021 487 8600


From the Cradle of Humankind to the Cradle of Human Culture

Wesgro’s Destination Marketing Unit in partnership with the Department of Economic Development and Tourism ), the provincial Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport  and the Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site (WHS),  officially launched the Cradle of Human Culture route on 11 April 2019.

While the dawn of humankind was incepted in the limestone caves of Northern Gauteng, the story continued and grew into the Western Cape.

Wesgro’s Chief Marketing Officer for Tourism, Judy Lain, said: “The ability to package the incredible offering we have around early culture and how its transpired into modern day in the Western Cape, with a globally renowned landmark such as the Cradle of Humankind WHS, is an opportunity to position the destination globally and attract more visitors.”

To launch the Cradle of Human Culture a micro-site will be developed detailing information on the experience. To support in marketing the initiative a short video, imagery and a booklet will be shared on social media channels and other digital platforms.

“The connection between the Cradle of Humankind WHS and the Cradle of Human Culture is a connecting thread between our physical being and our aesthetic being,” said Michael Worsnip, Managing Director of Maropeng.

Three archaeological sites in the Western Cape – Blombos Cave, Pinnacle Point Site Complex on the south coast and the Diepkloof Rock Shelter on the Cape West Coast- together preserve some of the world’s earliest evidence of evolution of modern human behaviour and for this reason they are in the process of being nominated for World Heritage Site status.

Boasting ornately decorated ostrich eggs, marine shell beads, engraved ochre, bone tools and finely made bifacial points are just some of the archaeological treasures found at these sites, which display complex task processing and development of symbolic systems. As the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) nomination mentions, these sites hold an “unmatched record of palaeoenvironmental and human history in an important phase of human evolution, the development of anatomically modern humans”.

Not limited to the fore mentioned sites, the dawn of human culture stretches across all six regions of the province with sites such as the West Coast Fossil Park – home to one of the world’s richest concentration of fossils dating back 5-million years – taking us into the past. Museums such as the Zeitz MOCAA, with its incredible collection of contemporary art, add a new dynamic by giving us a glimpse of the present and the not-too distant future.

“The Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site celebrates the human journey, from our earliest beginnings – to the challenges of our present – to our uncertain future. It celebrates human development, in every shape and form. It is wonderful indeed to now have established a new showcase for this diversity, complexity and unity of our species, in the newly established Cradle of Human Culture. It is possible that in our arts and crafts, beliefs and extraordinary ingenuity, we can start to uncover some of the defining characteristics of our species,” added Worsnip.

Minister of Economic Opportunities, Beverly Schäfer, said: “The Cradle of Human Culture will provide a fascinating journey back to some of the very earliest human behaviours. By highlighting these aspects of our culture and heritage, we are able to provide another layer to our multi-dimensional tourism offering and provide new and unique experiences to a wider range of visitors.”

“We are hoping that the Cradle of Human Culture will become a tool for all South Africans to enjoy these beautiful sites, explore our common origins, dive into our past and understand what makes us humans. Through this journey, visitors to the Cradle of Human Culture will discover the enormous contribution that South Africa played in making us all humans,” commented the Director for Museums, Heritage and Geographical Names Services at the Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport, Dr Mxolisi Dlamuka.

Wesgro CEO, Tim Harris, concluded: “South Africa is globally regarded as a place of great heritage significance. Through identifying culturally rich sites in our province, we become a part of the story of the early development of humankind. We are excited to introduce both local and international visitors to the Cradle of Human Culture, and hope to welcome many Easter holiday makers.”

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.

Source:  Cape Town & Western Cape Tourism, Trade & Investment

Western Cape secured conference bids exceeding R1 billion in economic impact for the first time!

Cape Town has again ranked as the top city for international association meetings in Africa, according to the 2018 International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA) Statistics Report, with a total of 42 such meetings taking place in the Mother City in 2018.

In addition, Stellenbosch hosted an additional nine international association meetings during this time.

As a result, the Western Cape region is responsible for hosting 51 of the 100 international association meetings that took place in South Africa during 2018.
The main subject areas for these conferences included the medical sciences, education and technology, with academics from local universities such as the University of Cape Town, Stellenbosch University, University of the Western Cape and the Cape Peninsula University of Technology playing an important role in attracting key associations.

According to the ICCA report, the next biggest meeting destinations on the continent were Kigali (26 meetings); Marrakesh (24 meetings); Nairobi (24 meetings) and Johannesburg (16 meetings).

Minister of Economic Opportunities, Beverley Schafer said: “Business and conference tourism have the ability to contribute significantly to the Western Cape’s efforts to grow tourism in the province. Cape Town maintaining its ICCA ranking year after year is testament to the level of excellence we offer as a destination, as well as the hard work put into marketing the province. I am also pleased to see that Stellenbosch is starting to feature as a meetings destination, helping to grow the footprint of conventions and meetings in the province.”

“During 2009 to 2018, 492 meetings took place in Cape Town – testament to why the region is still the #1 Convention destination on the African continent, ranking #1 again in the 2018 statistics report. This ranking has been retained for the past ten years and confirms that we are the meetings capital of Africa,” says Alderman James Vos, the Mayoral Committee member for Economic Opportunities and Asset Management in the City of Cape Town.
Solly Fourie, Head of Department, Department of Economic Development and Tourism said that the Western Cape’s top ranking in Africa by the report is testimony to the region’s tourism strength.

“Last year the Western Cape secured conference bids exceeding R1 billion in economic impact for the first time. This is supported by the initiatives of the Western Cape Government and industry stakeholders. The recent investment by the Western Cape Government in the expansion of the Cape Town International Convention Centre has supported this growth,” added Fourie.

Corne Koch, Head of the Cape Town and the Western Cape Convention Bureau, a division of Wesgro, explained that of the 42 meetings taking place in Cape Town, 24 took place during the traditional low season between May and September. “This provides an important boost to our local economy during the winter months, with important benefits to leisure tourism and investment into the province, not to mention growth potential for our local knowledge economy that meetings add.”
Koch continued: “We are also excited to note that eight of these 42 meetings exceeded 1 000 or more delegates. The average length of a meeting was 3,8 days, with a total estimated 26 300 delegates attending these meetings during the year. We are particularly grateful to our partners at the Cape Town International Convention Centre, Century City Convention Centre and other venues, as well as the South African National Convention Bureau, for the enormous support provided in ensuring that we remain the top business tourism destination in Africa. It would not be possible without you.”
“The Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC) has had a proud history of bringing international events to the city of Cape Town and country. These events not only mean that there are more feet through the doors of the centre. It also brings business tourism to the city which allows for the exchange of expertise and knowledge. More importantly, it positively impacts on job creation and boosts the Western Province GGP and South Africa’s GDP yearly,” said Julie-May Ellingson, Chief Executive Officer of the CTICC.

Gary Koetser, Joint CEO of the Century City Conference Centre and Hotel, added: “Despite a challenging year as a result of the drought it is very encouraging to see Cape Town maintaining its number 1 position in Africa. We have no doubt that this is testament to a collaborative approach between key partners such as Wesgro’s Convention Bureau, the Air Access team, venues and of course the ICCA team. We need to continue spreading the word that the drought is over and that we are open for business. As Cape Town becomes more accessible than ever before with the additional international flights we are confident that Cape Town’s worldwide ranking will grow into the top 50 over the next couple of years!”

“The successful targeting of business tourists is an important factor in growing leisure tourism as business tourists often return as leisure tourists. This has led to an increase in investment in hotels and other infrastructure. Tourism plays a catalytic role in the economy boosting revenue and jobs in a wide range of sectors. In 2018 tourism generated R15.5 billion, up from R11.8 billion in 2013. The industry contributes 174 893 direct jobs,” concluded Fourie.
The Cape Town and Western Cape Convention Bureau’s role is to promote the Cape among meeting, incentive, conference and event planners as a premier business events destination. It also offers pre-and post-bid assistance, convention planning support and on-site services to meetings planners.

Media enquiries:
Sarah Brownlee
Media Relations Officer, Wesgro
Tel: 021 487 8700
Cell: 083 577 0327


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