Joburg exceeds pre-COVID levels, Cape Town almost there


World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) chief executive officer, Julia Simpson.

from DION HENRICK in Cape Town
Western Cape Bureau
CAPE TOWN, (CAJ News) – TRAVELLERS are returning to the South African major cities of Cape Town and Johannesburg with all indications they are bouncing back to pre-pandemic levels.

The World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) has revealed the positive signs of recovery for the South African travel and tourism sector.

In 2022, Cape Town’s sector was expected to have grown to US$1,8 billion (R32.3 billion), 28 percent lower than 2019 levels.

Johannesburg’s travel and tourism’s sector is forecast to be worth just over $2,2 billion (R39.6 billion), slightly 4 percent above 2019 levels.

Over the last two years, since the border reopened, both cities (Cape Town and Johannesburg) have witnessed a significant recovery.

Julia Simpson, WTTC President and Chief Executive Officer, stated, “South Africa has long been a world-favourite destination and after more than two years of disruption, it’s great to see tourists heading back.”

She noted tourism provided a massive boost to both the economy and job creation.

“It is crucial that the national and local governments continue to recognise the importance of travel and tourism for the local and national economies, jobs and businesses.”

Jobs are on the rise as the sector recovers.

In 2019 there were more than 170 000 people employed by the sector in Cape Town alone.

In 2020 this figure dropped to just over 117 000 (-32 percent). In 2021, employment grew by 8 percent to 127 000 jobs. It is expected to have grown at a two and a half times that rate in 2022, to reach more than 152 000 jobs.

In “Joburg” before the pandemic, there were over 138 000 travel and tourism jobs but this number fell by 28 000 to just over 110 000 in 2020.

A 10 percent rise in 2021 saw the number increase to more than 120 000.

WTTC is forecasting jobs to grow three times as fast in 2022 to reach more than 156 000 jobs in Johannesburg, which is 11,5 percent more jobs than pre-pandemic levels.

The report also shows that the sector’s contribution to both cities will increase by more than $2,25 billion over the next decade.

According to the global tourism body’s forecast, Cape Town’s travel and tourism sector is expected to contribute over $3,3 billion and Johannesburg’s will provide a boost of almost $800 million by 2032 to reach just under $3 billion annually.

– CAJ News

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