WC says summer tourism supported over 9000 jobs

  • 466 469 tourists arrived in Cape Town between December and February supporting as many as 9 329 jobs in the process.
  • Tourism is a key part of Western Cape’s job creation plan.
  • However, citizens in the province are concerned about the effect that digital nomads have on the cost of rentals and the overall cost of living.

Nearly half a million tourists – 466 469 to be precise – from abroad visited the Western Cape between December 2023 and February 2024 says Provincial Minister of Finance and Economic Opportunities, Mireille Wenger.

These figures are based on the number of international terminal passengers that arrived at Cape Town International Airport throughout the reporting period. This influx of visitors supported 9329 jobs in the province. These jobs include direct, indirect, induced and tourism catalytic employment opportunities in the air transport sector.

“We know, based on calculations by the Western Cape Government’s (WCG) tourism, trade and investment promotion agency, Wesgro, that with the arrival of every 100 international terminal passengers, 2 jobs are supported. This means the total number of jobs supported by arrivals at the international terminal alone, is just over 9 300 jobs,” said Wenger.

“Guided by our economic action plan, ‘Growth for Jobs’, we are not just setting goals; we are laying down a roadmap to achieve a R1 trillion economy marked by inclusivity, resilience, and diversity. Our ambition is to cultivate an environment ripe for ‘breakout economic growth’, ensuring that the Western Cape not only meets but exceeds expectations in terms of job creation and economic development. Tourism is a key part of this plan and one of our key targets under G4J is to double the number of visitors to our province by 2035,” the MEC added.

The Western Cape is a massive tourist attraction. Aside from the natural wonders, the wine farms, the beaches, the restaurants and the food, the weather can be excellent during the holiday season. Of course, the weather can also turn on a dime but a few rainy days are a good trade-off for the warm beach days that follow.

However, we can’t ignore one aspect of tourism that hurts citizens in the Western Cape – the tourists who don’t leave. The Western Cape government has worked hard to attract digital nomads to the province.

These are workers who can and do work from anywhere. They often earn in foreign currency and as such, opt to work in idyllic locations where their money goes further than in the likes of New York or London. The problem here is that because money isn’t an object to most, if not all digital nomads, the cost of living in that city tends to go up.

For citizens in Cape Town, this can make property costs unaffordable and pushes them to the suburbs which adds commute costs and other expenses to the equation. Digital nomads reportedly spend as much as $2 700 during their stay, according to a BBC report but is it a worthwhile trade-off?

The government seems to think so as it pushes forward with its plans to introduce a remote work visa. Western Cape residents aren’t pleased with this and understandably so when rental units start to resemble prison cells but fetch as much as a free-standing home in other provinces.

While tourism may be supporting jobs, we really wish more was being done to protect citizens from predatory pricing especially from landlords looking to attract digital nomads.


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