Cape Town wants German tourists back – and there are three avatars to help choose your trip

Business Insider SA
Cape Town Tourism's Find Your Freedom campaign
Cape Town Tourism's Find Your Freedom campaign
  • The recovery of South Africa's embattled tourism industry hinges on its ability to attract international visitors back after the pandemic-induced pause on movement.
  • Cape Town's prospects are tightly tied to the return of European tourists and Germans, in particular.
  • That's why the City of Cape Town and Cape Town Tourism has partnered with Visit Berlin to promote travel between the two cities.
  • To entice travellers back, the team of delegates are showcasing the 'Find Your Freedom' campaign.
  • The initiative is described as a "first-of-its-kind, immersive game-style platform that allows users to choose their own experiences in the Mother City."
  • It does this through a selection of characters that offer unique video experiences of Cape Town online.
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Cape Town is hoping to welcome back a flurry of German tourists after two years of pandemic-induced travel restrictions and recently showcased a new "immersive game-style platform" that provides a digital sightseeing experience online.

International visitors are vital to South Africa's tourism sector. Prior to the pandemic, more than 2.6 million overseas tourists visited South Africa, with 60% of those arriving from Europe. When the Covid-19 pandemic hit, international travel ground to a halt, and in the first year alone, South Africa's tourism sector shed close to 500,000 jobs, with its GDP contribution dropping from 3.7% in 2019 to an estimated 1.3%.

After suffering under the weight of continuous travel bans throughout 2021 – specifically focused on South Africa due to the country's scientists being the first to discover new Covid-19 variants – international visitors are slowly starting to return.

South Africa welcomed more overseas visitors in the first three months of 2022 than in any other quarter since the start of the pandemic. Still, these arrivals are only at 37% of levels seen before the pandemic, illustrating the tourism sector's long road to recovery ahead.

The Western Cape's international arrivals are clawing back quicker, reflected in positive hotel occupancy rates in April at 87% of levels seen before the pandemic in 2019.

With European tourists firmly in their crosshairs, the City of Cape Town and Cape Town Tourism have embarked on a mission to draw in more tourists and hasten the sector's recovery. German visitors, who have always been a big contributor to South Africa's tourism industry – accounting for more than 20% of all European arrivals before the pandemic – are top of mind.

"Germany has long been a key source market for Cape Town, with the city enjoying a lively German-speaking community," said the City's Mayoral Committee Member for Economic Growth, James Vos, on the recent partnership with Visit Berlin, the destination marketing organisation for the German capital.

"CTT [Cape Town Tourism] has secured this agreement because it gives the Mother City a competitive advantage in driving greater volumes and value in terms of international travellers. Cape Town International Airport is currently welcoming five Lufthansa flights per week from Frankfurt. And by the end of October, we are on course for another three Condor Airline flights per week from that city. At the same time, Lufthansa will add five flights per week from Munich."

As part of its mission to entice German tourists back to Cape Town and capitalise on the increasing flight frequency, the mission team is showcasing its 'Find Your Freedom' campaign.

Described as a "first-of-its-kind, immersive game-style platform that allows users to choose their own experiences in the Mother City", the Find Your Freedom campaign is offered in English and, now, German.

The interactive online platform allows users to select between three characters, each offering their own unique journeys through Cape Town and its surrounds.

The Fearless Foodie, as the name suggests, takes users on a video tour of food markets, eateries, beer houses, and coffee shops around the Mother City. The Nature Warrior highlights kayaking in Simons Town, seal diving near Camps Bay, and exploring Table Mountain by cable car or hike. Selecting the Urban Adventurer takes users on a graffiti tour through Woodstock, a drumming workshop in Langa, and gin tasting in the city centre.

"The Cape Town Tourism-Visit Berlin partnership demonstrates the mutual respect Cape Town and Berlin have for each other as world-class destinations, both offering exciting travel opportunities to the global adventurer," said Enver Duminy, CEO of Cape Town Tourism.

"Cape Town welcomes the chance to extend our reach to a wider audience, and we're certain our locals will reciprocate and explore the attractions and experiences Berlin has to offer."

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