- Officials in the Western Cape expect a big uptick in the number of US visitors with two airlines flying directly to Cape Town.
- In 2021 the US overtook the UK as South Africa's largest market in terms of total number of visitors.
- It also brought in most revenue from the overseas markets with R2.3 billion.
- For more stories go to www.BusinessInsider.co.za.
Officials in the Western Cape expect a big uptick in the number of US visitors with Delta Airlines and United Airlines soon flying direct between the US and Cape Town.
The flights, which are expected on 17 December for Delta, and 17 November for United, will add momentum to the recovery in US tourism numbers, to the province as well as the country.
Delta will be launching a direct service between Atlanta, from the Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport – the world's busiest airport based on passenger numbers – directly to Cape Town.
For its part, United will be flying direct from Washington's Dulles Airport.
The increased number of flights is significant, as in 2021 the US overtook the UK as South Africa's largest market in terms of total number of visitors. It also brought in the most revenue among the overseas markets with R2.3 billion.
"The United States is leading the way in terms of tourism recovery for the country. It is most promising to see Cape Town and the Western Cape getting access to this bourgeoning market," says Wesgro CEO and spokesperson for the Cape Town Air Access project, Wrenelle Stander.
Stander is not the only optimistic local official. Provincial minister of finance and economic opportunities, Mireille Wenger is also excited about the implications of having additional flights from the US to SA.
"More flights mean more visitors, and more visitors mean more jobs, and so I am delighted by the news that Delta Airlines will connect Cape Town and Atlanta with a nonstop service making it easier to travel to our province at the southern tip of Africa."
Aside from an increase in travellers from the US, Wenger has an eye on the longer-term implications of having more people come to province.
"Future investors are first visitors, and so this is also a wonderful opportunity to showcase the strong business offer of our destination.”
Geordin Hill-Lewis, Mayor of Cape Town, also sees an opportunity for further investment from the US.
"I anticipate a steady stream of visitors to Cape Town, looking to make the most of the unique business and tourism opportunities our vibrant city has to offer."
Aside from people, the additional flights will also facilitate trade between the two countries.
"Not only do new routes enable increased tourism and investment but facilitate much needed cargo capacity – enabling increased trade between our two regions. A total of 3,305 metric tonnes of air cargo was exported from the Western Cape to the US in 2019 alone," says Stander.