Beginning in November, Air France will begin direct flights to Cape Town, making leisure and business travel easier and more convenient. The new schedule will bring 3 flights per week to Cape Town.
This announcement comes at the back of Emirates’ addition of an additional daily flight to and from Cape Town from late last month. Air France and Emirates have extensive routes from both traditional source markets in Europe and new markets in the Middle East, and increased flights will add much-welcomed seat capacity to the Mother City. Earlier this year, Edelweiss Air had also announced a new seasonal flight program from Zurich to Cape Town with non-stop flights twice a week from the end of October 2011 for their winter timetable.
In order to sustain tourism in Cape Town, the aim is to counter seasonality with year-round inbound tourism. It is vital that flights to Cape Town remain consistent throughout the year. In an ever-changing world, time has become our most precious commodity. The availability of direct flights to Cape Town will influence traveler behavior and buying patterns and is critically important for the long-term sustainability of our business and leisure tourism industries.
Cape Town Tourism already embarked on changing seasonal perception, leveraging visitor and media perception during the winter World Cup to assist in broadening tourism appeal. Events and business tourism also play a significant role in positioning Cape Town as a year-round destination of choice. The pressing need for a comprehensive and proactive events and business tourism strategy for the city in the aftermath of hosting a successful World Cup is becoming more apparent. Events are important platforms for destination marketing, branding, and catalysts to counter seasonality. Cape Town Tourism is looking for a more strategic relationship with existing signature events and establishing or attracting key events within the off-peak season.
Airlines must make economic sense. When a flight is canceled, this is the reason. Decreased business travel, as a result of troubled economies, continues to plague key source markets. The business traveler is a major contributor to covering flight expenses, which points to a need to work hard on forging stronger business ties in addition to the leisure market.
Perception does not shift overnight – and it needs proof – the industry must stand together to tackle tourism weaknesses and grow a more complex offering of product to multiple markets. Visitors need to see that Cape Town is a year-round destination for a thousand good and different reasons.