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Based on pre-bookings already received, the summer season appears to be a very promising one.
This is good news for the tourism industry, which was hard hit by the slump in tourism which Cape Town and the Western Cape experienced during the past summer season. Many tourism product owners saw dramatic decreases in turnover, especially from January this year, compared to previous boom years, mainly due to the stronger Rand, the weak American and German economy, and the increasing over-supply in tourism products and services, resulting in price competition to ensure survival.
However, all is not gold ahead. August seems a particularly poor month on the basis of pre-bookings, and this may be due to the Olympic Games being held in Athens at that time. Even June has not been as buoyant as before, with the Euro 2004 soccer tournament a possible reason, attracting European and British visitors to Portugal.
To counter the poor past summer season, and the perception that Cape Town and the Western Cape have become more or even too expensive, many accommodation establishments and hotels have announced price freezes on their 2004/2005 summer rates.
No campaign to counter the region's winter seasonality has been launched by the DMO yet. Smaller accommodation establishments have discounted prices by up to 50 % in winter for a number for years already, and hotels now are following suit. Many restaurants in Cape Town are offering excellent weekday winter specials, making it attractive for South Africans to visit Cape Town between May and September.
(Reprinted with permission from Whale Tales Newsletter June 2004)
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