Western Cape claims four in The 100 Most Loved Destinations in the World

Tourism Sentiment Index (TSI) – a travel data intelligence solution created by acclaimed destination marketing agency Destination Think – has released Leading Places: The 100 Most Loved Destinations Around the World for 2021, with Knysna ranking in the top 20 at #19, Stellenbosch #23, Hermanus #41, and Cape Town #54.

Welcoming the announcement Western Cape Minister of Finance and Economic Opportunities, David Maynier, comments: “For four Western Cape towns and the Mother City to be identified in the top 100 most loved places in the world – following a global consumer sentiment analysis – is an outstanding achievement. The last two years will go down in history as the most challenging years thus far for the global tourism sector, and the rankings demonstrate that Cape Town and the Western Cape is a world-class destination and a firm favourite on the global travel bucket list.”

TSI concluded the rankings through an intensive data study – analysing more than 1.6 billion online conversations and content pieces publicly available about 21,330 global destinations – to identify the 100 ‘Most Loved Destinations’. Tourism Sentiment Index is cutting-edge technology that applies the power of artificial intelligence to the challenge of deciphering sentiment from human expression. This technology produces a novel metric for destination marketing know as the Tourism Sentiment Score®.

With the rankings confirming the destination’s popularity globally, Cape Town and the Western Cape was also very popular locally this past festive season, with domestic visitor numbers tripling between November and December 2021.

Gathering feedback from over 160 businesses from across the Province, Wesgro reveals that businesses recorded an uptick in local and domestic visitors. Passenger arrivals through Cape Town International Airport’s domestic terminal reached a high in December 2021, representing an impressive 66% recovery rate when compared to the same period in 2019.

International arrivals also performed well in October, reaching their peak in November 2021 with a 41% recovery rate. Although in December international passenger arrivals were less than a third of what they were in the same month in 2019, they grew by 28% when compared with figures from the previous year.

Feedback received from the attractions was positive, with Table Mountain Aerial Cableway, Cape of Good Hope, Boulders Beach, and Robben Island experiencing significant growth in visitor numbers in both November and December 2021, and Kirstenbosch Gardens having recovered about half of its 2019 figures in both months.

“It has been encouraging to see the significant increase in visitor numbers at tourism landmarks in different parts of the province. Similarly, many businesses were able to recover some of their losses through the uptick in domestic visitors, which is very pleasing. Wesgro invested in ramping up our domestic tourism campaign ‘A World In One Province’. It’s reassuring to see the hard work pay off. Tourism is a key economic growth sector and job enabler. In collaboration with partners, we are constantly pioneering new ways to ensure that the Western Cape remains a world-class tourism destination”, concluded Wesgro CEO, Wrenelle Stander.