Cape Town – This year has been a mixture of great highs and lows in the tourism industry, and I’d like to return to what we do best; focus on marketing the remarkable City of Cape Town to the entire country and the rest of the world.

This involves some New Year’s resolutions for us, and you’re invited to join us in making a difference.

I have been asked many times what next year will be like for tourism, and the short answer is that we are looking ahead with cautious optimism.

There’s more to this question tha2660874354n driving the tourism economy though, transformation is an ongoing process which motivates me.

As a city, it’s a process that belongs to us all, and this can lead to some frustration when it seems to be taking too long.

Transformation is not just about colour, it’s about opportunities and achievements, and we all have a role to play in this process.

My own goal is to encourage transformation in the tourism industry and to acknowledge it when it takes place.

Then there’s changing our approach as locals to how we view travel.

Travel can be as simple as climbing aboard the City Sightseeing Bus or exploring a part of Cape Town we’ve never seen before.

If we start to do this, it will have a ripple effect across the city and will have a positive economic impact on the lives of people working in tourism-related businesses, from the ticket sellers and drivers of shuttles to the hosts at attractions.

You don’t have to wait for an annual bonus to enjoy the city.

Sharing your experiences is important, too.

Social media is also playing a role in generating tourism, with potential visitors researching their trips online. Facebook posts, Twitter and Instagram uploads all provide an intimate window into a destination.

The next time you upload a picture of your milkshake at Muizenberg to Instagram with the #lovecapetown you could be reaching someone planning a trip from their home in Alaska.

A step towards tapping into a global “travel like a local” trend will be by releasing more of our popular “Love Cape Town Neighbourhoods” series of videos.

We’ve had some fantastic feedback about the Woodstock, CBD and Kalk Bay videos.

They take you through those neighbourhoods and give you a glimpse into why the locals love them so much.

The smaller businesses benefit from every pair of feet that walks through the door, and they all appreciate visitors, so do explore every side street you can and support local business.

We have noted that seasonality affects travel to Cape Town, and yet we’re asking “why”?

There is absolutely no reason why international and domestic tourists can’t enjoy a wonderful time in the city all year round.

With that in mind, there will be a vast array of events throughout the year to entice visitors.

Our most-attended event, the International Jazz Festival in April, will be one of those must-do experiences, but there are sports events, food and drink festivals, music, arts and cultural celebrations – just about anything you could imagine, so all tastes will be catered for.

Over the past month we have looked at how some people are experiencing the holiday season.

Cape Town Tourism has visited some businesses and chatted to the hard-working individuals working long hours to provide unforgettable experiences for visitors.

This has offered a window into the personal lives of people like you and me.

The experience of meeting these individuals brings home the deeper meaning of what we’re doing in tourism in Cape Town.

It’s not always about stats, trends or marketing strategies, but rather understanding that there are real people whose lives are deeply intertwined in the heart and soul of the city.

These individuals, events and tourism-related businesses contribute enormously to the economy of the Western Cape and are also central to job creation. The beauty of tourism is that with a little energy and initiative you can start your own business.

The more we grow the industry, the more the positive effects will spread throughout the city.

These are the areas we can all resolve to change in 2016: we can support local businesses, encourage transformation across Cape Town, become travellers exploring our own city and share those experiences on social media with our online communities and, possibly, the world.

Why not join me on this fun, challenging journey?

This article by Enver Duminy, CEO of Cape Town Tourism was published in the 4 January 2016 edition of the Cape Argus

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