Media Release by Mireille Wenger, Provincial Minister of Finance and Economic Opportunities
Amid significant challenges, least of which is the energy crisis which severely compromises economic growth and job creation, it is critical that we explore and implement innovative strategies to attract investment, boost trade and increase tourism in the Western Cape.
To do this, the Provincial Government, through the Department of Economic Development and Tourism, works with and funds the Western Cape Tourism, Trade, and Investment Promotion Agency (Wesgro) to ensure that the province remains a world-class tourism destination, is known as an attractive investment destination, and a sought-after source market globally.
Between April and December 2022, Wesgro has delivered impressive ‘bang for buck’ results across their core mandates. Some of which include:
- Wesgro’s investment promotion team recorded an impressive R3 billion in new investments facilitated
- On the trade side, R2.5 billion in new export declarations reached
- Leveraging technology to increase access to market – the Agency has a virtual platform which connects Western Cape exporters with buyers in key markets. Wesgro reached 10 million targeted unique users in the UK, driving them to #MadeInTheCape products and services on the CapeTradePortal.com. The Portal now has an impressive 670 verified exporters registered and more than 4000 Western Cape products and services on board
- The Cape Town Air Access team, powered by Wesgro, works to increase air connectivity to the Western Cape, and has secured of four new air routes and three new airlines to the Western Cape, which will bring in an estimated R430 million in direct tourism spend, between November 2022 and March 2023;
- Cruise Cape Town, also operated by Wesgro, focusses on attracting more cruise lines to the Western Cape and has confirmed 75 cruise ships between November 2022 and May 2023
- Wesgro’s Convention Bureau, which works with key stakeholders in the events sector to attract conventions and events to the province, has secured 29 conference bids for the Western Cape which will attract an estimated 20 000 delegates and an economic impact of up to R393.4 million between the 2022/23 and 2024/25 financial years;
- To capitalise on the pent-up post-pandemic demand for travel, Wesgro designed the award winning #NeverendingTourist series of videos, to attract visitors to the province through the voices of expats in the destination. In the United States, the campaign video, which encourages those looking to “Get in a Good Space” has racked up more than 3 million views. Wesgro’s marketing team took home three Loerie Awards in October 2022 for their tourism campaign and innovation efforts.
“These are just a few of the highlights of what Wesgro has achieved in the last 9 months and shows that impressive results and returns can be achieved with innovative and targeted strategies. What is even more impressive is that these fantastic returns have been achieved with an investment of R106 million.” said Minister for Finance and economic Opportunities, Mireille Wenger.
CEO of Wesgro, Wrenelle Stander, said: “We are pleased with the results achieved in the last few months. Alongside our partners, we continue to look for innovative ways to ensure Cape Town and the Western Cape remains competitive globally. I am confident that the momentum will continue as we work to attract investment in the energy sector to boost energy security, unlock new market opportunities in the green economy and differentiate the Western Cape as a leading regional economy.
Minister Wenger concluded, “in response to the unprecedented escalation of the energy crisis, we are moving urgently to ramp up our energy resilience and to decrease our reliance on Eskom. Last week I authorized the release of R88 million in emergency funding to assist municipalities in procuring backup generators to ensure essential and basic water and sanitation services are maintained. The Premier’s Energy Council is working on more short, medium, and long term plans to ensure the province has access to reliable energy, on which our economy and job creation relies.”