World Tourism Day is celebrated each year on 27 September and South Africa really has so much to celebrate. With its thriving tourism sector, world-renowned attractions, favourable exchange rate and value for money, a wide variety of visitors are attracted to our shores annually.
So, what makes us so special, and who is coming to the Mother City?
In a country as diverse as South Africa, the Western Cape has been ranked first out of all nine provinces in terms of growth and tourism statistics, according to Wesgro's 2016 Western Cape destination performance report.
Cape Town has cemented its status as a holiday destination for both domestic and international travellers. Cape Town International Airport saw around 891 945 international arrivals and more than 4 million domestic arrivals in 2016. The tourism sector experienced visitor-number growth in a selection of areas, including local attractions, while the V&A Waterfront saw growth of 4.6%.
The Two Oceans Aquarium is one of the V&A Waterfront’s most popular drawcards with 43% of its 2016/17 visitors coming from foreign shores.
The Western Cape and the rest of South Africa respectively accounted for 32% and 25% of the visitor demographic to the Aquarium.
Aquariums often serve as an introduction to marine life and conservation. Parents bring their little ones, schools send classes on field trips and tourists have memorable experiences to take home with them.
“Researchers all over the world have widely recognised the overall impact of out-of-the-classroom learning, particularly as a result of experiences in museums and similar settings,” explains Dr Adriana Briseño-Garzón of the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, writing in the Journal of Zoo and Aquarium Research.
Marine exhibits provide spaces for learning about aquatic life, humanity and how species coexist within the overall ecosystem. In the article, Briseño-Garzón examines aquariums as unique venues for learning and elaborates that aquariums provide visitors with experiences that include live animals, immersive habitats and staff-facilitated sessions and presentations that cannot easily be obtained elsewhere in society.
Want to know more about what you can expect on your visit to the Two Oceans Aquarium?
“Some of our most exciting offerings are the animal ‘meet and greets’,” says Two Oceans Aquarium Sales Executive Jenni Leibrandt. She adds: “We also have an amazing membership programme for regular visitors, which is a big hit with Capetonians and even international visitors who wish to visit the Aquarium more than once during their stay in Cape Town. Not to mention our amazing functions facilities. Imagine having your private function in front of one of our large exhibits!”
The Aquarium also offers a variety of packages for tourism professionals and their clients. Choose from self-guided, behind-the-scenes or front-of-house tours. These options allow you to explore the Aquarium at your own leisure, to have a look at its inner workings or to just have an in-depth tour of the different exhibits.
Tick something special off your bucket list and book an adventure with us! If you’re a qualified diver you can hone your skills and get to swim among some incredible marine creatures. Not qualified? We can even help you with that.
Not interested in going “under the sea”? Then spend some quality time with our resident rockhopper penguins and find out how they came to call the Two Oceans Aquarium home.
It’s easy to find us. Hop on or hop off the City Sightseeing red bus and stop right at the Two Oceans Aquarium. Visitors with a red-bus day pass also qualify for a Two Oceans Aquarium ticket discount. City Sightseeing’s ticket office is located just outside the Aquarium at stop 1 on the tour route.
Once you’ve visited the Two Oceans Aquarium, don’t forget to share your experiences with us. We love seeing your pictures! You can find us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram or use the #2oceansaquarium hashtag.