One Cape Town hotel has created a blueprint for dry times.
As the low-lying autumn fog rolls in over Table Mountain, bringing with it the hope of winter rainfall, tourism high season has drawn to a quiet close in the Mother City of Cape Town.
Despite early forecasts of another lucrative season for the tourism industry, September 2017 to March 2018 constituted an anxious few months for one of the region’s most important sectors. Level 6B water restrictions, enforced on February 1 amid fears of a full-on, drought-induced water outage in the city, sparked panic among locals and tourists alike. Dubbed “Day Zero” by the city’s administration, that enforced water outage was initially expected mid-April, before being put on hold indefinitely.
Despite the positive forecast, the number of visitors to Cape Town from the United Kingdom and the Netherlands -- traditionally two of South Africa’s most ardent enthusiasts -- dropped by nearly 14% this season, with the number of French visitors falling by 11%, according to Cape Town Tourism. The water shortage was chief among their reasons cited for staying away.
For the hotel industry, these numbers are troubling; and hamper the steady growth expected for the sector over the next few years.
In its 7th Edition Hotels Outlook, auditing firm Price Waterhouse Coopers projected an occupancy rate for hotels across South Africa of as high as 62% by 2019, up from 59% in 2014. Five-star hotels were expected to achieve a high of 80%. With Cape Town in the midst of the drought, it’s unclear how those numbers will look by the time PwC’s next report is released.
With the future of water security in Cape Town more uncertain than ever, hotels will need to have a sustainable plan for conserving this precious resource, without turning off their guests. One hotel in Cape Town has developed a successful blueprint for responsible water usage that can easily be emulated across the industry.
Situated in the heart of one of Cape Town’s most popular tourist zones -- the Atlantic Seaboard -- the President Hotel has closed out high season on a high of its own. It’s managed to cut down its water usage by 40%, an achievement General Manager Jeremy Clayton is rightly proud of.
“The President Hotel is ahead of the curve and believes it’s played a role in defeating Day Zero,” said Clayton. “However, the fight to save water will continue and we will remain vigilant with water saving methods; encouraging guests to keep their consumption to a minimum during their stay,” he said.
Tap on the pins below to see what water saving interventions The President Hotel has put into place: