Picture: THINKSTOCK
Picture: THINKSTOCK

TOURISM in the city is reaping the benefits of its iconic landmark, Table Mountain, being named one of the New Seven Wonders of Nature, with latest figures showing that the mountain’s cableway had a record-breaking holiday season.

The cableway had the highest number of monthly visitors for the last 83 years.

According to Cape Town Tourism, Table Mountain Cableway ticket sales for last month were 119,000, which was 19,000 more than expected.

Table Mountain was officially inaugurated as a one of the New Seven Wonders of Nature last month. City authorities believe the accolade will boost not just Cape Town’s tourism but will have direct economic benefits for South Africa.

The Western Cape’s tourism sector is key to the province’s economy, contributing 10% to its gross domestic product. Authorities hope to increase this to 15% over the next few years.

Cape Town Tourism communications manager Skye Grove said yesterday she believed Table Mountain’s status as one of the New Seven Wonders of Nature contributed to the record increase in the cableway’s ticket sales. Preliminary figures showed that the city had experienced an increase in domestic tourist arrivals.

"Feedback from tourism companies and Cape Town Tourism members indicate that December 2012 was similar in terms of international tourism activity to December 2011," Grove said. "We did see an increase in domestic tourists in our v isitor i nformation c entres and at Cape Town attractions.

"W e shall only be able to confirm final numbers once we receive Airports Company SA arrival figures and complete our accommodation and attraction survey later this month ."

President of the Cape Chamber of Commerce Fred Jacobs said yesterday he was not surprised by the "impressive" visitor figures recorded by attractions, given the amount of effort authorities were putting in to market the city.