Cape Town’s Competitive Cost as a Travel Destination


Cape Town’s Competitive Cost as a Travel Destination

Traveling should be seen as an investment. You invest your time, money, and well-being into this experience to gain a beneficial return. One should become rich in knowledge, adventure, relaxation, and lasting memories after a trip. The tourism industry is large and wide; spanning local cafés to luxury safaris. While every destination has something unique to offer, one may not get to experience its full potential with its price range. Therefore, one of the first factors affecting a person’s holiday decision-making is how much money they can spend and more importantly how far it will take them. Will the same amount of money buy them a simple meal in one country and a 5-star experience in another?

This question sparked the inquiry of Cape Town’s competitive cost as a travel destination compared to other countries. The comparisons will vary from restaurants to popular tourist attractions and the retail industry.

Food and travel go hand in hand. The experience of eating out, and trying new items or long-time favourites in a new capacity is enriching, adding to the authenticity of the travel experience. Following the lines of old-time favourites and well know meals, includes looking at the comparable prizes of the fast-food industry. Nando’s, McDonalds’ and Burger King all promise the same taste but not the same price.

In the UK a chicken burger costs $9,68 at Nando’s while in New Zealand it costs $11,78. However, in South Africa, it costs $3,46. Mcdonald’s dominates the fast-food industry, and their Big Mac burger is a trademark. In Switzerland it costs $7,73, in the USA it costs $5,58, Britain it is $5,39, New Zealand $5,04. South Africa, on the other hand, has one of the lowest prices for a Big Mac, $2,82. Burger King’s Whopper burger helps conclude this comparison. In Switzerland it costs $21,71, in the USA $12,49, the UK $12,35 and New Zealand is $9,71. In South Africa it costs $5,03.

These three fast food chains all point to South Africa having the best value for money. For the same item, South Africa has one of the most affordable prices.

A trip to Cape Town is not complete without a visit to a bar. According to the Adequate Travel website, Cape Town is the top best nightlife destination in South Africa. While analysing the drink prices, it is important to note that some restaurants are of a higher standard than others. These drinks used for comparisons were chosen according to the categories of cocktails, sparkling wine, white wine, rose, red wine, beer, and whiskey. Although, the prices are compared to their category and not the exact same type of drink, South African prices are significantly lower than the others.

Cape Town Competitive Cost Project

A global comparison for a 330ml bottle of Heineken beer showcases South Africa’s lower price once again.

Cape Town Competitive Cost Project

Delicious food is key for an incredible trip. Well-known favourite meals and drinks were chosen for the price analysis, such as Coca-Cola, a cappuccino, Lasagna or Bolognese, a cheeseburger, Fish and Chips and a croissant.

For this analysis, it is important to understand that not all the restaurants and cafes are of the same standard, but rather offer similar food, for example, Langanon, a restaurant in Greece did not have a lasagna therefore their Bolognese pasta was used instead.  While South Africa has mostly more affordable prices, Greece does have cheaper fish and chips and bolognese. This may be explained by higher prices at tourist hotspots in Cape Town such as Cape Town’s waterfront. However, South Africa’s meals and drinks in Cape Town have a competitive advantage against other countries in regard to the value of money.

Cape Town Competitive Cost Project
Cape Town Competitive Cost Project

Every destination has something unique to offer. Cape Town’s specialty is its beautiful nature, wildlife, cultural diversity, history, and adventure. Their tourist attractions include the Iziko Museum, Castle of Good Hope, Robben Island, Table Mountain, the V&A Waterfront and the Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens. Since Cape Town has a variety catering to varying people, it’s a popular destination. It is seen as a value for money, as the tourists’ possibilities are endless. However, it is important to note that many tourist attractions in Cape Town have a foreigner’s fee, where foreigners pay a higher price for entry or activities such as Robben Island and the waterfront Ferris wheel.

Most museums in Europe are free for those with European citizenship under the age of 25. They also may be free for any child under 12 years old like in Portugal or under 18 years old in France. In the UK, the two museums chosen for the global companies is free for all. However, this is not the case for South Africa despite the adult entry free being cheaper than the other countries.

Cape Town Competitive Cost Project

For a non-South African, it is more expensive as an adult (above 18 years old) to go to Robben Island than the top level of the Eiffel Tower. Although it is more expensive, it does cover a boat ride, guide, and museum entrance.

Cape Town Competitive Cost Project

A round trip on the cable for Table Mountain (above 18) costs $1,43 more than the entrance to the Palace of Versailles, France but is $9,59 cheaper than a pre-booked ticket to the Warick Castle, UK. The cable car is less expensive than a visit to Stonehenge Wilshire as an adult by $6,67.

Cape Town Competitive Cost Project

Portugal’s entrance fees and activities overall look to be more affordable alternatives. While comparing these tourists’ attractions it should be highlighted that each place offers different experiences and packages. Furthermore, it is important to realise that each attraction and destination appeals to different individuals. One may love history, art, and architecture making Portugal a good choice while another may prefer history, nature, and adventure which better suits Cape Town.

The retail industry for Global comparison, is not an accurate representation. Despite using the same brand such as H&M, the countries may not offer the exact same collection making it difficult to compare prices. However, the comparison shows that Cape Town either has the same or more expensive prices than the UK or Portugal with regard to H&M. The men’s pants example and women’s boots are the only items which lower prices but they are not the same, just similar.

Bringing back a sentiment of one’s travels is a normal custom for tourists. They want a representation of their trip; gifts for their families and friends.

Souvenirs are all based on the destination. They all have a variety of quality, prices, shapes, and sizes, making it difficult to compare them. Instead of focusing on the price comparison, it is more appropriate to compare the items themselves. South Africa has a variety of souvenir options for tourists. Due to the wildlife, nature, history, famous individuals such as Nelson Mandela, and the vibrant South African culture, the souvenirs vary greatly.

Cape Town Tourist Destinations

In tourist areas of Cape Town such as Kalk Bay and the waterfront souvenirs are around every corner. Whether you are looking for woven baskets, traditional clay pots, crocodile-skinned bags, wildlife teddy bears, and bright, traditional African clothes.

While Portugal and the UK also have a variety of attractions that are culturally rich, South Africa has a better value for money. The value is the variety of options in return for the money.

Overall Cape Town has a brilliant competitive cost as a travel destination and even more a great value for money. The lower prices and more importantly the variety and opportunities Cape Town has to offer makes it a desirable travel destination.

By Faye Olden, Intern at JENMAN African Safaris

Read more about Faye’s experience on this project.

We are a leading tour operator that provides world-class guided group safaris and tailor-made packages throughout Southern Africa, East Africa, and Madagascar, ensuring unique wildlife experiences.

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