Formula E: CT travel in 2023 surpasses 2022

Stewart Smith

Tourism rebound in Cape Town is surpassing all expectations and the outlook remains positive as sporting events make a comeback. Looking at Sojern’s latest hotel data comparing January 2023 to January 2022 the volume of searches has increased significantly by approximately 2.9x.

The leading travel marketing platform illustrates below how Cape Town’s tourism is recovering in its first ‘normal’ year since Covid halted tourism to the city. Take a look at a few of the key Sojern findings and find out what this means for the industry as big events like Formula E-Prix draw ever closer at the end of this month.

Search/Book to Travel Lead Time (in Days):

The majority of domestic and international travellers are searching/booking trips to Cape Town more than three months in advance (37%), with a third (31%) booking between 1-3 months ahead of their travel dates. Opportunistic planners are currently in the minority – only 14% are booking travel to Cape Town and then setting off within seven days.

This is a very different picture to 2022, where the majority (65%) of searches/bookings were followed by trips within a 7-day window. For extra context, consider this: in 2022, only 0.08% of travellers were booking trips 1-3 months in advance. This demonstrates that consumer confidence in forward planning for trips has returned after a few years of erring on the side of caution.

Trip Duration (Days):

Travellers are giving themselves more time to plan a trip to the city, and it’s no surprise then that they’re planning a substantial stay – as opposed to an impromptu flying visit.

44% of travellers are maximising their time in the Mother City and choosing to stay for up to a fortnight. Short stays (three days or less) are only just above 10%. 

By contrast, in 2022 more than half of travellers were in town for a week or less.


Over three quarters (77%) of travellers are coming to Cape Town from destinations over 3,000 miles away – versus just over half (52%) last year.

A far greater number of travellers are now families (15% in 2023 vs 7% in 2022), while the percentage of solo visitors perhaps on business has dropped (65% in 2023 vs 76% in 2022).

It appears that the reopening of the city post-Covid restrictions – and also taking into consideration the greater number of events taking place in the city this year – has whetted the appetite of tourists.

The fast-approaching Formula E-Prix is bringing its singular brand of motoring entertainment to the Mother City on the 25th of February before heading to far-flung cities such as Sao Paulo, Portland and London later in the year. Sojern’s latest data shows that hotel demand for Cape Town is up on 2022 levels (and 2019 as well), and that presents an opportunity for the city’s hospitality sector.

Stewart Smith, Sojern’s Managing Director for the Middle East and Africa is available for an interview to discuss key report findings and the digital marketing opportunities for Cape Town hospitality throughout 2023 and how best to leverage big events, such as the Formula E-Prix.

In a nutshell –

  1. Local hotels, attractions and tour operators should be getting in front of customers and offering up their services and unique selling points to travellers ahead of their arrival.
  2. Hotels in the Green Point area fully booked for the Formula E-Prix, or any upcoming events this year, should continue to maintain their digital marketing presence. Now is the time to share the details of amenities, such as restaurants, pools, or spas, so guests are fully aware of offerings, and where they can spend their time when they aren’t at the circuit or otherwise.
  3. Travel intent data should be used to entice domestic travellers who might still be on the fence. Do they know the Formula E-Prix is on the horizon? Are they aware of the other great events the city will play host to this year that might inspire them to make a last-minute trip to Cape Town?