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Cape Town Tops in Africa

Posted by {Whale Cottage Camps Bay} on September 6th, 2007. Categories: {Cape Town News}

Cape Town has been voted the top city in Africa and Middle East by Travel & Leisure magazine.

Golf tourism is a lucrative segment of the tourism market for the Western Cape, reports Travel Hub. A study conducted by students at the University of Cape Town found that golfers tend to stay for 14 days, and spend R 13 000 on average on golf during their trip.

The region’s international golf course quality and accessibility rated highly in the study, while its value for money perception was only average.

Rock star Peter Gabriel, Richard Branson, Jimmy Carter, Former Irish President Mary Robinson, Archbishop Tutu, Koffi Annan, economist Muhammed Yunus and former Chinese foreign minister Li Zhaoxing met with Nelson Mandela to celebrate his birthday last month, and to form a group which they have called ‘The Elders’. The group will address global issues.

Franschhoek celebrated its most successful Bastille Day weekend ever in July, and the excellent weather as well as the involvement by Franschhoek farm owner Tokyo Sexwale were a recipe for success. Sexwale linked the Bastille celebration to Nelson Mandela’s release from the Drakenstein prison between Franschhoek and Paarl, formerly called Victor Verster, and a “long walk to freedom” was led by Sexwale from the prison to Franschhoek’s Huguenot Monument. The restaurants and vineyards put their wares on show, and the village was beautifully dressed in French finery. Sexwale’s media coverage for the event will not have harmed his campaign to become South Africa’s next president in 2009! Oddly, a sponsor was announced for the Festival a mere two weeks prior to its start, but it is understood that the sponsor did not pay its monies, and so received no visibility on the weekend of the Festival. However, all materials printed ahead and publicity about the Festival acknowledged Intaka Tech’s involvement as the sponsor. The relevance of the sponsor to the Bastille Festival and Franschhoek was questioned at the time of its announcement, given that the engineering company manufactures water purification plants.

The Top Ten list of countries from which tourists visit South Africa are, in order of importance, the UK, Germany, USA, France, The Netherlands, Australia, Canada, Sweden, India and Italy. In the first quarter of 2007 France, Australia, Canada and India showed good growth, says Travel Hub. Switzerland has dropped out of the Top Ten list, due to the monopoly of airline Swiss on the route, affecting ticket prices. Germany saw a decrease of 4 %, as its VAT was increased in January. In May China entered the Top Ten list, at the expense of Sweden. The German tourist decline continued in May, while the numbers from the USA, Australia, Canada, Italy, the Netherlands and the UK increased.

Official tourist statistics are accepted as being the best that are available, but travel agent and tour operator association SATSA has called for one central credible source of tourism information. The association is sceptical about the information supplied by Stats SA and by SA Tourism. Of the 8 million tourists counted for 2006, 6 million were from other African countries. African visitors can transit across South Africa’s borders a number of times a year, as much as twelve times in the case of Lesotho residents, leading to severe double-counting, says a report on Travel Hub. Furthermore, local residents with international passports are counted as tourists when they enter/leave South Africa on overseas trips, and this also influences the accuracy of the statistics.

Air travel internationally is up by close to 5 % compared to a year ago, according to the Cape Times. Last year 4,4 billion passengers passed through 1 640 airports in 178 countries. Atlanta is the busiest airport in the world, followed by Chicago O’Hare and Heathrow.

While some believe that the announcement that a 106 meter high statue of King Shaka will be erected on the banks of the uTheka River, about 90 km from Durban, could be mistaken for an April Fools’ joke, the statue is set to become a reality. It will be larger than the Statue of Liberty, and that of Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro. The statue is to be completed by 2010, and will form part of a R 1,2 billion development, which includes a hotel, conference centre, restaurant, and art and crafts stalls, reports the Cape Argus.

Knysna’s recent Oyster Festival was a huge success, with a R 60 million income benefit to Knysna. The Cycle Tour attracted 6 500 cyclists and now is the largest mountainbiking event in the country, reports the Knysna Tourism Bureau. More than 200 000 oysters were eaten over the ten day Festival period.

The hospitality industry body FEDHASA says that the hotel industry is doing well, and that three star hotels in particular are attracting South African business and leisure clients, while international clients prefer to stay in 4 and 5 star hotels, reports Travel News Now. FEDHASA CEO Brett Dungan says that the internet has levelled the playing field, and that guest houses and B & B’s now compete head-on against hotels.

A blow to the tourism industry is the announcement by the airports company ACSA that it is doubling its airport taxes for all flights from October, reports Travel News Now. The company has justified its increases on the basis of its infrastructure requirements for the next five years.

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