That the attractions of Cape Town make it one of the top destinations of the region, if not the world, is no longer newsworthy. Cape Town Tourism does a great job of promoting our beautiful city, but we should take note that the readers of the respected international travel magazine “Travel and Leisure” have relegated Cape Town to second place in the Africa and Middle East region in their latest reader poll. Hot on the heels of the recently announced World Travel Awards voting Cape Town as the best city on the region, comes news that readers of “ Travel and Leisure” who participated in their 15th annual poll to find the world's best in travel for 2010 have voted Cape Town into place as the second best city in the Africa and Middle East region, being narrowly beaten by Jerusalem, but well ahead of Cairo ; famous for decades for the pyramids and the Sphinx. How ironic is this for South Africa, which has acquired an unjust reputation for being plagued by crime- Jerusalem is plagued by constant unrest, ethnic violence, bad publicity for the simmering Palestinian problem and the way in which the Arabs are being ejected from the city. Whilst it has many historic and religious attractions Jerusalem could never be described as a beautiful city. Come on Cape Town Tourism , we can't take this lying down.
“Travel and Leisure” magazine has a paid circulation of just under 1 million readers and may be compared to other influential magazines such as “Forbes” and “Business Week”, both of which have similar circulations. In this poll their readers were asked to rate the best hotels, cruises, airlines, outfitters, cities, islands, and more.
Here is a list of the best cities in the region voted by on their readers with the ranking of 2009 shown
Africa and the Middle East
09 City Score
1 3 Jerusalem 87.55
2 1 Cape Town 87.27
3 7 Tel Aviv 83.38
4 4 Marrakesh, Morocco 83.04
5 5 Cairo 78.29
6 Petra, Jordan 77.56
7 - Dubai 73.71
8 - Alexandria, Egypt 73.33
9 - Nairobi, Kenya 72.82
10 9 Amman, Jordan 71.34
We should not become too complacent about the wonderfully favourable publicity that South Africa has received as a safe and friendly holiday destination following on the 2010 World Cup because, according to the readers of Travel and Leisure , Cape Town did not make it into the list of top 10 cities in the world where, surprisingly , 2 of Thailand’s cities top the list:
1 Bangkok Thailand 90.30
2 Chiang Mai, Thailand 89.35
3 Florence 89.17
4 San Miguel de Allende, Mexico 89.09
5 Rome 88.60
6 Sydney 87.99
7 Buenos Aires 87.98
8 Oaxaca, Mexico 87.78
9 Barcelona 87.71
10 New York City 87.68
The same readers have shunned the ostentatious luxury of the self-styled seven star hotels in Dubai and elsewhere in the Middle East, reflecting a taste for African hospitality and adventure in their choice of the top 10 Lodges and Resorts in the region, where a number of South African hotels and lodges have moved into the top 10 compared to last year.
Top 10 Lodges and Resorts in Africa and the Middle East
1 - Fairmont Mara Safari Club, Masai Mara, Kenya 96.31
2 Royal Malewane, Kruger National Park, South Africa 94.67
3 SingitaSabi Sand (Ebony Lodge, Boulders Lodge, Castleton Camp), Sabi Sand Wildtuin, South Africa 94.67
4 Kruger National Park (Lebombo Lodge, Sweni Lodge), South Africa 94.25
5 Londolozi Private Game Reserve, Sabi Sand Reserve, South Africa 94.18
6 Tortilis Camp, Amboseli National Park, Kenya 94.12
7 &Beyond KichwaTemboMasai Mara Tented Camp , Kenya 93.71
8 Twelve Apostles Hotel and Spa, Cape Town 93.62
9 MalaMala Game Reserve, South Africa 93.07
10 Royal Livingstone , Victoria Falls, Zambia 92.59
International tourism has become a major business and contributes much more to the GDP of our competitors than it does in South Africa which, we believe, shows that there is plenty of opportunity for growth in our industry. The readers of this magazine are predominantly from the USA which undoubtedly accounts for their taste and preference in choosing an international holiday. The main markets for South African tourism have always been the UK and Europe; with Germany and Holland dominating. There is a great opportunity to exploit the affluent market of the USA from whom we traditionally get a small share of visitors, because statistics for the 2010 World Cup showed that more tourists arrived for the tournament from the USA than any other country. We think it is time for South African Tourism and our own Cape Town Tourism to focus their efforts in growing this particular market.
Few of us can compete with the luxury Hotels and Lodges that make it to the top 10; but the market is growing for those international tourists who look for self-catering accommodation and B’n B’s for their holiday, and Cape Town’s extensive and professional non-hotel accommodation sector offers these guests a wide choice of affordable Cape Town holiday accommodation.