Two prominent newspapers – The New York Times and The Guardian – have named the City of Cape Town the number-one place in the world to visit in 2014.
This comes as the city, which was named World Design Capital for the year, prepared for “one of its best summers”, with regard to tourism, since the recession, Western Cape Finance, Economic Development and Tourism Minister Alan Winde said on Monday.
The World Design Capital 2014 title, which would result in a year-long programme of design-focused events that would see creative communities across the globe turning to Cape Town for social, economic and cultural solutions, was a contributing factor in the newspapers’ decision to name the Mother City the top destination, he said.
The World Design Capital is an initiative of the International Council of Societies of Industrial Design aimed at promoting and celebrating cities that have used design as a tool to reinvent themselves and improve social, cultural and economic life.
According to the Western Cape government, previous World Design Capital titleholders boasted increased visitor numbers in their title year, with Torino, in Italy, reporting higher visitor numbers in its title year in 2008 – which coincided with the global economic downturn – than in 2006, when Torino hosted the Winter Olympics.
“I am confident that our inclusion in the travel lists of these top publications, coupled with the World Design Capital [award], will help us to achieve our aim of drawing a record number of travellers to our beautiful city in 2014,” said Winde.
The New York Times, which rated Cape Town as the top destination in its “52 places to go in 2014” feature, highlighted Cape Town’s creative sectors and invited its readers to witness a “city in transformation”.
In a 'frequently-asked questions' document on the website, the New York Times said, by November, the paper “had a strong sense” that Cape Town would be the number-one choice for 2014 – a sense that was cemented by the subsequent death of Nelson Mandela, who had “spent years gazing at the city and Table Mountain from his cell on Robben Island”.
“Of course, much has changed since then and that is what we look for in a top pick: a destination that has its own transformative story to tell. From Rio, in 2013, to Sri Lanka, in 2010, to Beirut, in 2009, the places that land at number one are chosen because, at this moment, there is a defining reason to go,” noted the paper.
The New York Time’s top ten destinations included Christchurch, in New Zealand, the North Coast of California, the Albanian coast, Downtown Los Angeles, Namibia, Equador, Vietnam’s Quang Binh, Perth, in Australia, and Rotterdam, in the Netherlands.
British newspaper The Guardian’s list of the 40 best holiday hotspots for 2014 selected Cape Town ahead of Uzes, in France, Austin, in Texas, Carmarthenshire, in the UK and Kolkata, India.
São Tomé and Príncipe, Alaçatı, in Turkey, George Town, in Malaysia, Alberta, in Canada, and Bordeaux, in France, also secured top-ten spots.
“This is great news for our city’s tourism sector and excellent publicity for our destination. These awards will no doubt help to elevate Cape Town to the top of travellers’ bucket lists,” Winde concluded.