Cape Town named Africa’s Leading Festival and Events Destination

The events team at the City of Cape Town with representatives of the events sector

Cape Town has been named Africa’s Leading Festival and Events Destination at the 2020 World Travel Awards for the third consecutive year.

The announcement was made at the V&A Waterfront, on Monday November 9, by Mayor Dan Plato and Mayoral committee member for safety and security, JP Smith.

The accolade came days before President Cyril Ramaphosa’s national address on Wednesday November 11, where he announced, among other things, that South Africa’s borders would open for international travel, although the national lockdown was extended until Tuesday December 15.

The president’s announcement was welcomed by the City, Cape Town Tourism, and other stakeholders.

Mayor Dan Plato at the V&A Waterfront

On Monday, Mr Plato said for this year’s voting process, Cape Town was up against Durban, Johannesburg, Accra, Kigali, Lagos, Marrakech, Nairobi and Rabat.

“For the City of Cape Town, it is really an honour to once again be voted as the leading festival and events capital of Africa. The fact that Cape Town has won this award for three years in a row, is testament to the hard work by various event organisers working with the City, our partner stakeholders, and our events department’s unwavering support for the industry.

“Cape Town offers so much for an event organiser – location, scenery, affordability, and quality infrastructure. This provides the ideal setting. It is clear Covid-19 has had a negative impact on the sector, but we are looking ahead to revitalise the industry. We have begun implementing a strategy aimed at rejuvenating the events sector as we navigate our way beyond this pandemic,” he said.

Mr Smith said events were important to host for many reasons, and it was in this regard that, on the back of the pandemic and subsequent restrictions, the City had put together a plan to re-establish the city as an events capital. “We believe events will be key in revitalising the economy going forward.”

“We are engaging the various event organisers during this period to discuss dates, the scale and event footprints to ensure that these events are in line with the current national regulations.”

Mr Smith said the events permit office had already received 80 new event applications since the announcement of level 1 of the lockdown in late September.

Cape Town Tourism CEO Enver Duminy welcomed the accolade.

“In a year in which our biggest events were cancelled and during a time when we have been unable to really showcase our talents in this regard, it’s wonderful to know that voters from across the globe have confidently voted for Cape Town as the winner of this category. This really goes to show that, throughout the years, Cape Town has consistently impressed with its ability to host festivals and events.”

He said events play a crucial part of local tourism and the business industry.

“As we accept this award, we are reminded that our events industry has been all but decimated as a result of Covid-19 and the lockdown. This industry is such a crucial part of our local economy. We are determined to remain a top events destination in Africa and this means that we are dedicated to playing by the rules in order to limit the spread of the virus and to ensure the safety of those who attend events in our City.

“We need to not only be the best destination to host an event, but also the safest and best managed when it comes to controlling the spread of Covid-19.“

Waterfront spokesperson Donald Kau said the city remained a prime destination for local as well as global events, and has a proven track record of fantastic hospitality and services as well as the necessary infrastructure and expertise to bring memorable events to life. “We cannot wait to once again welcome the world to our neighbourhood to showcase our creativity, energy and enthusiasm as a global host.”

Mr Plato said last month Cape Town hosted the Miss South Africa grand finale for the first time in the competition’s six-decade history, the first ever hybrid Sanlam Cape Town Virtual Marathon and is playing host to a reimagined Suidoosterfees this month.

Other events to look forward to in 2021 include Best of Cape Town, a five-day art, food and wine festival; Senior Masters Hockey World Cup; the Cape Town Cycle Tour; The Cape Town Surf Pro; Lion’s Tour and the Brick Live Exhibition.

In 2022, the city will host the Rugby World Cup Sevens, and in 2023, the Netball World Cup.

  • The Central City Improvement District (CCID) has welcomed the announcement by President Cyril Ramaphosa that international borders will be reopened as part of a “rapid and sustained economic recovery” following the devastating economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

CCID CEO Tasso Evangelinos said: We echo the president’s call to focus our attention on economic recovery as we transition into the next phase of the Covid-19 response. The opening of borders presents the welcome prospect of international travellers descending on the Mother City once again during our peak summer season. A move the hard-hit tourism and hospitality industry desperately needs.”

Last month the CCID launched a campaign to reignite the Cape Town CBD economy. Called “Come Back To Town”, the economic-recovery campaign speaks to all stakeholders, reminding them of what they have been missing and enticing them back to the heart of the city.

“We are inviting visitors from near and far to come back to the central city to do business, to shop, to play and to visit with the knowledge that safety protocols remain top of mind. The Cape Town CBD is open for business!”