Cape Town top of the pile

In front, from left, are David Bellairs, Mayor Dan Plato and Elana Meyer. At the back are Billy Domingo, Jay Douwes, Lesley de Reuck, Leonora Desouza-Zilwa and Rafiq Samsodien. .

Cape Town was named the World’s Leading Festival and Events Destination at the 2018 World Travel Awards that took place at the Patio da Gale, in Lisbon, Portugal, over the weekend.

The announcement was made at the City Hall on Sunday December 2, during one of the city’s biggest festive events, the Switching on of the Festive Lights.

Mayor Dan Plato said the accolade was off the back of being voted Africa’s Leading Festival and Events Destination in October.

“We want the world to know that Cape Town is the destination to invest in, a place to work, for entertainment and the best place to live. This is not just an award for Cape Town; it is an award for South Africa and Africa. We want Cape Town to position itself as a place where the world can access Africa and Africa can access the world. Continuing to host events of an international standard will make this vision a reality,” said Mr Plato.

The Mayco member for safety, security and social services, JP Smith, said the award reaffirms Cape Town’s position as a world-class city, and shows that the city has what it takes to lead the way in organising and hosting events.

“Last week representatives from national government, provincial government, the City’s events office and myself spent two days in intensive preparations and rehearsals to present the bid on behalf of Cape Town and South Africa, to host the 2023 Netball World Cup. It would be the first time on African soil and would be a milestone for the city, the country and the continent if we win the bid to host the largest women’s sporting event in the world,” he said.

Mr Plato said they have hopes of attracting more events and also create job opportunities. “This award needs to translate to economic opportunities for all communities of Cape Town.”

He said over the next 12 months, events being hosted in Cape Town would contribute more than R3 billion to the local economy and create more than 20 000 temporary jobs.

Some of the iconic events include the Cape Town Cycle Tour, the world’s largest timed cycle race; the Old Mutual Two Oceans race, HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series and the Cape Town International Jazz Festival – the largest jazz event on the continent, as well as the free concert on Green Market Square which provides a jazz experience to thousands who are not able to attend the main festival at the Cape Town International Convention Centre.

Billy Domingo, of the Cape Town International Jazz Festival, said years ago the event was named one of the four best jazz festivals in the world.

“While the jazz festival was a small part of it, it was the destination – Cape Town – was where it was happening. I am proud that Cape Town is home to this festival. All the accolades we’ve received was because of this city.”

Jay Douwes of the Cape Town Carnival, which takes place on the Fan Walk annually, said she was also proud to present the carnival in the city each year.

“We are starting to show the world who we are and what we can bring.”

Rafiq Samsodien, the chairman of the Cape Town International Film Festival and Market, said there are a number of film shoots taking place across the city.”It’s crazy in the city. There are shoots on every corner. It shows that Cape Town is open for business. There are not many cities that can sport a mountain in our backyard, and the ocean in our garden.”

David Bellairs, of the Cycle Tour, said hosting a big event in Cape Town would not be possible without the community and residents’ support.