Africa Travel Week
Cape Town

Cape Town ushers in festive season with global events award

On 1 December, the Executive Mayor Alderman Dan Plato was joined by local performers – including the Ghoema entertainers, Carnival Dancers and the Delft Big Band – for a small Festive Lights Switch-On ceremony with a twist to usher in the joyous season.

The Executive Mayor also announced that Cape Town has been voted the World’s Leading Festival and Event Destination 2020 at the World Travel Awards. This is the second time in three years the Mother City has been awarded the accolade having received the recognition in 2018. 

For the 2020 award, Cape Town was up against Barcelona (Spain), Danang (Vietnam), Dubai (UAE), Glasgow (Scotland), Guayaquil (Ecuador), London (England), Moscow (Russia), Rio de Janeiro (Brazil), Santiago (Chile), Singapore and Sydney (Australia).

‘These are big contenders across the world, with excellent track records and for Cape Town to be named the World’s Leading Festival and Event Destination in a year when the entire world has grappled with the COVID-19 pandemic, is an illustration of the diverse offering this city presents to the world,’ said Executive Mayor Dan Plato.     

‘It would have been wonderful to share the award with the tens of thousands of people who would normally have lined up on Darling and Adderley Streets for the annual Festive Lights Switch-On Concert, however COVID-19 regulations do not allow us to host the free open air event,’ said Mayor Plato.

Over the past year, Cape Town was able to host the annual signature events, including the Cape Town Rugby Sevens, Tweede Nuwe Jaar Street Parade, Cape Town Cycle Tour and the Sanlam Cape Town Marathon, among others. 

The Mother City was also able to attract new events, including the Africa Netball Cup, the TP52 Super Series, Miss South Africa grand finale and the once-off Match in Africa with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.

‘I want to thank and congratulate the event organisers who continue to choose our beautiful city as the stage for these wonderful events. This award is an illustration of all the hard work. Along with the Events Department and other auxiliary departments, they are able to put together brilliant showpieces to rival the world’s best.

‘The City is committed to working with them during these difficult times to find ways in which we can continue to host events in a safe environment and continue to protect jobs for the thousands of people who rely on the industry for work,’ said Mayoral Committee Member for Safety and Security Alderman JP Smith.

Cape Town Tourism CEO Enver Duminy said: ‘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 in these prestigious awards.

‘This industry is such a crucial part of our local economy. We are determined to remain a top events destination 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 beautiful 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.’

The City would also like to congratulate the Cape Town International Airport and Table Mountain for being named Africa’s Leading Airport 2020 and Africa’s Leading Tourist Attraction 2020 respectively at the regional awards.

Africa Travel Week

Africa Travel Week (ATW) focuses on inbound and outbound markets for general leisure tourism, luxury travel, LGBTQ+ travel and the MICE/business travel sector as well as travel technology. Shows include: ILTM Africa, WTM Africa, EQUAL Africa, ibtm AFRICA, Travel Forward, Sports & Events Tourism Exchange and African Tourism Investment Summit.