Although virtual connections have kept our industry afloat over the past year, it’s time to take Africa Travel Week (ATW) to the next level again.
This year, Africa Travel Week will go ahead as a virtual and a live show from 11 to 13 April in the Host City of Cape Town, bringing exhibitors and buyers back together in person.
In preparation for our bumper event, we recently sat down with Geordin Hill-Lewis, Executive Mayor of Cape Town. Here are his insights on what attendees can look forward to during their visit to the Mother City:
In your opinion, why is Cape Town a top travel destination?
Whenever I think about Cape Town and what it has to offer, I can’t help but feel just how blessed we are to live in one of the most special cities in the world.
I stay in Edgemead and within 10 minutes I can find myself within the Durbanville Wine Valley, sitting on the stoep of a wine farm with a crisp glass of chardonnay in hand. Just that alone is incredible. Here in Cape Town you have access to some of the best food and wine across the globe, along with thought-provoking history and cultural diversity which makes it even more special.
Cape Town is a place that simply must be on your bucket list.
Do you have a secret gem in the city that you absolutely love to visit and would love to share with ATW visitors?
I have many, but one of my top spots is right in the heart of Bo-Kaap called Bo-Kaap Deli. It’s my favourite coffee shop in the city and I often take meetings there, or pop in to catch up on work. The food is excellent, and the views are spectacular.
In a post-Covid world, what differentiates Cape Town from other cities across the globe?
We’ve been hard at work thinking of innovative, yet nimble ways to get our tourism sector back up and running. One of the things we have done that has taken off quite successfully is our citizen-driven ‘Open Streets’ concept where we block off certain streets to vehicle traffic. This allows restaurants more space to spill out further onto the streets to allow for safer and more socially-distanced dining.
Since starting Open Streets during December 2021, it has been a great success and we are now doing it in different parts of the city almost every weekend. It offers a completely unique experience for locals who fully support the initiative and our international visitors who are slowly returning.
We have also scrapped permit fees for informal traders, independent food caravans and coffee stands for the foreseeable future so that they have an opportunity to get back on their feet. Our goal is also to increase foot traffic throughout our streets and create an enabling environment for local businesses to do what they do best.
According to a recent study by Money.co.uk, Cape Town is the 6th most affordable city in the world to relocate to. What makes it so eye-catching for those wanting to visit on a workcation?
Well, for starters, we have all the basics such as internet connectivity, coworking spaces, healthcare infrastructure, a strong sense of community and a desirable exchange rate for forex. However, what I really think tips the balance is our seamless work-life culture.
This is the kind of place to work and do business in but also to relax and actually enjoy all the best things Cape Town has to offer. The transition between work and play is effortless and I’m certain the attendees at ATW will quickly catch on!
What makes Cape Town ideal for an extended visit instead of having a multi-destination itinerary?
One word that immediately comes to mind is ‘diversity’. There is so much more to Cape Town than our fantastic beaches and mountain views. There’s the Cape-Malay history to dive into and rich political history which in itself is integral to South Africa’s past. Our city has so many layers that can’t be uncovered in just a few days.
Cape Town is the type of destination where you can try something new each day you’re here, even if your stay runs well over three weeks. From restaurants to markets, museums, art galleries and outdoor activities, it ticks all the boxes as a really great tourist destination.
What are you looking forward to the most when it comes to ATW’s first in-person event in two years?
Just the fact that ATW participants are finally coming back is just so thrilling! I can’t wait to see old friends in person and welcome first-time international visitors to our city. It has been so exciting getting Cape Town ready to host the show. This in itself is a promising and comforting sign that the world is returning to some degree of normality.
Hosting a live show this year really means the world to us because so much of our local economy depends on foreign visitors. I’d also love to thank everyone for their continued support, especially those travellers arriving from international countries. We can’t wait to have everyone here once again! The City of Cape Town is ready to welcome you with open arms!
As part of Africa Travel Week, WTM Africa will be held live and in-person from 11 to 13 April 2022, alongside ILTM Africa. Register your attendance here.