Travel+Leisure Magazine this week announced the much-anticipated results of their 14th annual World’s Best poll, where readers of their magazine rate the world’s best cities, islands, hotels, cruises, and airlines. This publication is regarded as one of the world’s leading travel lifestyle magazines with a monthly circulation of almost one million readers internationally.
Cape Town sailed into second position in the Top Cities of the World poll, one place up from their third position finish in 2008 and just behind overall winner Udaipur, India.
A discerning group of travelers, the readers of Travel+Leisure Magazine opted for exotic destinations Udaipur, Bangkok, Buenos Aires, and Chiang Mai ahead of the usual suspects like New York and Rome, which finished in eighth and ninth positions, respectively, in the category of Top Cities. Cape Town was again voted the Best City in Africa and the Middle East, riding on the crest of a wave of north African cities like romantic Marrakech, Fez, Tel Aviv, and Cairo.
This trend was corroborated by the UNWTO’s June 2009 Barometer publication that attributes a 3 percent growth in international travel to Africa during the first quarter of 2009 – in the face of negative growth observed worldwide – to increased demand for north African destinations around the Mediterranean and the revival of Kenya as a tourism destination.
Mariëtte du Toit-Helmbold, CEO of Cape Town Tourism, said of the latest accolade: “We are delighted with the recognition that Cape Town consistently receives as one of the world’s favorite and most remarkable city destinations. The inclusion of some of Cape Town’s hotels like The Twelve Apostles Hotel, which is rated as one of The World’s Best 15 hotels, and the Cape Grace Hotel that came fourth in the category Top 5 City Hotels in Africa and the Middle East, further emphasizes that Cape Town offers the visitor outstanding tourism infrastructure and world-class facilities and services. An award such as this not only pays tribute to the Mother City’s tourism industry but supports the message that Cape Town is ready to welcome the world for the 2010 FIFA Soccer World Cup™.”
The presence of other South African properties on the Top 15 list of The World’s Best Hotels 2009 category was striking, with Singita Sabi Sand in sixth position, Sabi Sabi Private Game Reserve (Earth Lodge) in third position, and top honors going to Cape Town Tourism member, Bushmans Kloof, located in the Cedarberg Mountains.
“We applaud the tourism sector for its outstanding commitment to excellence and remarkable visitor experiences,” du Toit-Helmbold said. The Mother City’s latest accolade follows on a series of earlier awards such as National Geographic Traveler including Cape Town in their 50 Places of a Lifetime selection, Conde Nast Traveler calling it the Top City in Africa & the Middle East (fourth in the World), and The UK Telegraph voting Cape Town their Favorite Foreign City.