South Africa’s top travel destinations

 ·11 Apr 2014
Cape Town

Cape Town has been named one of the top destinations in the world – and second in Africa – according to TripAdvisor’s 2014 Travelers’ Choice awards.

Istanbul, Turkey, was voted at the world’s top destination, having climbed 11 places since 2013’s list, followed by Rome, Italy (2nd) and London, England (3rd).

TripAdvisor winners were determined using an algorithm that took into account the quantity and quality of reviews and ratings for hotels, attractions and restaurants in destinations worldwide, gathered over a 12-month period.

TripAdvisor recorded more than 260 million unique monthly visitors in 2013, and more than 150 million reviews and opinions covering more than 3.7 million accommodations, restaurants and attractions.

Six of the top 25 world spots are from Asia and four Asian cities saw a climb of at least 10 places in the world top 25 list year-over-year.

Marrakech, Morocco (6th) climbed 13 places in the 2014 rankings, and is the only other African destination to make the top 25, above Cape Town, which was ranked 19th (down 3 places since 2013).

Top 25 global destinations

# City Country Change
1 Istanbul Turkey +11
2 Rome Italy +2
3 London England 0
4 Beijing China +17
5 Prague Czech Republic +4
6 Marrakech Morocco +13
7 Paris France -6
8 Hanoi Vietnam New
9 Siem Reap Cambodia +14
10 Shanghai China +12
11 Berlin Germany 0
12 New York City USA -10
13 Florence Italy -5
14 Buenos Aires Argentina +4
15 Barcelona Spain -10
16 St. Petersburg Russia +4
17 Dubai UAE New
18 Chicago USA -4
19 Cape Town South Africa -3
20 Bangkok Thailand -7
21 Budapest Hungary New
22 Sydney Australia -12
23 Lisbon Portugal New
24 Chiang Mai Thailand 0
25 San Francisco USA -18

Looking at Africa, Marrakech was rated as the top destination on the continent, with Cape Town ranked second. Moroccan and South African cities dominated the top destinations list for Africa.

A total of 6 Moroccan and 11 South Africa cities were listed in the top 25 destinations for Africa, with Kenya representing 4 spots and Mauritius, Gambia, Tanzania, and Tunisia having one city each.

Knysna, along South Africa’s Garden Route, was listed in 6th, followed by Franschhoek (7th), Joburg (8th), Paarl (11th), Hermanus (13th), Plettenburg Bay (14th) and Stellenbosch (15th).

Pretoria (20th), Durban (21st) and Hazyview (22nd) rounded off the top South African destinations.

Top 25 African destinations

# City Country
1 Marrakech Morocco
2 Cape Town South Africa
3 Fes Morocco
4 Essaouira Morocco
5 Merzouga Morocco
6 Knysna South Africa
7 Franschhoek South Africa
8 Johannesburg South Africa
9 Nairobi Kenya
10 Watamu Kenya
11 Paarl South Africa
12 Ouarzazate Morocco
13 Hermanus South Africa
14 Plettenburg Bay South Africa
15 Stellenbosch South Africa
16 Mombosa Kenya
17 Diani Beach Kenya
18 Stone Town Tanzania
19 Grand Baie Mauritius
20 Pretoria South Africa
21 Durban South Africa
22 Hazyview South Africa
23 Koloi Gambia
24 Houmt Souk Tunisia
25 Casablanca Morocco

Cape Town tourism boom

International arrivals to Cape Town over the 2013/14 summer season were up by 15 percent compared to the previous year, the city’s tourism director Anton Groenewald said on Wednesday (9 April).

Arrivals from regional Africa by air also increased from October 2013, culminating in 17 percent more of these visitors in February this year.

The top five countries of origin for tourists to Cape Town were South Africa itself, the United Kingdom, the United States, Germany, and the Netherlands.

Groenewald said three-quarters of tourism businesses — such as attractions, tour operators, restaurants, and wine farms — recorded more bookings for January and February than they did the same time last year.

December 2013 was the best summer month for surveyed major tourist attractions.

Cape Point and the Table Mountain Aerial Cableway both had record growth with more than 100,000 visitors each.

Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens also had a record number of visitors.

“The V&A Waterfront saw its highest-ever number of visitors [at] 24 million in 2013, including 175,000 visitors on December 31, 2013 alone.”

There was an overall upward trend in accommodation figures, with revenue per available room increasing by an average 16 percent per month between October and December last year.

Cape Town Tourism CEO Enver Duminy said a “cocktail” of factors had contributed to the increase in visitors and bookings.

These included a weak rand, a value-for-money offering, and the city being seen as desirable after a slew of international accolades.

Groenewald said it was the city’s vision to grow the events calendar and tourism numbers during winter too.

“Several new events are being mooted for Cape Town over the next few months, including a new performing arts festival inspired by the energy and ethos of popular fringe festivals in New York, Amsterdam, Adelaide, and Edinburgh,” he said.

(with Sapa)

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