Cape Town has been named the World's Leading Festival and Event Destination for 2021 by the 28th annual World Travel Awards.
This is despite the Mother City not being able to host many – at times any – festivals or events in the last two years owing to the Covid-19 pandemic. The Covid-19 Disaster Management Act has since March 2020 limited the number of people allowed to meet or gather indoors or outdoors.
According to a report by the SA Cultural Observatory (Saco) the cultural and creative services sector contributed more than R74.4 billion a year to the SA economy before the pandemic and has a multiplier impact on tourism and retail.
The sector for meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions (MICE) was one of the first in the tourism industry to be impacted through cancellations because of the coronavirus pandemic. It is expected that the MICE sector might also be the last to recover due to its nature of usually involving groups of people being brought together.
In the view of Graham Cooke, founder of the World Travel Awards, with the anticipated return of global tourism, the dominant trend among travellers is for extra indulgence and a determination to book with only the very best.
"South Africa's already flailing tourism and hospitality sectors are in dire need of support through domestic travel. It's really the industry's greatest – and only – hope right now," says Cape Town Tourism CEO Enver Duminy.