Here are five ways that Cape Town, host city of WTM Africa, is at the forefront of tourism trends, writes Katherine Lawrey.
1. Investment in Halal training
Cape Town Tourism has been seeking ways to develop awareness around Muslim travelers’ needs. By 2020 it is estimated that 26% of the world’s population will be Muslim. The growth of the Muslim middle class and a younger population with disposable income will swell the travelling population. With that in mind, Cape Town Tourism has instigated a chef exchange programme, to train and educate Cape Town chefs on Halal gourmet cuisine
2. Responsible tourism
Tourism businesses are encouraged to sign the Cape Town Responsible Charter, with members featuring on the website responsiblecapetown.co.za. Eight priority areas have been identified – these include conserving water, using energy efficiently, reducing and managing waste, universal access, building communities, developing skills, supporting enterprise development, and buying responsibly. The V&A Waterfront was awarded WTM World Responsible Tourism Gold Award as Best Destination for Responsible Tourism, for its energy efficiency, water saving and waste recycling initiatives. And visitors can engage in a number of ‘giving back’ experiences from adopting an African penguin with the South African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds to buying artwork made of recycled tea bags, which creates jobs for previously disadvantaged people.
3. Neighbourhood watch
Cape Town’s quirky neighbourhoods hold plenty of bite for today’s travellers, who are hungry for immersive experiences. Each area has a different vibe and they are full of characters. Cape Town has provided a series of Insider’s video guides, profiling neighbourhoods such as Kalk Bay, a colourful fishing village, buzzing with restaurants and quirky shops, and Woodstock, one of the oldest suburbs in Cape Town and just under a mile from the Central Business District. Mountain views up the cobbled streets, proximity to the sea, and brightly painted murals give Woodstock an edgy, urban energy. Constantia, nestled beneath Table Mountain National Park, has easily accessible vineyards, fine dining and magnificent valleys, while Somerset West is all about adventure, outdoors, and a Cheetah Outreach programme. These and many more are profiled on Cape Town Tourism’s website.
4. Culinary capital
From Bree Street to the Foreshore, there’s a glut of independent establishments peddling burgers, tapas, Peruvian, Italian, coffee and cakes, health food, smoothies, bagels and pub grub. Particularly tasty highlights include Bacon on Bree, which uses organically sourced produce and naturally bred pigs. You can’t miss Culture Club, Cape Town’s first boutique artisan cheese hub, in its bright cheddar-yellow building. Test Kitchen was ranked 22nd best restaurant in the world at the 2016 World’s 50 Best Restaurant Awards – advance reservations are essential. Other restaurants picking up honourable mentions when Conde Nast Traveller named Cape Town best food city in 2016 were Kalky’s fish and chip shop, the Pot Luck Club and Neighbourgoods Market, a Saturday market and social institution.
The world is in the grip of a gin-drinking epidemic, with boutique distilleries, brands and bars popping up all over the place. Break-through Cape Town craft gin brands include Jorgensen’s Musgrave, which sports a pink gin, carbon-neutral New Harbour Distillery, and Hope on Hopkins, which offers tours and tastings at its distillery in Salt River. Also attracting the critics’ attention are Inverroche, Woodstock Gin Co, Triple Three and Cruxland. The Mother City has two dedicated gin bars – Mother’s Ruin on Bree Street and The Gin Bar, tucked away in the Honest Chocolate courtyard – while local ingredients rooibos (a caffeine-free tea) and fynbos (fine-leafed endemic shrubs) infuse speciality cocktails.