Cape Town loses its standing as world’s favourite tourist city, overtaken by Durban!


Cape TownFrom number one in the New York Times 52 Places to go in 2014, Cape Town has fallen right off the list of 52 Places to go in 2015. In its place, Durban has made 7th on this prestigious list this year!   Cape Town too has lost out to Los Angeles as the home for filming the German reality series ‘Der Bachelor’.

The South African stories for the New York Times  are written by Sarah Khan, an American writer who now lives in Cape Town.  Having become proudly-Cape Town, Khan has written many articles about Cape Town, even though her restaurant recommendations for Cape Town in Travel + Leisure left much to be desired last year! A shock therefore is that she has not nominated Cape Town in the list of 52 top places to go this year, and instead nominated Durban in 7th top place in the world!

Khan writes about Durban: ‘No one has bad things to say about Durban, per se; they will agree that its beachfront promenade is lovely and the weather is pleasant year round. And yet Durbs, as it is affectionately called, is often scoffed at by Capetonians and Joburgers for being a touch gauche. Well, enough of that. The city’s creative set is staking its claim on a hefty share of the country’s cool quotient. The reinvention ofRivertown kicked things off: The city enclave is now home to a popular market, beer hall and, coming soon, a raft of boutiques showcasing proudly local brands (Dirty Indigo T-shirts; Spine men’s wear). The beloved but dated Durban beachfront is also getting a serious upgrade, courtesy of new dining spots like Afro’s Chicken, California Dreaming and Surf Rider’s Cafe. Not sure where to start exploring? Order a bunny chow, the quintessential Indian-South African fast food (Durban is home to one of the world’s largest Indian communities), and join a city walk led by Beset Durban’.   She certainly does not enthuse about Durban as she did about Cape Town last year!  As a writer said, ‘Durban has always been the bridesmaid to Cape Town’s bride’! 

The New York Times top 10 list of 52 places to go this year is Milan, Cuba, Philadelphia, Yellowstone National Park, Elqui Valley in Chile, Singapore, Durban, Bolivia, Faroe Islands, and Macedonia.  Zimbabwe makes the list in 14th place, and Tanzania at number 17.

Der Bachelor’ reality show has shot three seasons in Cape Town, and in Camps Bay specifically, the bachelor’s house and that of theDer Bachelor 22 lady candidates having served as home base for outings to various destinations in Cape Town, the Winelands, safari parks, and more in South Africa.  Amarula is a sponsor of the programme, and interestingly remains it for Season 4, despite the new filming location being Los Angeles.  In the past SA Tourism ran competitions to attract German TV station RTL viewers to travel to our country. Understandably the SAA promotion has fallen away for the latest season of the programme.

Has Cape Town become boring to travelers?  Is there nothing new about our city now that World Design Capital 2014 is behind us, to motivate travelers to visit?  We trust that the tourism authorities in Cape Town and the Western Cape will take note of these two shock tourism omissions for Cape Town!

Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio:  Tel (021) 433-2100, Twitter:@WhaleCottage   Facebook:  click here

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4 replies on “Cape Town loses its standing as world’s favourite tourist city, overtaken by Durban!”

  1. Travis says:

    Good, and about time too. Durban is too often overlooked amidst all the gushing about how pretty Cape Town is. In any case, an article by one writer who draws up a list can hardly be considered authoritative. It’s simply an opinion piece. Why on earth should it come as a “shock”?

    • Chris von Ulmenstein says:

      If you read the blogpost again Travis, you will see that Sarah Khan only prepares the South African entries. An editor of the New York Times compiled and decided on the ranking of the top 52 cities/regions.

      Durban has never beaten Cape Town at anything, hence the ‘shock’!

      • WillSW says:

        Come on. It is one thing to be surprised of Cape Town missing out. But to state Durban has never beaten Cape Town at anything is taking a completely biased lens. Maybe with a response like this and the fact Cape Town missed out is the wake up call many people in Cape Town need to turn the rather stale tourism offering around that always harps on the same mantra

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