South Africa is the continent’s top leisure spot

[Image] Cape Town was voted as Africa’s leading travel destination.
(Images: Cape Town Tourism)

[Image] The Mount Nelson Hotel in Cape Town was nominated in the World’s Leading Hotel category. 

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South Africa’s three major cities – Cape Town, Durban, and Johannesburg – shone at the World Travel Awards – Africa held on 16 October at the Safari Park Hotel & Casino in Nairobi, Kenya.

Hailed as “The Oscars of the travel industry” the World Travel Awards celebrates its 20th anniversary this year and is acknowledged globally as the ultimate travel accolade, rewarding world-leading hospitality brands.

Voting for the competition is online and encourages travel and tourism executives and business and leisure tourists to vote for their favourite destinations, resorts and game reserves, among others.

The World Travel – Africa Awards turns the global spotlight on the continent’s leading leisure and commercial destinations, and sees some African nominees, like South Africa, breaking into international categories.

South Africa ranked high in international category nominations, but stood out in the Africa heats, winning 32 awards out of 57 categories, including leading African airport, beach destination, family resort, city hotel, conference venue, safari lodge and spa resort.

The awards also saw East African state Kenya score honours.

Up in the air

In the air travel category, South African Airways was Africa’s Leading Airline, while OR Tambo International Airport edged out Cape Town International, King Shaka International and Nairobi’s Jomo Kenyatta to be named the top airport in Africa.

Destinations

South African tourist attractions dominated in the Africa’s Leading Tourist Destination category with South African ports also racking up nomination honours in the Leading Cruise Port category.

Breezy Cape Town was named Africa’s Leading Destination as well as the top destination for Meetings and Conferences. In a nominee coup, Durban and Johannesburg also garnered runner-up honours. The Durban International Convention Centre was named Africa’s Leading Meetings & Conference Centre. Durban city was hailed as the Leading Cruise Port in Africa. Other notable awards included Africa’s Leading Luxury Train for The Blue Train and Africa’s Leading Conservation Company for Shamwari Game Reserve.

Hotels

In the hotels category, South Africa was strongly represented, winning 12 awards out of 25. Winners included Sandton, Johannesburg’s The Regent (Africa’s Leading Apartment Hotel); the Johannesburg Saxon Boutique Hotel, Villas and Spa (Africa’s Leading Boutique Hotel); Johannesburg’s Sandton Sun (Africa’s Leading Business Hotel); Johannesburg’s The Palazzo at Montecasino (Africa’s Leading Casino Resort); Cape Town’s Pepperclub Hotel & Spa (Africa’s Leading City Hotel); The Westin Cape Town (Africa’s Leading Conference Hotel); the North West province’s Sun City Resort (Africa’s Leading Family Resort); and the Limpopo province’s Legend Golf & Safari Resort (Africa’s Leading Golf Resort).

The Taj in Cape Town was named Africa’s Leading Hotel Residencep; Thanda Private Game Reserve was named Africa’s Leading Luxury Lodge and Ellerman House Villa One, Africa’s Leading Luxury Villa.

CEO of Cape Town Tourism, Enver Duminy, comments: “This is another feather in the cap of Cape Town and the Mother City’s tourism offering – right off the back of another accolade in the Condé Nast Readers Choice Awards for 2013.

“This is really good news for Cape Town and its tourism businesses – these awards are great marketing opportunities as they assist in promoting our destination globally and keep the Mother City top of mind among potential travellers.

“I would also like to take this opportunity to congratulate all the winners in the Africa category, particularly those from our home town, Cape Town.”

International nominations

Cape Town scooped a nomination for World’s Leading Travel Destination and a nomination for World’s Leading Meetings & Conference Destination. Durban saw a nomination for World’s Leading Sports Tourism Destination 2013.

Johannesburg’s Saxon Hotel, Villas & Spa was nominated for World’s Leading Boutique Hotel; The Westin in Cape Town garnered nominee honours as a world’s leading conference hotel; Johannesburg received a nod as a leading business travel destination and Cape Town’s Mount Nelson Hotel was a World’s Leading Hotel nominee. Limpopo province’s Legend Lodges, Entabeni Private Reserve, received a nomination as a leading private game reserve.

Graham E. Cooke, president and founder, World Travel Awards said: “We are proud to have held these awards in Nairobi after recent events, to not only show support for the Kenya Tourism Board but Africa as a premier tourist destination that creates jobs and drives a significant part of each country’s GDP (gross domestic product).

“Africa is a very competitive region for our World Travel Awards, and these winners continue to serve as an example of the most luxurious and innovative brands with unique hospitality products and services. Tonight’s recipients strive to set the highest possible bar to raise the standards of excellence in travel and tourism and it has been an honour to hold our ceremony here in Kenya, regarded as one of the most beautiful countries in the world.”