If you’ve ever stared down from the top of Table Mountain, gazed up from V&A Dock, or just taken a stroll along the golden shores of Camps Bay Beach, you could be forgiven for not being able to overlook Cape Town on a visit South Africa.
But with SA’s most famous city currently experiencing low water supplies, and with a wealth of other experiences on offer in the nation, South African Tourism (SAT) is encouraging visitors to experience beyond Cape Town.
According to SAT CEO Sisa Ntshona, not only would a greater dispersal of visitation enrich travellers’ holidays, but it would promote more sustainable travel within the country.
“We have nine provinces. Historically. If you look at trade, they’ve already sold South Africa as three destinations: there’s Cape Town, the Garden Route and safari. Boom … get out, and that’s a problem in itself,” Mr Ntshona told Traveltalk at Africa’s Travel Indaba in Durban.
“So whilst it worked initially, you have an issue now whereby the rest of the country does not come into the fold.
“What we are trying to do … is that how do you shine the light on other destinations?”
Despite its iconic status, the SAT boss is aware of Cape Town’s foibles, which could motivate travellers to look further afield for their next experience.
“Cape Town also has the potential to become a one-hit wonder. Once you’ve taken yourself to Table Mountain, going there the second time, the third time doesn’t quite do it. But it’s a bucket list item,” he said.
“So now, what do we introduce to you for the second time, third time? It’s like an onion, peeling off a layer. Getting more intimate with the country basically.”
Mr Ntshona also pointed to accommodation concerns in Cape Town to argue for greater dispersal of tourism.
“Cape Town at its peak – how do you find accommodation?” he said. “Or you can find it, but it’s so expensive that none of us can afford it, because it’s a supply and demand issue.
“It can create a problem, even like Barcelona for example, where the locals rebel against the tourists.”
Among the destinations the SAT boss highlighted were balmy Durban and the Northern Cape desert. There are countless others, not least of which are the nation’s world-renowned safari experiences.
As for Mr Ntshona’s personal favourite SA experience: he enjoys a nice road trip. There are plenty of those around here too.
Traveltalk was a guest of SAT. While in Durban, the writer stayed at the Southern Sun Elangeni.