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Monday Jun 25, 2012

City 'has what it takes to attract world tourists'

Cape Town is emerging as a particularly popular destination for tourists from Germany and the Netherlands, with visitor numbers from Germany increasing by 9.3 percent last year, and those from the Netherlands up 4.3 percent year-on-year from January 2011 to the same month this year.

In addition, a local independent study has found that for South Africans planning their 2012 holidays, Cape Town is the most popular destination.

Germany and the Netherlands, according to Cape Town Tourism chief executive Mariette du Toit- Helmbold, are extremely important and lucrative markets for the city.

"We will continue to work with our industry partners, as well as trade and media from that region, to further strengthen these tourism ties," Du Toit-Helmbold said, pointing out that they hosted a group of 100 top German travel agents last week.

Germany is the world's fourth strongest economy, and also boasts the most stable European economy.

This year 1.2 million Dutch residents are expected to travel internationally.

Tourism MEC Alan Winde welcomed the news of the increases, which he said were testament to the great work being done by the provincial government, its tourism destination marketing agency Wesgro, Cape Town Tourism, and other roleplayers "ensuring that our city is an attractive place to visit for tourists from around the world".

According to Barbara Zieme, Cape Town Tourism's representative in Germany, German travellers are attracted to the city's natural beauty, wildlife and culture.

Meanwhile, an independent study by TomTom, the world's leading provider of location and navigation solutions, found that restaurants and beaches played a major role in where South Africans chose to holiday.

The survey found that more South Africans were planning a holiday in 2012 than last year, with most choosing to take their annual leave in December.

Cape Town was the most popular destination.

But the number one holiday attraction overall was "sun and beaches", followed by "relaxation", then "nature".

Half of all the SA respondents also said they'd choose a tropical island holiday over a safari, mountain resort or cruise.

The survey revealed 50 percent of South Africans preferred warm, coastal conditions.

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition)

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