The 25th annual readers' choice awards were recently announced by Condé Nast, after close to 50 000 readers took part in the survey. Cape Town scored 84.8, and was only beaten by the popular southern US city of Charleston. The other cities in the top 10 included Florence, Bangkok, Vancouver, Sydney, Beirut, St Miguel de Allende, Buenos Aires and Gustavia.
Readers scored Cape Town 92.3 for ambience, 89.3 for lodging, 86.7 for culture and sites, 86.6 for friendliness, 86.0 for restaurants and 69.2 for shopping.
Meanwhile, Cape Town topped the list in Africa, followed by Knysna, also in the Western Cape, and Marrakech in Morocco.
Cape Town Tourism CEO, Mariëtte du Toit-Helmbold, said: "The quality of our tourism industry offerings and the intuitive staff within the sector is ultimately what makes these awards possible. If travellers weren’t going home happy they wouldn’t be voting for Cape Town. We commend the industry and the people that work so hard to help make visitors’ Cape Town experience so memorable.”
Last year, Cape Town was named top city in Africa and the Middle East in the survey. Executive Mayor, Alderman Patricia de Lille, recently spoke at the Cape Town tourism AGM, detailing how the city is looking at non-traditional tourism markets, such as the Asian, African and Pacific regions.
She said the tourism sector remains a vitally important contributor to economic growth, development and inclusion in Cape Town and the rest of the country, with estimations that by 2020 the contribution of tourism to the national economy will be R499 million and this growth will result in 225 000 new jobs being created.
"The challenge for Cape Town, both as a city administration and for our service providers, is to ensure that we constantly innovate and refresh our offering to the market, in order to capitalise on this growth. This is especially true due to the current climate of a global economic slowdown which is putting a strain on our traditional markets of Europe and North America. But apart from exploring non-traditional markets, we must also ensure that we broaden the value proposition of Cape Town as a destination by emphasising that we are not only a leisure destination, but also a business, events and academic destination of choice."