CAPE TOWN

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OVERVIEW

The ‘Mother City’ has the second-most populous urban area in South Africa after Johannesburg. As the seat of the Parliament of South Africa, it is also the legislative capital of the country. Looking at Cape Town’s major industries, the agriculture and manufacturing sectors have declined more recently, whilst finance, business services, transport and logistics have grown, reflecting the growth in specialised services sectors of the local economy. Fishing, clothing and textiles, wood product manufacturing, electronics, furniture, hospitality, finance and business services are industries in which Cape Town’s economy has the largest ‘comparative advantage’. Cape Town has also recently enjoyed a booming real estate and construction market, with many people buying summer homes in the city or relocating there permanently. The CBD is under an extensive urban renewal programme, with numerous new buildings and renovations taking place under the guidance of the Cape Town Partnership. The most notable companies with headquarters in Cape Town are Woolworths, Pick n Pay, Foschini Group, MWEB, Mediclinic International, Naspers, Capitec, and Sanlam. The city is also an important centre for the African IT industry, with the highest number of successful IT companies in Africa.

BUSINESS TRAVEL NEWS

Without a doubt, the biggest story of 2017 was the drought gripping the Western Cape. Level five water restrictions were approved in September, which banned the use of municipal drinking-quality water for outside and non-essential purposes. In an effort to meet these restrictions, many hotels reduced water pressure, removed bath plugs and started recycling grey water. Legacy Hotels & Resorts even placed hourglass shower timers in all bathrooms of its Commodore and Ports Wood properties. Tsogo Sun installed aerators and flow restrictors on all taps, as well as low pressure shower heads in all bathrooms. Despite the drought, Cape Town’s popularity remains on the rise, if the increased number of f lights from international destinations is any indication. British Airways upped its daily Boeing 747-400 services to double-daily flights over the South African summer as well as added three Boeing 777-ER flights from Gatwick.

Air France served Cape Town throughout the 2017 summer season from Paris-Charles de Gaulle with three weekly flights operated by a 208-seater Airbus A330 and a 312-seater Boeing 777. It also added three more weekly flights in April and October. TAAG Angola Airlines increased its Luanda Cape Town service in October from three flights a week to a daily operation. Eurowings made its debut in South Africa, with the first flight touching down in Cape Town in November. It offers a weekly return flight to Germany. Austrian Airlines will offer two weekly f lights from Vienna in October 2018. Domestically, Airlink introduced a new route between Pietermaritzburg and Cape Town, and it also won the bid to operate flights to St Helena in July, which it announced it would do from Cape Town International Airport.

Arguably, the three biggest hotel stories of 2017 were the opening of the Silo Hotel, the Radisson Red, and Tsogo Sun’s dualbrand property in the Cape Town City Bowl. Opening early in 2017, the Silo Hotel is a luxury boutique hotel with just 28 rooms, built in the grain elevator portion of the historic grain silo complex occupying six floors above the Zeitz MOCAA (Museum of Contemporary Art Africa). The other two properties opened in the second half of the year, with the Radisson Red the first of this brand on the African continent. The Tsogo Sun project resulted in the opening of two economy hotels, the select service SunSquare Cape Town City Bowl with 202 bedrooms, and the StayEasy Cape Town City Bowl with 302 bedrooms.

AIRPORT

Cape Town International Airport is the second-busiest airport in South Africa and third-busiest in Africa. Located approximately 20 kilometres from the CBD, the airport has flights to South Africa’s main urban areas, along with direct f lights to several destinations in Africa, the Middle East, and Europe. The Middle East connections are provided by Emirates and Qatar Airways, whilst travellers can fly directly to Europe from Cape Town via the likes of Air France, KLM, Lufthansa, BA, and Turkish Airlines. If you need to travel into the rest of Africa, Ethiopian Airlines and Kenya Airways both have flights into Cape Town. Domestically, all the major players – both full service and low-cost – fly into and out of Cape Town.

In terms of lounges, Bidvest have Premier Lounges in both the domestic and international terminals. Entry to these lounges will cost you R234 ($17) for the domestic and R370 ($27) for the international lounge. SAA has lounges in both terminals, whilst there’s a SLOW lounge in domestic departures and BA and Emirates lounges in international departures. In terms of car rental, all the major South African brands are represented, and these options are conveniently located a short walk from the arrivals terminal building. Cape Town International was extensively expanded and renovated before the 2010 World Cup and in May 2015 Airports Company South Africa announced a further R7.7 billion ($565m) expansion for the airport. The expansion includes upgrades of the domestic and international terminals, with the project set to start construction at the end of 2018 and be completed by mid-2022.

HOTELS

As with all prominent business t ravel destinations, there are a host of hotels to choose from in Cape Town, regardless of whether you’re on a tight budget or can afford to splash out. There is a concentration of hotels at the V&A Waterfront, where the Silo Hotel and Carlson Rezidor’s Radisson Red have added to the selection. Rezidor also have a Radisson Blu at the Waterfront to go with further Radisson Blu properties in town and in Sea Point, and two Park Inn by Radissons, making it the dominant international player in the Cape Town market. That being said, Marriott does have 12 hotels in the greater Cape Town area, although four of those properties are located outside of the CBD and Waterfront. The only other international groups with a presence in Cape Town are Hilton with its Cape Town City Centre property and Best Western with its Cape Suites Hotel, a village-style hotel with a total of 61 studio one, two and three-bedroom suites. Another group with more than one property at the Waterfront is Legacy Hotels & Resorts, which operates the Commodore and PortsWood hotels in close proximity to one another. Speaking of the Waterfront, you’ll also find Kerzner International’s opulent One&Only, the Cape Grace and Sun International’s Table Bay Hotel – a member of the group’s Sunlux Collection and a hotel that has maintained high standards over its nearly 20 years of existence.

A short drive away is Preferred Hotels & Resorts’ Cape Royale property in the suburb of Green Point, and a bit further down in Bantry Bay is the President Hotel, a well-known and respected Cape Town hotel, offering both rooms and apartments, and with a good history. If you’re looking for a great location close to Cape Town International Convention Centre, then look no further than the fivestar Westin, situated adjacent to CTICC. A short walk from there you’ll find Tsogo Sun’s Southern Sun The Cullinan, and the group has six other properties in Cape Town, along with the dual-branded property on the corner of Bree, Buitengracht and Strand streets in the CBD. Another local group with a big presence is City Lodge, with three City Lodges (threestar), one Town Lodge (two-star), and two Road Lodges (one-star) in the broader Cape Town region. Aha Hotels & Lodges has just the one property in Cape Town, in the form of the Harbour Bridge Hotel & Suites, which has a convenient location just minutes from CTICC. If you’re in the five-star market, it’s worth mentioning the Cape Grace and the Mount Nelson, which are iconic Cape Town properties. There are a number of quality hotels in the Cape Town CBD, including the Pepperclub Hotel & Spa and the Taj Cape Town.

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