The Gautrain is an accelerator that powers South Africa’s economic heartland – the province of Gauteng – to higher levels, increasing its attractiveness to residents and business tourists alike.
Gauteng contains several important economic nodes, from entertainment, government, mining, world class retail and manufacturing, to banking and finance. As a result, it attracts ambitious and skilled people from around South Africa, the rest of Africa and the world, providing all the elements necessary to create a whole that is more than the sum of its parts.
Until recently, the missing element has been an adhesive to pull all these nodes together by providing rapid and reliable transit between them. This is where Gautrain has come in, offering a solution to this gap in the market. Great regions like Gauteng only truly fulfil their potential when the skilled people on whose shoulders they are built can move around easily and make the business and social connections that generate the intellectual energy of new ideas and create a buzz. Now, an integrated transport plan that sees the province’s roads, buses, taxis and rail networks as an integrated whole, will provide just the sort of nervous system that will turn the province’s nodes into a whole, sparking new ways of doing things, and even of living.
A key element of Gauteng’s transport nervous system is the Gautrain, which provides the spine linking the Johannesburg and Tshwane central business districts with Johannesburg and O.R. Tambo International Airport, the gateway to the rest of South Africa and the world. One might say that the vision of the Gautrain is to provide fast and reliable connections between these major business nodes to the benefit of all users.
Business tourists from all over visit Gauteng for many reasons: to buy and sell goods, to attend conferences and attend meetings with current and prospective business partners. For this group, the ability to get safely and rapidly from Johannesburg’s main airport to where they will be staying, and thereafter to business and entertainment locations is vital. Providing foreigners with the means to move around quickly, easily and safely is a hallmark of all major economic centres, from London and New York to Kuala Lumpur and Tokyo. Most tourists—both business and leisure—would prefer to get around urban areas using sophisticated and reliable public transport such as the Gautrain, rather than having to deal with the expense and stress of driving themselves.
The Gautrain, which connects the major economic and commercial hubs of Gauteng with each other and Johannesburg’s main airport, meets most of the transport needs of tourists, particularly business tourists. And because each station is itself the nexus of a web of local transport options, including the Gautrain buses, taxis and metrorail, most of the areas likely to be visited by business tourists are covered.
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