Despite South Africa’s domestic problems, of which there are many, the Telegraph Travel Awards has voted and ranked South Africa as the ”Greatest Country On Earth”, while Cape Town has been ranked ”The Greatest City on Earth” for travelers.
This will come as a bit of a shock for New Zealanders, as it’s the first time in a decade that New Zealand is not named greatest country on Earth, by the Telegraph Travel Awards.
New Zealand is in the second spot, while Maldives takes third spot.
The paper’s editors say New Zealand’s drop may be attributed to the country being “exiled” from the rest of the world during the Covid-19 pandemic, and they may reclaim the top spot next year, as the country opens back up to the rest of the world.
For the Top 10 Cities, Cape Town even trounced Venice (in second place), and Seville, Spain which takes the third spot.
Almost 30 000 readers took part in the latest edition of the Travel Awards, which was interrupted for three years due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
South Africa had finished fifth in the last poll in 2019 but jumped to first now thanks in part to its accessibility from the UK.
The organisers of the Telegraph Travel Awards wrote about South Africa (and Cape Town):
“You can fly to two South African cities (Johannesburg, Cape Town) directly from the UK, and arrive free of jet-lag due to a near-identical time-zone.
“Your reward for 12 hours in the air is a place of true beauty – Cape Town a supermodel at the foot of Table Mountain, the Garden Route a ribbon of road-trip nirvana, the wineries of Franschhoek and Stellenbosch crafting fine vintages, the landscape thrilling to the peaks and troughs of the Drakensberg range and Motlatse Canyon, Kruger National Park a roaring wildlife zone.”
Telegraph Travel Awards – Top 10 Countries:
Telegraph Travel Awards – Top 10 Cities:
Rio de Janeiro
Cape Town has become more accessible, not only to UK tourists, but also to the Americas, with the recent launch of direct flights between the regions.
Tourism in Cape Town also recovered to pre-pandemic levels a lot earlier than expected.
Comparing the December 2019 festive period to the December 2022 festive period, Cape Town International Airport (CTIA) recorded a 72% increase in domestic visitors and a 98% increase in international visitors.
Enver Duminy, CEO of Cape Town Tourism, says the city’s official destination marketing and destination management organisation (DMO) is delighted with the accolade.
“We have worked tirelessly to share our city’s incredible wealth of attractions with the world. We know we live in the greatest city on Earth and it’s hugely exciting to have others recognise this as well. We are certain that this award will further bolster our tourism sector, which has seen strong recovery post the pandemic. We look forward to welcoming more people to our shores. The world’s most wonderful city is waiting for you.”