South Africa’s marketing campaigns to overseas tourists should place more emphasis on the differing attractions of its three main cities – Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban – rather than mainly on its wildlife, says Cape Town Tourism chief executive Mariette du Toit-Helmbold.

“Successful cities of the future will be stand-out urban centres seen as the most liveable and enjoyable places on the planet, delivering benefits to residents and visitors alike. For many people, to escape does not always mean a wilderness experience but rather to explore new and different cultures,” she said yesterday.

“With national tourism marketing still focusing predominantly on wildlife and natural beauty as the central theme, cities receive very little exposure in international campaigns.

“The World Cup (last year) provided a different perspective on South Africa, showcasing our cities, their growing infrastructure, their people and vibrant cultures.”

However, little has been done at national level to capitalise on this marketing legacy since the World Cup.

A joint marketing alliance between Cape Town, Johannesburg and Durban launched this year will focus on urban tourism and lobby for a more representative marketing exposure of urban South Africa. – Audrey D’Angelo