Cape Town has been named number one favourite city in Africa and the Middle East for the 17th year by Travel + Leisure’s 2018 reader’s poll.

In Travel + Leisure’s 2018 reader’s poll, Cape Town has been named number one favourite city in Africa and the Middle East for the 17th year.

The eminent global travel publication cited a favourable exchange rate, the opening of the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa, its world-class hotels and the fact that it’s a regional hub for business and leisure travel among the reasons for the city’s ongoing success.

Cape Town’s tourism offering is well known, but the city’s tourism officials are particularly thrilled about this year’s achievement, given the region’s challenges with a water shortage during the period:

“We’ve maintained an “open for business” approach throughout our efforts in driving sustainable tourism, and this accolade reveals that this strategy has worked; we remain an unparalleled destination on the continent, and one whose multiple initiatives in saving water has ensured that we can continue to attract visitors. We’re honoured that so many travellers remain confident in our ability to offer fantastic attractions and experiences.” – Cape Town Tourism CEO, Enver Duminy

The water shortages as experienced in Cape Town and other parts of the country have certainly placed us at the forefront of leading the drive towards sustainable and responsible tourism in a meaningful way. Through the country’s #WaterWiseTourism drive in action, Travel + Leisure readers have given a stamp of approval that South Africa remains very much open for tourism, with responsible tourism practices becoming entrenched as the “new normal”.

South Africa has become a benchmark for how world-class cities respond to future climate threats associated with water, and is taking responsibility to share their learnings and encourage others around the world to help adapt.

The city’s efforts in reducing water usage include bringing alternative water supplies on board, as well as locals reducing household water use. In the tourism sector, hotels and the big attractions have rolled out varied strategies that reduce water usage while minimising the impact on visitor experience.

It was recently announced that these efforts, coupled with healthy winter rainfall, have contributed to a great recovery in the water crisis, although residents visitors are encouraged to carry on, in the same way, to ensure that this recovery can be completed.