Cape Town may have just received another prestigious tourism award, being ranked the second best city to visit in the world by Lonely Planet, but the City of Cape Town would rather you forget about that and get down to business.
These were the thoughts of mayor Patricia de Lille, at the launch of Invest Cape Town in Green Point last week, where she spoke about disrupting traditional ways of thinking about Cape Town.
“Unfortunately, the success of this tourism image has often overshadowed our diverse economic offerings and our enormous strengths in certain key sectors. This is a great pity because Cape Town is not only a beautiful face, it has enormous substance and a variety of attributes that makes it an extremely attractive investment destination,” said Ms De Lille.
She said an overarching business narrative was needed, one promoting the region’s unique characteristics and which all stakeholders could buy into and take to the rest of the world.
She said she wanted people in Mitchell’s Plain, Bonteheuwel and Khayelitsha to realise that by attracting more investment the City would be able to create more jobs.
“We are also pushing to be the green hub in Africa, and we have made great strides in that. We believe that cities are the drivers of change and economic growth.”
The City’s director of trade and investment Lance Greyling said the initiative would promote Cape Town as a “globally competitive business destination” to “attract more investment and grow this economy”.
CEO of Investment firm Wesgro Tim Harris told the Atlantic Sun it was their job to sell Cape Town to investors, help Cape Town companies grow their markets and promote Cape Town as a tourism destination. “Underpinning all of those is this idea of connectivity. The more we are connected to the rest of Africa and the world, the more we can drive business here “
He said it was important to create a new narrative that Cape Town wasn’t just a laid-back tourist destination but also a place to do business.
A big part of that was showing what was already happening in Cape Town.
Cape Town, said Mr Harris, was home to the biggest retailers, asset managers and food companies.
“We need to keep reminding people of that and that there is a lot more to Cape Town than just being a leading tourist destination.
“You’ve got a huge population across the rest of the continent that is rapidly becoming wealthier and looking to buy more products. We need to help our companies access those opportunities.”
Traditionally, too many Cape Town companies had focused on domestic markets only not seeing potential on the rest of the continent.