Message from the CEO


Cape Town Tourism CEO Mariëtte du Toit-Helmbold. Photo courtesy Tara Turkington

We pulled it off – and how!

Cape Town Tourism was always confident that our city and our citizens would show the world what an outstanding destination and people we are, yet the overwhelming success of that welcome and the positive international coverage surpassed even our most optimistic expectations. The goodwill that was unlocked as a result of the 2010 FIFA World Cup™ cannot be measured in monetary terms.

There was so much scepticism and negative reporting locally and globally in the run-up to the World Cup, focusing on whether we’d be ready and whether it would be safe to come here – but we pulled it off and showed them! We pulled off spectacular games in stadiums filled to capacity with no major incidents of crime reported, proving our harshest critics wrong.

How did we do it? Throughout all our planning, from 2004, the time of the announcement that South Africa was to host the event, to the time the final whistle blew in 2010, teamwork was key. We pulled together, as an organisation, a city and a country, truly proving that “everything is possible”. The experience united us, inspired us, and gave us confidence, hope and a renewed sense of national and civic pride – proof that we are more than our problems.

So, where to from here? Many a mega event host destination has endured a post-event depression, but so often that was based on the fact that the destination disappointed visitors by offering less than they expected. In our case, the opposite is true. The international media found it hard to remain objective as they were carried along on a rowdy but good-spirited wave of colour, vibrancy and warmth. Our efficiency, safety and all-round positive attitude caught the attention of the world and many a jaded journalist and downright pessimist was forced to revise their views.

We believe that this FIFA World Cup™ represented the greatest marketing success story we have ever had, and that it has also been an essential and long-overdue turning point in the world’s perception of Africa.

And when it comes to the Mother City, we do believe that Cape Town is one of the greatest cities to live, visit, study and invest in. It’s a place of a lifetime, and it just keeps on getting better. We’re looking forward to marketing Cape Town beyond the 2010 FIFA World Cup™ and we’re committed to working with all stakeholders in order to double the economic impact of tourism for the city by 2020.

World Cup visitors and the international media have consistently commented on the warmth and welcoming nature of the people of Cape Town. We discovered that we will always be more than ready to welcome the world, in true Mother City style, and that our welcome is like no other.

Mariëtte du Toit-Helmbold