Cape Town set to celebrate World Tourism Day

Monday September 27 is World Tourism Day – a day earmarked by the United Nations each year to raise awareness and celebrate the benefits of tourism. This year’s theme focuses on the importance of biodiversity and sustainable practices in tourism.

Tourism has an important role to play in achieving the triple bottom line of economic productivity, social wellbeing and environmental sustainability, as it is an adaptable sector that can add value to local communities. South Africa serves as an international example of how tourism can be profitable and sustainable; the sector provides local communities with employment and skills, and contributes to conservation efforts in the country.

Biodiversity – the variety of life around us, from the largest animal and smallest plant to the whole of humankind – is particularly important in Cape Town, a city rich in fauna and flora.

“If a natural asset can be given value, it is more likely to be seen as sustainable,” says Cape Town Tourism CEO Mariëtte du Toit-Helmbold. “Cape Town’s natural biodiversity is highly valuable as a tourism asset. It is our task to ensure that growth in tourism does not come at the expense of this heritage. Future generations must be taught to prize the natural world around us as a thing of significant value.”

Cape Town Tourism’s response to the 2010 “Tourism and Biodiversity” theme is a project that encourages Capetonians to remember why our city is so loved by tourists. The My Cape Town campaign encompasses competitions, specials, giveaways and events throughout the month of September. It is run in partnership with the city’s biggest attractions, including Table Mountain Aerial Cableway, City Sightseeing, the Two Oceans Aquarium and Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden.

My Cape Town overlaps with Iziko Heritage Week, which runs from September 20 to 26, and Creative Week Cape Town, both of which explore Cape Town’s cultural and social heritage.

The highlight of the My Cape Town campaign is My Cape Town Weekend, which runs from September 24 to 27 and wraps up the city’s World Tourism month celebrations.

“Every Capetonian needs to assist in implementing sustainable practices to extend the life of our beautiful Mother City,” says Du Toit-Helmbold. “With [Cape Town Tourism’s] My Cape Town campaign, we are saying, ‘Experience your city, be mindful of our natural environment and make a point of understanding your neighbouring cultures.’

“Stay in town this long weekend, feel deservedly proud of the enormous natural and cultural wealth right here on our doorstep and help us protect our biodiversity into the future.”

You can help conserve biodiversity by:

  • Reducing your waste
  • Reusing materials
  • Recycling (especially your household waste)
  • Using fewer chemicals
  • Saving water – make sure your taps don’t leak; turn the tap off while brushing your teeth and doing dishes; shower rather than bath
  • Switching off appliances that are not in use
  • Using energy saving globes
  • Using public transport and bicycles
  • Learning more, getting involved with or making donations towards conservation projects

For more on conservation and tourism, visit:

  • City of Cape Town ( and
  • Cape Town Green Map (
  • Fair Trade in Tourism South Africa (
  • Greenpop (
  • South African National Biodiversity Institute (
  • Wildlife and Environment Society of South Africa (
  • World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) SA (
  • Shark Spotters (

For more information on what is happening on My Cape Town Weekend, visit

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