CAPE Town has beaten the other shortlisted finalists, Dublin (Ireland) and Bilbao (Spain), in being awarded the title of World Design Capital 2014 at the International Design Alliance (IDA) Congress.
South African Tourism Australasia country manager Lalie Ngozi said Cape Town's status as World Design Capital 2014 is a major boost for South Africa's credentials as a major international lifestyle destination and a big boost for the country's tourism industry.
"This is wonderful news for Cape Town and our country's entire tourism industry and South African Tourism congratulates everyone involved with the Mother City's successful World Design Capital 2014 bid," Ms Ngozi said.
The prestigious World Design Capital award is made every other year by the International Council of Societies of Industrial Design (ICSID) to a city that is dedicated to using design for social, cultural and economic development.
The Mother City is the first African city to be given the honour, joining former World Design Capitals Torino, Italy (2008), Seoul, South Korea (2010) and Helsinki, Finland (2012).
"Australians know all about our country's qualities as a leading adventure and wildlife destination, but through our involvement this year with events such as Design Indaba in Cape Town, the Cape Town International Jazz Festival, the Joy of Jazz and Macufe Festivals, the Joburg Art Fair, the Joburg, Cape Town and Africa Fashion Weeks and the Designing South Africa project, we have made a concerted attempt with our cities and provinces to position South Africa as a major international lifestyle destination.
"Cape Town specifically already has a world-renowned reputation as an amazing city to visit amongst Australian travellers, not only because of its acclaimed natural beauty, but because it is home to creative, inspired people who are building an innovative future," Ms Ngozi said.
Previous award winners have seen increased visitor numbers following their awarding of the title, with Torino reporting higher visitor numbers in their title year than in the year the city hosted the Winter Olympics in 2006.
"From our consumer research we know that travellers want to engage with South Africa's design, art, fashion and music offering when they visit our country and we're responding to that demand. This award gives us all a considerable boost and even more compelling reasons to entice visitors to our exciting destination," Ms Ngozi said.
The World Design Capital title is awarded well in advance, allowing winning cities sufficient time to plan, develop and promote a year-long programme of World Design Capital-themed events for their designated year and also the opportunity of two years of pre-publicity to showcase its design and creativity.
Cape Town officials are looking to use the title to celebrate the role design has played in taking a previously divided city and transforming it into a more integrated one and to address the issues of growing urbanisation.