From TZ Business News Contributor Rusana Philander, Cape Town.
The Nelson Mandela legacy is the reason why the tourism sector has shown significant growth annually in the Western Cape province of South Africa.
This is according to Alan Winde, the Western Cape Minister of Economic Opportunities. He made the remarks when he spoke at the unveiling of new tapestry in honour of Nelson Mandela at Cape Town International Airport. The sector grew by 7,7% during the past 12 months in the province.
“When arriving in Cape Town visitors will receive a true iconic welcome by the tapestry. The legacy of Madiba is our biggest asset,” the minister said.
Cape Town is located close to Robben Island where the racist South African government of the past had incarcerated Mandela for most of his productive life.
“Tourism is a key growth sector. Our economy has only seen growth of 6,7% over the past five years but tourism has grown to 7,7%,” he said. The sector has also shown excellent job creation over the past five years.
“It is an important economic sector and we are also seeing strong investment from the private sector into tourism,” he added. One investor, the V&A Waterfront is committing $10,650,464 (R179 million) into the development of a dedicated cruise-liner terminal.
“Other investments include the expansion of the Cape Town International Convention Centre, while Tsogo Sun have planned a $40,459,864 (R680 million) hotel in the Central Business District.
“The Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa is also one of our new exciting attractions,” Winde said.
The tapestry, entitled ‘Flying Madiba’ , is designed by the acclaimed Czech artist Peter Sis and woven by Atelier Pinton from France. It was done in a partnership between Art for Amnesty and the Cape Town International Airport and funded by the Amnesty International artist supporters Bono & The Edge of U2, John Legend, Peter Gabriel, Sting and Yoko Ono.
Bill Shipsey, founder of Art for Amnesty, said: “This tapestry is a fitting tribute to Nelson Mandela, a champion of human rights across the world. It will provide a constant reminder to the millions of people passing through the Cape Town International airport about his legacy, not only for South Africa but for the world.”