Jo'burg inner city gems highlighted at JCTA launch
Johannesburg is a diverse, dynamic and energetic city with vast potential to grow urban tourism like other major cities such as London and New York - Isaac Chalambira, JTCA acting chairman and Reef Hotels CEO.
The Johannesburg City Tourism Association (JCTA) chose Braamfontein’s exclusive rooftop bar and lounge, Randlords, for its launch.
With its magnificent 360-degree views of the Johannesburg skyline, it was the perfect venue to showcase the beauty and possibilities that Johannesburg inner city areas offer.
The association’s primary objective is to bring tourists back to downtown Johannesburg to experience its many and varied attractions, and promote hospitality and travel in the inner city and surrounding areas.
The JCTA was launched after a group of tourism role players in the hospitality, transport, retail and travel agency sectors in the Johannesburg CBD and Braamfontein saw a gap for a collaborative body to represent those involved in tourism in the inner city areas.
These areas have seen much infrastructure investment in the last 10 years from both the public sector and private sector entrepreneurs.
The result has been creative urban regeneration, which is much in evidence throughout the city. This urban regeneration stretches from The Maboneng Precinct at the End Street side of town, right up to Newtown and Braamfontein, home to the University of the Witwatersrand.
Braamfontein has always been a popular student enclave. Now with its regeneration droves of people from Johannesburg’s affluent northern suburbs are flocking there to enjoy the food, art, culture and nightlife. Out-of-towners and tourists are enjoying fine hospitality in funky hotels that also service the business events industry.
A similar thing has happened in Newtown and The Manboneng Precinct, with its Main Street Life and Arts on Main attractions. The popular 12 Decades Johannesburg Art Hotel in Maboneng, where each of the hotel rooms is artfully themed around 1 of 12 decades of Johannesburg history, reflects an urban trend in South Africa that combines hotel and residential living in one property.
Jo’burgers and visitors can in all likelihood look forward to more inner city attractions as entrepreneurs take advantage of the busloads of tourists the City Sightseeing Johannesburg hop on-hop off bus is expected to bring to the inner city when it launches in January 2013.
Isaac Chalambira, CEO of Reef Hotels and acting chairman of the JTCA, said Johannesburg is a diverse, dynamic and energetic city with vast potential to grow urban tourism like other major cities such as London and New York.
‘The formation of JCTA will provide a platform to strengthen and form partnerships and relationships among members. It is a platform through which the industry can share information, challenges and solutions for the greater benefit of the city. It offers the opportunity to put collaborative effort into what we, the role players, have to offer local and international visitors,’ he said.
He cited an example of the collaborative effort that took place around the recent Standard Bank Joy of Jazz Festival when hotels and event organisers in the city put together ‘Joy of Jazz’ packages for visitors.
The association is presently being run by an ‘action team’, that has registered the company and drafted a constitution. The team has invited various sectors to sign up as founder members. These include associations and agencies; destination management companies; education; business and politics; hotels and hospitality; precincts and security; and travel, tours and walking tours.
The JTCA plans to hold an AGM in the coming weeks where it will elect a new committee that will ratify the constitution.
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