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Table Mountain marks 10 years since “New7Wonder” win.
In 2011, Table Mountain was named by more than 500 million voters globally as the latest of the “New7Wonders” of nature. The honorable award has played a key role in drawing scores of local and international tourists to Table Mountain, enabling the Table Mountain Aerial Cableway Company (TMACC) to grow in its ability to provide visitors with a world-class cableway experience. In that time, the cableway has seen significant upgrades in technology, transformation, and sustainability. This year, TMACC reflects on how the New7Wonder accolade has positioned Table Mountain as one of the top travel attractions globally and how this has impacted tourism in Cape Town and the Western Cape. Global recognition as an icon Since 2011, over nine million local and international tourists visited the top of Table Mountain. Over its 9 decade lifespan, some of the most noteworthy names who have traveled up the cableway include vocal artists Justin Bieber and Ne-Yo, rugby professional Siya Kolisi, Queen Elizabeth II, talk-show star Oprah Winfrey, and actors Arnold Schwarzenegger and Halle Berry. Table Mountain has also received global recognition as Africa’s Leading Tourist Attraction from the World Travel Awards for its third consecutive year. The mountain’s undeniable beauty and majestic, amphitheatrical effect over the Cape Town city bowl continues to attract scores of tourists locally and from across the globe. Picture perfect angles In 2013, TMACC placed seven large photo frames throughout Cape Town for unique photo opportunities for tourists to support the New7Wonders of Nature campaign. The frames were erected as part of the Table Mountain New7Wonders legacy project and were carefully placed to allow visitors to capture a moment with Table Mountain perfectly framed in the backdrop. As a direct link to New7Wonders, the seven frames also resemble tributes to the other seven wonders of nature across the globe. Enhanced visitor experience The implementation of lockdown measures in 2020 has led TMACC to implement innovative measures to enhance convenience for visitors. Using a cloud-based system, TMACC visitors can purchase tickets and store digitally on their mobile devices. These advancements allow for improved efficiency and flexibility when booking cableway services, allowing for less physical contact among visitors. The virtual booking platform also allows visitors to reschedule their trips when necessary. TMACC also introduced its Fast Track service in November, which allows visitors to skip the queue to a cable car on arrival. A commitment to empowerment In its latest Global Report of Women in Tourism, United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) found that 54 percent of the tourism workforce, globally, is female. As of June this year, TMACC’s staff complement consisted of 90 women out of 165 employees in total. “We are pleased to have played our part in improving the number of women, as well as people with disabilities, in the overall tourism workplace,” enthuses TMACC’s managing director, Wahida Parker. “But there is still much work to be done in creating employment and boosting community upliftment, as well as providing much-needed opportunities for this portion of the workforce to receive much-needed education and training.” Putting sustainable social and environmental practices into focus TMACC’s efforts at responsible tourism – incorporating the three pillars of environmental, social and economic responsibility – are designed to uphold its social responsibility by offering concession tickets to those in need. Through its Siyafundisa training and development programme, it also empowers employees to reach their full potential through skills development initiatives. In terms of environmental practices, TMACC has also been carbon neutral since 2016, and continues to reduce its water usage and energy consumption. “We are immeasurably proud and grateful to have an opportunity to safely and efficiently bring international and local tourists to the top of Table Mountain,” advises Parker. “For many, Table Mountain is a source of inspiration and a reminder that we must work together to preserve it. Through continuous development of our responsible tourism, environmental and social practices, our focus continues to consider how we can maintain Table Mountain’s status as a New7Wonder for the next decade.”