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It was announced today that Cape Town is the official World Design Capital for 2014, winning the accolade from competing shortlisted candidates Bilbao, Spain and Dublin, Ireland.

The World Design Capital title is awarded every two years by the International Council for Societies of Industrial Design (ICSID) to increase global awareness of cities dedicated to using design for social, economic and cultural development and change. The World Design Capital title is awarded two years in advance to allow the winning city sufficient time to plan, develop and promote a year-long programme of World Design Capital-themed events that throw an international spotlight on the winning city’s creative sector.

The win comes at an optimal time for Cape Town as the destination gears itself for more sustained economic growth and a more significant share of the world’s urban travellers.  Cape Town Tourism recently unveiled their new marketing strategy and global marketing campaign underpinned by the brand positioning of INSPIRATION and aligned with a broader economic vision for Cape Town. The strategy and campaign perfectly aligns with the intentions behind Cape Town’s World Design Capital 2014 bid. Forming part of a comprehensive marketing strategy for Cape Town aimed at growing the demand for the destination by speaking to a wider audience in new and established international and domestic markets, the strategy and campaign align with sectors beyond tourism and is to be launched globally at the World Travel Market in November.

Cape Town Tourism PR and Communications Manager, Skye Grove, is on the ground in Taipei. “The build-up to the announcement in Taipei was exhilarating. The Cape Town delegation met with the other two short-listed cities, Dublin and Bilbao, and agreed that the bid process and winner announcement was the start of a journey of collaboration between all three cities. Solid city relationships in design and tourism were formed and we will be taking these connections into the future. Cape Town also met with the World Design Capital 2012 Helsinki who agreed to share what they learned from their journey. Helsinki confirmed the significant influence the World Design Capital title has had on city branding and marketing – the spin-offs for their tourism sector have been significant. The World Design Capital organising body (ICSID) confirmed that it was an extremely close race with all three cities submitting high-quality bids. The Cape Town team is extremely excited and is looking forward to returning home to the amazing citizen support received in the build-up and while here in Taipei.”

Says CEO of Cape Town Tourism, Mariëtte du Toit-Helmbold, “We are obviously very excited about this achievement, by far Cape Town’s biggest accomplishment since successfully hosting the soccer World Cup and a major boost for morale in the design, public and private sectors. The bid process has been an exciting journey and learning curve for the city. It comes at a crucial time when Cape Town is set to launch an innovative, exciting and inclusive marketing campaign for the city, positioned to embrace citizens, tourism, creative sector, business and academia and grow the demand for Cape Town as a place to visit, invest, learn, live and work. Cape Town’s bid for the title of World Design Capital 2014 has showcased the important role design and the creative sector at large play in transforming a city, making it not just a great place to visit, but a greater place to live. The theme Live Design, Transform Life provides a solid platform from which we can continue to learn, change and further develop Cape Town using the concepts of integration, creativity and innovative design.

“The benefits for tourism are obvious and Cape Town Tourism looks forward to use the title of World Design Capital to grow demand for Cape Town.”

About World Design Capital

The bidding process for this prestigious title began in 2010 and was undertaken by the Cape Town Partnership as mandated by the City of Cape Town. On March 31, 2011 the official 465-page bid book was presented to the ICSID in Canada, with the theme, Live Design. Transform Life. On June 21, 2011 Cape Town made the shortlist of three cities in the running for the 2014 title and, in July, hosted two members of the ICSID selection committee, showcasing just some of the projects mentioned in the bid book.

The year 2014 will be a milestone in South Africa’s history as it marks 20 years of democracy in the country.The title of World Design Capital 2014 is an opportunity and platform to re-design a historically disconnected city as an inclusive, entrepreneurial and sustainable African city with one common vision for all sectors of business. Not only does the 465-page bid book set out a clear plan for the city’s layout and development, but winning the World Design Capital title is a win for the Mother City, South Africa and Africa.

Extracts from the Cape Town World Design Capital 2014 Bid Book are available on

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