Cape Town • putting its best foot forward ....
Cape Town, already the destination travellers have uppermost in their minds when thinking about visiting South Africa • thanks to its more laid back atmosphere, attractions such as Table Mountain and the Victoria & Albert waterfront.
Cape Town International airport is the second largest airport in the Airports Company of South Africa network of ten airports, after Johannesburgs OR Tambo International
. However in terms of tourism, it comes first, and has been a consistent performer when it comes to service when ranked internationally.
In recent years, more than R1.5 billion has been spent on upgrading the Central Terminal Building (CTB) that will link the domestic and international terminals, and which now has an expansive area with common check-in facilities. The departures level of the Central Terminal opened in November 2009, with the entire building finished in March 2010.
But don’t get your hopes up when it comes to shopping. While Cape Town International is one of three big international airports in the country, the retail offer is fairly basic in terms of number of outlets and the breadth of the offer. There are of course large duty-free shops operated under the Big Five Duty Free fascia that offer the usual array of product categories: jewellery, tobacco, liquor, toys, and clothing. Cosmetics and fragrances from Chanel, Lancôme, Aramis, Givenchy and Dior to name just a few are all available. More interesting, for regular international travellers will be the range of award-winning South African wines that are present, and foods that are ready packed as gifts.
The duty-free mall, which is the main shopping area for passengers at the airport on the upper level contains few recognisable international retailer brands • Sunglass Hut is one • but it has a very strong collections of stores dedicated to local African souvenirs, apparel, art and curios. Among these are Africa Eco, Out of Africa and Indaba Curios (indaba is widely used to describe a gathering and derives from the Zulu language).
Even on the general fashion and clothing front stores such as I’m Crazy ‘bout Cape Town and Cape Union Mart’s Due South are geared towards typically touristy products. For the sweet-toothed among you, try Cosmic Candy or for the more serious foodie there is the Cape Farm Stall. For the World Cup influx, expect some new retail offers that will include the full gamut of football memorabilia although, at the time of writing, there was no specific news of what kind of temporary stores the airport intends.
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Cape Town Airport Factfile
Passenger traffic 2008/9: 7.8m
Main international airlines: South African Airways, 1Time, Air Namibia, British Aiways, KLM, Malaysian Airlines, South African Express, Virgin Atlantic
Location: 20km east of Cape Town