Johannesburg – The Gauteng City Region on Wednesday celebrated the global recognition of Maboneng neighbourhood as world-class, livable, and chic space that attracts local and international tourists.
Prestigious magazine Forbes International in July this year named Maboneng as one of the world’s coolest neigbourhoods, beating neighbourhoods parts in big global cities such as London, New York and Paris.
On Wednesday, Gauteng Tourism showcased the breath-taking developments that have made this neighbourhood a visitor hotspot and earned it accolades to journalists, social media influencers and tourism stakeholders.
Acting Gauteng Tourism Acting CEO Yoland Ruiters expressed pride and joy over the achievement. “This is no mean feat for a neighbourhood that until not-so-long ago was suffering urban decay and seen as a crime hotspot,” she said.
“It is even more impressive considering the calibre of alternatives Forbes International would have considered before including Maboneng in its list of top 12 coolest places in the world. The only other South African neighbourhood that made it is Kalk Bay in the Western Cape.”
Maboneng has received other global accolades in the past including New York-based magazine Travel and voting it in 2015 one of the world’s coolest attractions. It shared the honour with leading international attractions such as Shanghai Tower in Shanghai and Eiffel Towers in Paris.
Others too have noticed the phenomenal transformation of Maboneng and have held it up as a model for urban renewal. United Kingdom’s leading daily newspaper The Times and BBC Travel have given the neighbourhood extensive positive editorial coverage.
The allure of Gauteng is unrivalled in many ways and urges residents to play a bigger role in promoting it, Ms Ruiters says. “One way of doing this, would be by them becoming champion hosts.
“Research indicates a sizeable portion of arrivals in Gauteng are from visiting friends and relatives. We, therefore, need more and more of our residents visiting and being exposed to exciting spaces in the province such as Maboneng – it is only through familiarising themselves with the destination’s leisure offerings that they would become champion hosts and great Gauteng brand ambassadors.”
To encourage residents of the province to explore their own backyard, the destination is rolling the #GPSho’Left campaign, which kicked off with the Maboneng celebration, Ms Ruiters adds. The place, which denotes the “place of light” in Sesotho, offers an eclectic mix of experiences and attractions including restaurants, coffee shops, bookstores, clothing boutiques and art galleries.
Maboneng is part of the broader Johannesburg inner city that has over the year suffered urban decay and an upsurge of crime, making it a no-go area for many. The rejuvenation process began in 2008 when developer Jonathan Liebmann bought old, derelict industrial buildings and transformed them into a cultural oasis that is now a top attraction in the area, Arts On Main.