City Sightseeing, the brand that operates the iconic open-top red double decker buses on six continents and in over 100 cities in the world, was officially welcomed to Johannesburg at a launch event which took place at Gold Reef City on Thursday, 7 February 2013.
The event, which was attended by dignitaries from Gauteng Provincial Government and the City of Johannesburg as well as key tourism stakeholders from the private sector, officially marked the start of the City Sightseeing tours in Johannesburg - an exciting development that offers locals and tourists alike the chance to explore the city, visiting the many attractions on offer and sampling the cultural melting pot that is Jozi.
The tour runs along a fascinating route through the Johannesburg CBD that stops at Gandhi Square, the Roof of Africa at the Carlton Centre, the James Hall Transport Museum, the Apartheid Museum and Gold Reef City, the Mining District, the World of Beer, the Carlton Centre, Santarama Miniland, Newtown Precinct, the Origins Centre, Wits Campus, Braamfontein and Constitution Hill.
How the City Sightseeing tour works
As with all City Sightseeing tours, Joburg operates on the world renowned and hugely popular Hop-On, Hop-Off basis, which allows sightseers the chance to get off the bus at any of the designated stops along the route and then get back on to a later bus at their leisure - guaranteeing frequent, safe and reliable transport that is cost effective, informative and fun for the entire family.
Buses run on a rotational basis, stopping at all of the designated points along the route regularly, and City Sightseeing highly recommends starting your tour either at the Gautrain Station at Park Statuib (Bus Stop 1) or at Gold Reef City (Bus Stop 6) - although one can join the tour at any of the stops along the route. Tickets can be purchased from the City Sightseeing Tour Office inside Gold Reef City; online at www.citysightseeing.co.za or on the bus using a credit card.
"The City Sightseeing tour will change people's perceptions of the inner city of Johannesburg into a tourism friendly zone and thereby continue to grow the tourism footprint and associated spend of tourists to the benefit of local businesses," says Claus Tworeck, CEO of City Sightseeing South Africa. "There are twelve stops along the route and the service will run between 9am and 5.30pm seven days a week. The commentary on the buses, in multiple languages, will tell the story of Johannesburg through the many historic buildings, landmarks and attractions along the route."
Global brand endorses Johannesburg
Enrique Ybarra, president and CEO of City Sightseeing Worldwide, said: "City Sightseeing Worldwide is the number one open top bus operator globally. Our tours are tried and tested and provide a recognised safe, reliable, informative, cost effective and fun way to see the city and to easily visit key attractions. The introduction of the City Sightseeing tours to Cape Town over the past years has demonstrated the value of this service for primarily the domestic market and the potential that the product has to contribute to inner city regeneration. Tours will initially be introduced to the Johannesburg CBD with the intention of expanding the service to Sandton and later Tshwane and possibly other parts of the province."
External stakeholders that have played a role in the successful launch of the City Sightseeing Johannesburg tours include the Gauteng Tourism Authority, City of Johannesburg, the Johannesburg Tourism Company, the Joburg Development Agency, Joburg Roads Agency, JMPD, the Johannesburg Inner City Tourism Association and Tsogo Sun.
A meeting of like-minded parties
"I salute the excellent cooperation between the City Sightseeing, Gauteng Tourism and the City of Joburg which has allowed this new, top-quality tourist service to be introduced in our province," said Nkosiphendule Kolisile, MEC for Economic Development and Tourism. "It will assist greatly in making the CBD a more tourist friendly zone and will contribute to unlocking the tourism potential of Gauteng by connecting visitors and residents to remarkable experiences and world class tourism attractions".
"It is indeed a pleasure to mark the launch of Joburg's long-awaited Red Hop On Hop Off Bus - an exciting tourist attraction which is set to add enormous value to our city, as it will serve to showcase it to locals and visitors alike," said MMC Ruby Mathang, from the City of Johannesburg.
"It has been our vision for many years to ensure that the south of Johannesburg takes its rightful place as a tourist and leisure destination with many diverse attractions," says Rob Collins, chief marketing officer of Tsogo Sun.
"When we met with City Sightseeing to consider bringing their successful Cape Town model to Johannesburg, it proved to be a meeting of minds as discussions were already underway with Gauteng Tourism. We are delighted that the iconic Gold Reef City is one of the two starting points on the route, as it offers safe and secure parking to tourists. We are extremely excited about the potential for the Hop-On-Hop-Off Bus to stimulate domestic tourism."
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