Cape Town has signed a sister city agreement with Izmir in Turkey, one of the country’s busiest port cities after Istanbul and highly rated for its contribution to exports from the prêt-à-porter (ready-to-wear) industry.
The new collaboration was confirmed by James Vos,City of Cape Town Mayoral Committee member for Economic Growth, and comes in the wake of Turkish Airlines commencing Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner flights to Cape Town.
As the first African city to receive the luxury aircraft, the potential for significant belly cargo trade between the Western Cape and Turkey subsequently resulted in a high-level visit to the transcontinental country.
Apart from talks about cargo possibilities and passenger travel with the airline’s vice president for Sales for Africa, Hikmet Mesut, delegates from Cape Town Invest and Cape Town Tourism also discussed business proposals with the Izmir Chamber of Commerce.
Representatives from the chamber included the director of Urban Economy and Innovative Industries, Ceren Umay, and the director of International Events and Tourism, Uǧur Sülün.
“We also met with our Honorary Consul of South Africa in the city, Tamer Taşkin,” said Vos, whose fellow visitors from South Africa included Theuns Vivian, the City of Cape Town’s head of Destination Development and Place Marketing; Enver Duminy, Cape Town Tourism CEO; and Brett Hendricks, Cape Town Tourism Chairperson.
Taşkin made sure that the delegates from the Western Cape were introduced to several businesses looking to invest in Cape Town, Vos said.
Not far behind Istanbul, Izmir is one of the country’s most important ports for Turkey’s apparel industry, its fourth-largest export commodity after cars, machinery and precious metals.
Clothing and textile outflows, though, have posted very strong figures so far this year, more so than the three leading commodities.
For the first five months of the year, reports the Turkish news site Daily Sabah, ready-to-wear items worth $8.8 billion were exported, much of it through the Aegean Sea port.
Daily Sabah writes: “According to (…) data of the Turkish Exporters Assembly (TIM), Turkey's exports increased by 15.2% in May compared with the same month of the previous year and amounted to $19 billion.
“It was the highest May export figure achieved in the country’s history.”