May 26th, 2010
04:23 PM GMT
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Beefcake’s restaurant in Cape Town is the kind of place where pink feather boas and waiters wearing bunny ears are more than welcome. The burger bar is a gay-friendly eating spot that also welcomes straight people. It’s situated in the heart of the city, which is regarded as the gay capital of Africa.

Over the past eighteen months, the city’s gay tourists have helped buffer the effects of the global economic downturn, says Mariette du Toit Hembold, the CEO of Cape Town Tourism.

She told us on a recent trip to Cape Town that the gay travelers are a "market that travels and is recession proof. The gay market travels regardless of world circumstances; it’s a high yield traveler.  The spend per visitor is extremely good. Also, it is a traveler that is not as seasonal as other visitors are."

So while the ‘gay scene’ isn’t as big as it is in Sydney or San Francisco, some in the Cape Town hospitality industry do cater for an exclusive gay clientele. For example, the Glen hotel in Seapoint is a gay-only hotel and the owners are building extra rooms because business has been so good.

Also, during the summer, thousands of gay partygoers dress up in outrageous costumes for the Mother City Queer Project, which is regarded as THE party of the year by many in the gay community.

The property industry has also benefited from wealthy gay visitors – mostly from Europe – who buy second homes in sunny South Africa.

In some areas like De Waterkant, almost 50 to 60 percent of the residential properties are owned by foreign gay men, says estate agent Petrick Fourie of Leapfrog Properties.

One of his clients is Andy Mattar, a British man who has lived in South Africa for eight years. He is trying to sell his De Waterkant house for $1.1 million and is acutely aware that he and his partner have far more disposable income than straight families.  No school fees or other family commitments to worry about, he says.

Cape Town is already a prime destination for wealthy gay men from Britain, Germany and the Netherlands. Now Cape Town tourism is trying to get more gay people from elsewhere in the world to visit South Africa. This is important for the local economy because tourism is down 43 percent from last year, says Mariette du Toit Hembold.

So ‘pink pounds’ or ‘pink dollars’ are welcomed by the hospitality industry, which is still facing some tough times as the global travel industry still struggles with the effects of the economic meltdown.

soundoff (49 Responses)
  1. SoWhat

    It's a round peg in a round hole. Designed so any moron can do it. Why does it get so much media attention?

    May 27, 2010 at 7:21 am |
  2. rvsaradhi

    useless stuff

    May 27, 2010 at 7:21 am |
  3. rvsaradhi

    please note that we should not encourge thistype of natural discrction
    ways.Why god has created femal?another typeof human
    we should think rationally and publish stories
    all wrong stuff

    May 27, 2010 at 7:23 am |
  4. Joshua

    Homosexuality is a perversion. they don't love, they lust....and there's a big difference between love and lust. think about it, the human body isn't designed for homosexual activity. homosexuality is a defect, but there is hope if they are seriouly looking for a way out.

    May 27, 2010 at 8:01 am |
  5. CHI

    i think this gay whole thing though will rise income to the south African tourism sector isnt really good to be encouraged.

    May 27, 2010 at 8:49 am |
  6. Sam

    Wao!!! Pray God they won't bring more AIDS to the already dying Africa.
    They used fire-weapons during slavery and colonisation, now they are going to use their disease as a biological weapon to destroy Africa. Africa may tolerate gays but please don't travel from Europe to bring your diseases. There is already a lot of disease Africa is fighting with.

    May 27, 2010 at 9:04 am |
  7. Tom

    Great African Yemens Now Its Going Great Except Racist Souls AND Foul African Green Gurus Over Their Streets

    May 27, 2010 at 9:07 am |
  8. S

    Why is this news? There are gay people in South Africa. So what? I'm gay and I find this article pointless.

    May 27, 2010 at 10:01 am |
  9. Ivan

    I read the article "Pink Rand" and feel disgust. I don't need the CEO of Tourism of Cape Town to justify my sexuality by calculating the number of dollars I may spend in her town as a tourist. "Gay tourists are okay because they spend a lot of money". What happens if I go to Cape Town on a shoestring budget? Do I get stoned?? The way your article was written and the quotes from the CEO of Tourism, in my opinion, is despicable. It is just as condescending as GM or Ford motor company in the U.S. "targeting" gay men or lesbian woman with advertising. I realize that businesses are becoming more flexible because they are losing tons of money. But is all of this FAKE SUPPORT suppose to make me feel good as a person?

    May 27, 2010 at 10:59 am |
  10. akteddy

    OK while we are busy celebtrating the "gay Capital of Africa" we should not ignore the seroius problem european gays men are causing in poor african countires. Many european men and men from other rich countries, go to poor countries and engage in prostitution.They get prostitutes, for a whole night for just a few cents....and this is becoimming extremely rampant in poverty stricken africa. Particularly clostet gay men are going to Africa and asking poor hungry african men (most of whom are straight) to have sexual intercourse...seeing the amount of money they can earn with this, makes them subdue.THey inform other friends who inform further.Notice how many poor africans are ready to risk death every year to get to europe , crossing desserts and seas.So don´t be surprised that poor straight african men do indeed act as prostitues for gay european tourists. MOst of them are so ashamed of their job that their self confidence takes a fatal hit. Most stay in the gay world and actually eventually identify as gays. THis phenominon has been registered over and over in africa.....yes indeed, MONEY CA`N BUY YOU ANYTHING, EVEN A MALE PROSTUTITE,

    May 27, 2010 at 11:00 am |
  11. dsdsds

    obviously there is nothing wrong in being gay but ,being pround and brag about it .................

    May 27, 2010 at 11:45 am |
  12. bee tukur

    why do we always want to justify our action with a simple lie,how can aman wake up one day ,and say he has sexual feels to a fellow man,and says it is natural occurance.

    May 27, 2010 at 3:02 pm |
  13. issabela

    i really think that homosexual people should be respected by the society. the society should stop perceiving being gay as a stigma since everyone is unique and chooses to live according to the way they want.

    May 27, 2010 at 3:16 pm |
  14. ken

    1 Corinthians 6:9-10 (NIV): "Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters, nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God."

    Leviticus 18:22 (KJV): "Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind it is abomination."

    In the Old Testament the penalty for this sin was severe. Leviticus 20:13: "If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them."

    May 27, 2010 at 3:30 pm |
  15. chad turin

    I just threw up in my mouth.

    May 27, 2010 at 4:55 pm |
  16. KKKK


    i live at the north of africa.. THANK GOD

    May 27, 2010 at 5:36 pm |
  17. Prince POSA

    This is not Africa, this is South Africa and South Africa is a country not a continent. Just like United State of America is a country in North America. If you guys in the west don't want to learn the difference between Africa and countries in Africa, it is time we start to teach you. The visa that allows you to enter South Africa will not give you entry to Zimbabwe, nor to Kenya.

    By the way, the guys in the picture on your article include a white man and a brown skinned man. Did you realize that the brown skinned guy refused to show his face? Does that tell you anything? Civilization has not gotten to that extent in African countries, because we still cherish some values and norms.
    Thank you.

    May 27, 2010 at 6:21 pm |
  18. Stephen2Jam

    It great to see that some countries are liberated enough to know that "being gay" does not stop one from coming into the country and spending like a "so called regular tourist".
    I lift my hat off to Cape Town – they have the foresight to try and help boost their failing economy in this economic crisis.

    May 27, 2010 at 7:06 pm |
  19. Paulo Castro

    Ever been to Brazil?

    May 27, 2010 at 10:12 pm |
  20. Timo

    let's hear it fo the Gays...
    Gays with money
    Gays spending their money in vacation hot spots
    Gays having more fun than straight people...
    i see lots of bigoted comments here today
    and all I can say is:


    May 27, 2010 at 11:41 pm |
  21. Tom

    You guys have no right to say anything about homosexual people until you homosexuality lies within your genome. You are obviously uneducated and uncomfortable with the unknown. I'm straight, and have been all my life. In fact I'm only 19 years old and I still have the sense to say this. Grow up and get a life.

    May 27, 2010 at 11:43 pm |
  22. MarkmBha

    This article IS useless!! Why? Because it's on C.N.N.!

    May 28, 2010 at 12:43 am |
  23. steve

    You know what they say about the secret desires of homophobic men? From a hetero guy, God bless all those in love – anyone.

    May 28, 2010 at 2:18 am |
  24. Mario

    Tom I second your statement. I am 29 years old and have tried gay activities couple of times with very close friends of mine. It is .. I would say ,, it is different a different experience. Nevertheless, South Africa should think of a different strategy to boost the country economy,because this will not be a long term strategy. If everyone turn to gay what will happen to the straight society, beautiful women in South Africa ? :)

    May 28, 2010 at 3:04 am |
  25. Rosita

    Income is good, however, please look into the health problems related to this business. No comment for being a gay, we can choose the way we enjoy our life.

    May 28, 2010 at 4:45 am |
  26. Tom

    Homosexuality lies in your genome? I really doubt that; do fetishes lie in the genome? Is there a different 'gene' for every sexual preference?

    May 28, 2010 at 4:50 am |

    “And (We sent) Lut when he said to his people: What! do you commit an indecency which any one in the world has not done before you? Most surely you come to males in lust besides females; nay you are an extravagant people. And the answer of his people was no other than that they said: Turn them out of your town, surely they are a people who seek to purify (themselves). So We delivered him and his followers, except his wife; she was of those who remained behind. And We rained upon them a rain; consider then what was the end of the guilty.”[7:80–84 (Translated by Shakir)]

    May 28, 2010 at 6:06 am |

    “And as for those who are guilty of an indecency from among your women, call to witnesses against them four (witnesses) from among you; then if they bear witness confine them to the houses until death takes them away or Allah opens some way for them. And as for the two who are guilty of indecency from among your [men], give them both a punishment; then if they repent and amend, turn aside from them; surely Allah is oft-returning (to mercy), the Merciful.”[4:15–16 (Translated by Shakir)]

    May 28, 2010 at 6:08 am |

    Verses From Qur'an:

    026.165-166 "Of all the creatures in the world, will ye approach males, And leave those whom Allah has created for you to be your mates? Nay, ye are a people transgressing (all limits)!"

    027.055 Would ye really approach men in your lusts rather than women? Nay, ye are a people (grossly) ignorant!

    029.028-29 And (remember) Lut: behold, he said to his people: "Ye do commit lewdness, such as no people in Creation (ever) committed before you. Do ye indeed approach men, and cut off the highway?- and practise wickedness (even) in your councils?" But his people gave no answer but this: they said: "Bring us the Wrath of God if thou tellest the truth."

    May 28, 2010 at 6:14 am |

    The story of prophet Lot, on whom be peace, finds mention in several Qur'anic passages, especially Chapter 26:160-175 which reads: "The people of Lut rejected the apostles. Behold, their brother Lut said to them: "Will ye not fear (God)? "I am to you an apostle worthy of all trust. "So fear God and obey me. "No reward do I ask of you for it: my reward is only from the lord of the Worlds. "Of all the creatures in the world, will ye approach males, "And leave those whom God has created for you to be your mates? Nay, ye are a people transgressing (all limits)!" They said: "If thou desist not, O Lut! thou wilt assuredly be cast out!" He said: "I do detest your doings." "O my Lord! deliver me and my family from such things as they do!" So We delivered him and his family,- all Except an old woman who lingered behind. But the rest We destroyed utterly. We rained down on them a shower (of brimstone): and evil was the shower on those who were admonished (but heeded not)! Verily in this is a Sign: but most of them do not believe. And verily thy Lord is He, the Exalted in Might Most Merciful."

    May 28, 2010 at 6:19 am |
  31. RG ball supplier

    an old american indian saying: don't judge a man until you have worn his mocassins.

    May 28, 2010 at 8:12 am |
  32. Grant

    Thanks Robyn and team for a positive story which I have no doubt will benefit the whole Cape Town Tourism Industry! G. (P.S – Im quite suprised by some of the other comments, with religous reference etc, perhaps there is another story there, if you want to play that old record again! )

    May 28, 2010 at 10:46 am |
  33. Kobus

    First off, this is a -poorly written- article about how a city is finding a niche and countering a recession, not about homosexuality and the morality thereof, but since everyone is having their two cents;

    I am a South-African gay man and am very proud of my country, my constitution and the equality it brings. It shocks me how other backward and borderline shithole countries in Africa can jail, humiliate and even try to put to death people with a different sexual orientation than themselves.

    For the non-african commentators in the peanut gallery; copying and pasting verses from the Bible or Qur’an every time you see the word gay is extremely offensive and frankly quite tiresome, as I don't even own a Bible and know Leviticus off by heart. Despite, I am still gay and loving it!

    May 28, 2010 at 8:41 pm |
  34. Sam

    Beautiful ladies God has created to be loved and to be our Girlfriend and Wife, what are you going to tell them when you just love a male. You missed the pleasure you pretend you are having as all that is great , all that makes sense is the moment with the opposite sex.
    Gays, i respect your attitude as i firmly believe scientists will find a remedy to the condition.
    For the time being thank God I love a woman.

    May 30, 2010 at 5:39 am |
  35. Francois

    I am sick and tired of these british and american people making a mock of our country, South Africa. I think its time we go to their country and start making a mock of them. Just Get a life americans and britans and look at your own countries problems!! You no better than any one else on this planet!

    May 31, 2010 at 12:10 pm |
  36. T

    Some people are gay, get over it.

    This talk of disease, prostitution, DNA and the referencing of religious texts are oppositional and have zero relationship to the article. Come on people – don't be scared of something you couldn't be bothered learning about.
    As for the Article: Beefcakes is the best restaurant in Cape Town!

    May 31, 2010 at 7:31 pm |
  37. mani

    Get over yourselves! This is an article about the money gay people contribute to Cape Town's economy for heaven's sake. The number of small minded homophobes is staggering – throwing up in to your mouth Chad?(!) – for the love of God you really are a bit dramatic. And speaking of God, I should think He is probably a little more preoccupied by the number of people murdering innocent women and children in His name than by their sexual orientations. So give it up and accept people for who they are. I agree with Timo – let's hear it for the gays! (And I'm a straight woman).

    June 1, 2010 at 12:25 pm |
  38. Chrys Thorsen

    Beefcakes is the best restaurant in town? Gotta check it out...

    June 1, 2010 at 4:30 pm |
  39. James

    In regards too the subject of "homosexuality" that some of you have vibrantly expressed your views upon, I can't believe half of you actually believe the ignorant babble that comes across your feeble and sorely uneducated minds.

    Please stop using "God" as an excuse for your ignorance.

    June 1, 2010 at 10:15 pm |
  40. Daniel

    Joshua, If God Didn't design the body for homosexual activity then He shouldn't have given us exclusive same-sex attractions. I think haters are so jealous because we can actually love, bond and commit in ways that they can't or won't. xxxxxx

    June 2, 2010 at 4:47 am |
  41. Elei

    @Tom; thank God you stood up to those homophobes...

    I have a lot of gay friends and I know for a fact that it is not a lifestyle choice. Most of the gay people I know find it hard to come out of the closet for the simplest reson of being rejected by society.

    There is a huge difference between chosing to be gay and BEING GAY. It is unfair to judge the entire gay community just becase pervert people choose to try a biosexual lifestyle and experiment on homosexuality.

    Remember being gay is not a sin nor a crime; its what you do with it.

    June 3, 2010 at 8:20 am |
  42. James

    Why do homophobes always seem to have sticks up their arses?

    June 7, 2010 at 9:52 am |
  43. bendover....

    This article is spot on....

    Commerce is over-look the purchasing power of the gay community and as I'm from Cape Town and Gay, I take my hat off to a city with brains.... you best watch this space, CPT will become as big a gay commune as SFO and SYD. So to all the straights if you don't like it don't go, I would also like to point out that bible bashing hasn't really helped much has it, so why waste your so called precious time in lecturing people when you know as much as I do that they won't listen...

    Being Gay is not my fetish, it is who I am and it defines me as a person. I have and always will be more attracted to men than women.

    Ta ta now, I'm off on holiday to Langkawi and will soon say "I do" to my loving, caring and sexy Man of the last three years.

    June 7, 2010 at 10:42 am |
  44. Bob

    Wow, the religious bigots are out in force today! Too bad you rely on your bibles for your information. Being gay doesn't seem like a choice to me and if it isn't, what does that say about you AND your religion? BTW, I'm straight. The only hatred I have is towards bigots.

    June 8, 2010 at 4:41 pm |
  45. Pieter

    It funny how any article on economics turns into a place for vitriol and opinions on the role and validity of homosexuality.

    FYI- Don't give a toss about the religious text you fling. Its just a weak crutch so you don't have to think and develop your own mind and actually experience the world.

    Grown up. And be thankful that the S Africans have this cash stream.

    Oh, and the the forced sex for cash thing, applies to straight and gay individuals alike. Its terrible and no one should do it.

    June 8, 2010 at 7:11 pm |
  46. Don

    CNN, if you are supposed to be moderating these comments, i would say you need to take a look at all the hate speech on this comment stream.

    June 14, 2010 at 8:42 pm |
  47. James from WV

    Straights lust just the same as gays so that is a weak argument against homosexuality. The only reason homosexuality is frowned upon is religion, which tells us from day one that homosexuality is a sin. Well, so is pre-marital sex, adultry, drinking, smoking, and what i hear is big in Africa: Rape and murder. Homosexuality is the least of the world's problems...get a life and worry about something real for once instead of worrying yourself sick over what john and harry are doing holding hands.

    June 20, 2010 at 11:51 pm |
  48. Ann

    Yeah, it's been a trend in some chick-lit books to have a character who is Trying To Conceive (this acltualy has its own acronym) and we're treated to every detail. Of course there has to be a happy ending and that happy ending should not involve either (a) adoption or (b) sod it, might well be for the best, at least there'll be no getting up nights or broken life for the next eighteen years.The happy ending is underdone in short fiction but sometimes overdone in novels like this. And you're right, it's not the full story. Thanks for a very illuminating comment as always

    May 17, 2012 at 7:02 am |

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