Cape Town could become hub of Southern Hemisphere wine industry, says Tourism Minister Alan Winde!

It was appropriate for Western Cape Minister of Finance, Economic Development, and Tourism Alan Winde to speak to the Cape Town Press Club about Tourism yesterday, and to announce that his department is working on a plan to establish Cape Town as a hub for the Southern Hemisphere wine industry, in creating a platform for the wines of Chile, Argentina, New Zealand, South Africa, and Australia, given that it was the opening day of CapeWine 2012, probably one of the most significant wine-related tourism events ever held in Cape Town.

Speaking at a Cape Town Press Club lunch at 6 Spin Street yesterday, Minister Winde highlighted that events are an important driver of tourism in the Western Cape, and he highlighted how important wine tourism is for our province, it being a unique tourism product for the Western Cape.  The CapeWine 2012 and Vindaba exhibitions are therefore vital in focusing attention on our highly regarded wine industry, and in attracting local visitors to the Cape.  The Minister related that 41 % of the Western Cape tourists are locals, of which close to 90% are from other parts of the Western Cape, and only 10% are from Gauteng. The Minister would like to see the domestic tourism proportion increase to 50%, to make the Western Cape less susceptible to the impact of the international economy, the effect of the international recession having been felt since 2008.

The Minister welcomed the delegates attending CapeWine 2012 to Cape Town, and invited the public to visit Vindaba on World Tourism Day on Thursday. He said: “Wine tourism in the Western Cape generates income in excess of R5 billion per annum and creates thousands of jobs. We will continue to support the sector to ensure that it grows even bigger and employs even more people. It is also important that liquor and wine traders in our Province operate responsibly. We want traders that are successful and consumers that are healthy”.

Minister Winde also announced a number of other tourism related initiatives he and his department are working on:

*   direct flights between Cape Town and Miami, feeding into the USA as well as South America.

*  a Tourism Business School, to raise the ‘level of competence’ of tourism staff

*  the reduction of the abuse of liquor by implementing stricter rules for the restaurant industry and liquor trade

*   spend more money on tourism marketing, and less on computers in tourism bureaus. He emphasised the importance of spending marketing monies in attracting more of the Gauteng market to the Cape.

*   ensure that SAA has enough capacity to bring more Gauteng tourists to Cape Town – over the past long weekend the flights between Johannesburg and Cape Town were fully booked, which kept potential tourists away from the Western Cape.  He will also address the feedback received from the important wine media, wine trade, sommeliers, and wine lovers attending CapeWine 2012, the German contingent having been on a SAA flight with unfriendly staff, poor food, and very poor wines, the latter running out in Economy class within two hours of the commencement of the flight. The water on board had run out the next morning.  The connecting flight to Cape Town from Johannesburg was missed due to the simultaneous arrival of a number of flights, causing congestion at Passport Control and the baggage retrieval, which meant a three hour (unscheduled) wait at OR Thambo airport.   Minister Winde emphasised that Brand South Africa commences when tourists get onto the plane to South Africa, and not when they set foot in our country or province.  A shock statistic is that there are 36 flights between Cape Town and Johannesburg daily, the 9th busiest route in the world!  It is also equivalent to the number of flights between the USA and Africa.

*   the legislation to allow the incorporation of the previous Cape Town Routes Unlimited into Wesgro is being written

*   Cape Agulhas is being upgraded, with the addition of new benches, the renovation of the lighthouse, and the addition of new signage on the N2.

*  the Outeniqua Choo Tjoe is a cause for concern, and the Minister has received representation from the three Mayors of the towns on the route, as well as a petition with 6000 signatures, calling for the reinstatement of this historic rail route.

*   in the Cape events are vital, and the Minister mentioned the success of the Loeries which had been held in Cape Town over the long weekend, the annual Design Indaba, the Design Capital 2014, the effect of the planned doubling of the Convention Centre which could attract a conference with 16000 delegates being bid for currently, the International Jazz Festival, The Pick ‘n Pay Cape Argus Cycle Tour, the Wacky Wine Weekend, and the ABSA Epic Cycle Tour.  Ravi Naidoo has achieved such a good international reputation for his work on Design Indaba, that he has been invited to set up Design Shanghai, the Minister shared.

Overall, the Minister wants to see the contribution of Tourism to the economy of the Western Cape increase from the current 10% to 15%.  The success of CapeWine 2012, and its large international contingent attending this prestigious event, must be a sign to the Minister and the local wine and tourism industry what value there is in investing in the marketing of our province’s liquid gold, and its Wine Routes linked to it!

Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio:  www.whalecottage.com Twitter: @WhaleCottage

14 replies on “Cape Town could become hub of Southern Hemisphere wine industry, says Tourism Minister Alan Winde!”

  1. Maria says:

    Are you actually fooled by Alan Winde, Chris? All talk and no action. What has his tourism arm achieved in the last year? Talk talk talk. Alan Winde is very good at talk but Wesgro hasn’t done one bit of marketing since April. Tourism marketing is in desperate need of an overhaul with Mariette #Mommytweet Helmbold, Nils #ILoveMyself Flaatten and Alan #HotAir Winde.

  2. Thank you for your point of view Maria.

    Alan Winde is the most down-on-the-ground provincial Minister of Tourism which we have had in the Western Cape in the past 20 years. I love his open door policy, his lack of pomp, and his use of Social Media. His department is providing seed monies to kick-start projects with tourism and employment benefits. He also heads up the anti-Red Tape initiative.

    I am equally critical of Wesgro, and its non-performance and non-communication to our industry. In 6 months they have not achieved anything at all. Despite begging on numerous occasions, there has been no media release from Wesgro’s PR company. I don’t understand that the legislature to incorporate Cape Town Routes Unlimited into Wesgro was not changed prior to the merger. Six months later it still hasn’t been done.

    As for Mariette #VisitIstanbulratherthanCapeTown du Toit-Helmbold – what a massive fail, to be cavorting in Turkey during Tourism month, rather than negotiating with SAA to get more flights to Cape Town over the past long weekend, and getting more tourists to Cape Town in what could become our worst ever summer season. Minister Winde agreed that going to Turkey to sell Cape Town was ridiculous – they should have been invited to Cape Town to experience our city and the rest of the province!

    I also don’t understand how Tourism Ministers Winde and Van Schalkwyk want more domestic tourists, but then Wesgro CEO Nils Flaatten proudly Tweets his holiday pics from Spain and Greece! Surely they should set an example and go on Proudly South African holidays like the rest of us?

    Chris

  3. AW keeps talking of plans for this and that but we see no details and no action. Last month it was plans to turn False Bay into a Copacabana lookalike (horrors, has he no creativity to come up with something more suited and original?) but nothing has been heard again (and questions about how much involvement from local communities we can expect have gone unanswered, of course.)

    Now it’s this grand new plan. Perhaps Mr Winde should talk less and do more. Tweeting about his various activities and retweeting MommyHelmbold isn’t exactly going to bring in the tourists or create anything new or improve anything.

    For starters, all the tourism bodies of the Western Cape should be merged into one – that’s how to save money and use resources fully, not these disjointed operations working independently.

  4. Merci Francoise for your input.

    Minister Winde shared the False Bay plans with the Cape Town Press Club members yesterday, but there was no new information shared relative to its first announcement more than a month ago.

    I like your suggestion about the merger, but politics is a dreadful thing, even if politically the City and province are both DA led! The City would not want to let go of its power over Cape Town Tourism, and all of a sudden all Cape Town Tourism media releases (e.g. two today) are quoting Councillor Grant Pascoe, and Mrs #LoveIstanbul Helmbold is playing a secondary role, if any at all, in the media communication, a most odd development!

    The poor summer season we are about to encounter, coupled with the poorest winter ever experienced by the tourism industry, is proof that both Cape Town Tourism and Wesgro have done nothing at all for our industry, not even the Tweet-Ups making themselves felt.

    Chris

  5. Maria says:

    Are you going to Cape Town Tourism’s AGM Chris? Maybe this will be the platforn where we can ask serious questions of accountibility of #LoveIstanbul Helmbold and her cronies.

  6. Maya says:

    When is CT Tourism AGM?

  7. It’s on 18 October Maya.

    Chris

  8. I’ve been thinking about this and it’s actually got me more than just a little bit riled.

    Winde has absolutely no influence on SAA, and never will have, so how on earth can he even begin to suggest “working on direct flights between Cape Town and Miami”? I mean, really!!

    And “implementing stricter rules for the restaurant industry and liquor trade.” – isn’t that happening already?

  9. Thank you for your input Francoise.

    When I told Minister Winde the story about the Cape Wine journalists’ disastorous fight from Frankfurt to Johannesburg, he asked me for the details, so that he could pass them on to Board Chairman Cheryl Carolus, with him he is connected, he said. As of today, of course, she is no longer around!

    His department is implementing the stricter liquor licence regulations, and he accompanies his officials on raids of bars on occasion.

    Chris

  10. Thanks Chris.

    The SAA aspect boils down to the same old issue with them: inconsistency. For every complainant there is a compliment. I’ve experienced the best and the worst, in both business an economy classes. It’s a question of proper training and efficient monitoring of staff which clearly doesn’t happen properly.

    I’ve just seen the news about SAA – shambolic, as always.

  11. The feedback from the German wine media is that the service and food was reasonable on the domestic flight to Cape Town, in contrast to the disaster experienced on the international flight, which supports your point about inconsistency Francoise.

    Chris

  12. Maria says:

    I am asking again – what has Alan Winde achieved as Minister of Tourism? Have we seen one extra tourist in the Cape region because of all these talks? I am not fooled by nice-ness and an open-door policy.

    I also see that #Mommytweet Helmbold is back to her old ways. For a week she bomboarded us with reasons to visit Istanbul and then she tried to cover it up with a pathetic little tweet up between her organisation and herself. I have never seen such a ridicilous thing in my life. 90% of tweets coming from her are about her children. Maybe she should resign and run a preschool.

  13. The provincial tourism department performance is at least no worse that that led by the ANC’s Lynne Brown in the past Maria.

    I am fascinated about the implications of the City of Cape Town having appointed an astute marketer, Rory Viljoen, previously handling international marketing for Distell, as well as local marketing for Coca Cola, now handling ‘Place Marketing’ for Cape Town, and reportuing to Anton Groenewald. He seems to be taking over the Cape Town Tourism marketing duties, as well as those for World Design Capital 2014.

    I don’t blame the City for taking control over Cape Town’s marketing, because the Cape Town Tourism focus on Tweeting about their children and partners is hardly going to bring tourists to Cape Town, nor is the flop ‘100 Women 100 Wines’ that they sponsored last year, and are running in November this year again. We have tourists in November already – we need them in winter!

    Chris

  14. PS Maria

    I agree that the Tweet Up on Tourism Day about ‘Responsible Tourism and Sustainability’ was a total flop. They set questions and then answered them, instead of interacting with us as Tweeters. Not one of my six Tweets on the subject, and directed at Mrs Helmbold, were answered. Why would a Tweet Up by Cape Town Tourism be done on Mrs Helmbold’s private Twitter account, the one that she #MommyTweets on as well, instead of on the Cape Town Tourism one? Absolutely bizarre and unprofessional.

    Chris

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