Cape Town tourism businesses are expecting ‘a marginally better business window (sic) for season 2011/2012′, says one of the most badly worded media releases ever received from Cape Town Tourism, the City’s tourism marketing body.

The media release received yesterday is riddled with errors, making it difficult to understand – in short, it appears that a poll was ‘tallied’ (sic) amongst Cape Town Tourism members last week, which led to the following conclusions:

*   ‘a promising (sic) 57% of accommodation providers are expecting to have a better or much better remainder of the 2011/2012 summer season, when compared to 2010′. It is unclear how Cape Town Tourism defines the summer season, its CEO Mariette du Toit-Helmbold having been confused about the exact definition of the summer season in Cape Town earlier this year.

*   bookings are ‘last minute’

*   tourism spend is lagging its growth (but this apparent contradiction is not explained)

*   the accommodation sector ‘anticipated‘ (sic) the ‘Global Financial Crisis’, ‘with only 18,9% saying that the impact was more than they expected’, in contrast to 54,5 % of tour operators, amongst whom ‘the impact was more than expected’. What was expected is not clear from the release.

*   half the tour operators polled have had a better year

*   ‘the hard work poured (sic) into developing new markets in the emerging economies’ (one assumes they are referring to BRICS countries, not all ‘emerging’ any more), is not yet paying off, Cape Town Tourism admits

*    ‘Traditional key source markets such as the UK, Germany and the Netherlands are still dominating the visitor scene’ – every tourism business will laugh at this statement, experiencing first hand that the UK tourist market has fallen away almost completely!

*   accommodation occupancy does not reflect domestic arrivals, which means that locals are staying with friends and family.

*  tourists are price sensitive, and should not be lured by lower rates, but rather should be offered ‘great value’, advises Mrs Helmbold

*    …visitors are using online tools like Tripadvisor to plot (sic) their stay’!

*   Given Cape Town’s number one Tripadvisor destination status, ‘Cape Town already has a place in the sun, but we need to make sure we maintain our level of exposure and favour’ (sic)!

*   Accolades such as World Design Capital 2014 and ‘New Natural 7 Wonders of the World’ – actually called New7Wonders of Nature – give Cape Town greater appeal.

*   ‘We may not see our global brand position translate into visitors this year, but the attention we sought in 2010 is being sustained and capitalised on during 2011’, Cape Town Tourism admitting that the marketing of the city in the World Cup year of 2010 will not have borne fruit in 2011, one must assume, but the sentence is contradictory.

*   Cape Town’s tourism industry and the city economy need a boost in 2012, admits ‘MAYCO member for Tourism Events (sic) and Marketing’ Grant Pascoe. On Linked In Pascoe’s title is ‘Mayoral Committee Member : Social Development and Special Projects’ for the City, while on Twitter his ‘Bio’ says he is the ‘Executive Mayoral Committee Member for Tourism, Events and Marketing’. Given that Pascoe holds the Cape Town Tourism purse strings, one would have thought that the tourism body would get his title correct.

One wonders what the Cape Town Tourism PR and Communication Manager was smoking and/or drinking when writing this shockingly poor media release, how it could have been approved by her bosses, and how its PR company Rabbit in a Hat Communications could have been happy to distribute it!  It is riddled with factual and grammatical errors, and is an embarrassment to the city’s tourism marketing, which is funded by the City of Cape Town to the value of R40 million, coming from ratepayers’ monies!  Furthermore, Cape Town Tourism has a very poor grasp of market research in general, and in questionnaire design and research interpretation specifically, and therefore any results from its member polls should be evaluated with the greatest of care.  A link provided in the release, which is intended to allow one to see the results of the survey, goes to a Cape Town Partnership release, and not to the survey! Mrs Helmbold is on maternity leave for the next few months, but is quoted in the media release.

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