* London has been named as the most visited tourist city by the MasterCard Global Destinations Cities Index, estimated to receive 19 million tourists this year. Bangkok follows in second place, with Paris, Istanbul, and Dubai making up the top five most visited cities.
* The Department of Tourism has been allocated a budget of R 1,8 billion for the next financial year. The target for international tourist arrivals is 12 million by 2018. Just under R1 billion will go to SA Tourism. Minister of Tourism Derek Hanekom announced the appointment of a review panel to evaluate the work of SA Tourism, led by former Tourism Minister Valli Moosa.
* The South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry Business Confidence Index dropped to a 16 year low in May 2015, reaching 87, reflecting reduced motor vehicle and retail sales, reduced exports, electricity outages, and the Rand exchange rate.
* The Ambassador Hotel in Bantry Bay has been sold, and will close its doors in November, its new owner having an alternative use for the property.
* Wesgro is organising a workshop later this month, which tourism and film industry as well as business representatives can attend about the new tourism visa and Immigration regulations. Wesgro CEO Tim Harris said: ‘There is a need for the private and public sectors to work together to iron out the issues around the current visa regulations. We welcome the open door approach of the Department of Home Affairs and believe that this workshop could prove to be an important step in the right direction’. To attend the workshop, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. (received via media release from Wesgro)
* The SA Young Wine Show challenge is open for entry for 2015 wines, its SA Young Wine Awards having been hosted since 1833. Wines can be entered in seventeen classes, a trophy to be won in each of the classes. Entries close on 24 June. More than 2000 entries are received annually. Winners will be announced on 21 August. (received via media release from Marlene Truter Communications)