* ‘People love our country and continue to visit South Africa‘, said President Jacob Zuma in his State of the Nation Address at the opening of Parliament last night. He set our country’s tourism target at 15 million visitors per year by 2017, with a revenue of R125 billion generated.
* TripAdvisor is testing amongst a sample of American hotels a new Question and Answer service on listed property pages, so that guests can request further information before they book, including for example questions such as the cost of a mini-bar, availability of tickets to attractions at reception, opening times of the pool, etc. Other travelers and the property can answer the questions. Hotels in the same town are not allowed to answer about another hotel in the discussion forums.
* Much admired and liked Eat Out Top 10 Chef Jackie Cameron from Hartford House is leaving the KwaZulu-Natal hotel at the end of July, to open Jackie Cameron’s School of Food and Wine in Hilton in January next year.
* The successful inaugural 2013 ‘Chefs Who Share‘ will be repeated this year, and will be held in the City Hall on 11 September. The black-tie gala dinner will be prepared by 14 top local chefs and seven international chefs, assisted by seven sommeliers, and organised by Opulent Living again, with sponsorship from Mercedes-Benz and Swiss International. Tickets cost R3000, and the proceeds go to charities. Last year the event raised R1,2 million. (received via media release from Opulent Living)
* Platypus Productions is South Africa’s leading food television production company, its director Ian Chuter being in demand by loyal clients McDonalds, Woolworths, Royco Africa, and Snowflake.
* Franschhoek Vignerons are showcasing their best red wine on Saturday 21 June, from 12h00 – 17h00, at the Franschhoek Motor Museum at L’Ormarins. Snacks will be prepared by chefs at Anthonij Rupert Wines and Terra Del Capo. The 25 wineries participating are Anthonij Rupert Wines, Akkerdal, Bellingham Wines, Black Elephant Vintners, Boekenhoutskloof, Boschendal, Cape Chamonix, Dieu Donne Vineyards, Eikehof, Four Paws Wines, Franschhoek Cellar, Glenwood, Grande Provence, Haute Cabriere, Holden Manz, La Bri, La Chataigne, La Couronne, La Motte, La Petite Vigne, Lynx Wines, Leopard’s Leap Family Vineyards, Rickety Bridge Winery, Rupert & Rothschild Vigneron, and Solms-Delta. Tickets at R180 include a glass, all tastings, and entrance to the Motor Museum, from www.webtickets.co.za
Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com Twitter: @WhaleCottage