* American wine economist Mike Veseth writes that South Africa has a large production of wine, and should therefore be better known in the USA, given that our country’s wine production is 10% less than that of Chile, and 4 times larger than that of New Zealand. Part of the reason is that Americans do not know about our country and where it is, and therefore he describes our wines as ‘the invisible wine’! Lack of awareness of our country plus the re-emergence of our country’s wines at the same that the New World countries launched their wines internationally made it more difficult for South African wines to be noticed in the USA. Initially, our wine exporters suffered logistical problems, in a market ‘which is structurally difficult to penetrate‘ and faces strong competition, which added to the lower visibility in the USA.
* The MyCiTi Bus service has increased passenger numbers by 89% in the past four months, the City of Cape Town claims. More than 400000 ‘passenger journeys‘ in November 2013 increased to over 700000 by February this year, when the Hout Bay, Oranjezicht, Sea Point, Camps Bay, Dunoon, Melkbosstrand, and Century City routes were added. However, the growth in passenger numbers has not been without its problems, with applications to have the service stopped by the Golden Arrow bus company having been dismissed in court; and complaints have been received about overcrowding, timetable inaccuracy in the afternoons especially, and the MyConnect card. The timetable problems may have led to the City firing Lumen Technologies, the company which was contracted to control scheduling. The Atlantis, Khayelitsha, and Mitchell’s Plain routes will open this year in the next four months. The City has spent close to R5 billion on the service to date.
* South Africa has become a backdrop for music videos shot for some very well-known music stars. The most famous group probably to feature our country has been Cold Play, with their shoot of ‘Paradise’ in and around Cape Town and the Karoo; Beyonce’s sister Solange, shot ‘Losing You‘ in the Cape Town townships. Other locally shots music videos are for Kongo’s ‘Escape‘; for ‘Nothing’ by A; for ‘My Cape Town’ by Iscream and Chocolate Stix; and for ‘Hearts‘ by Johnny Neon.
* Guest blogging is dead, says Google, and blogs with such (usually paid for) guest blogposts will be penalised by Google in its ranking of the posts. The search engine said that guest blogging should be about sharing content, for the sake of content, and not about the guest blogger making money from the blogpost. Sponsored posts are acceptable, but must be identified as such.
* Lufthansa pilots are threatening a strike from today over a 10% pay increase demand, according to ZDF TV News.
* American international travel has increased by 9% in January 2014 relative to ayear before, the 4,5 million tourists mainly traveling to the Caribbean, Central America, the Middle East, and Mexico. Africa only received 24000 (1%) of American visitors, an 8% decline!
Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com Twitter: WhaleCottage