* The Tourism Business Council of South Africa FNB Tourism Business Index reflects that the tourism industry is improving, with a score of 108 for the last quarter of 2014. A score of 100 is the norm. The Accommodation sector did even better, with an Index of 113, despite the impact of Ebola, and the Immigration Regulation changes introduced late last year. ‘Other Tourism‘ (e.g. transport, food and beverage) scored 104, lower than had been forecast for the quarter. The exchange rate has played a role in the improving Index. For the first quarter of this year an average Index of about 102 is expected.
* The Cape Winelands is experiencing its earliest harvest in 49 years, having started very early in the new year, almost a month earlier than last year. VinPro explains that three perfect winters with enough cold and sufficient rain, combined with an unusually warmer August, has led to the earlier harvest. A smaller harvest is expected this year, but is expected to be of a good quality. Winemakers are facing a challenge in their cellars in that many cultivars are ripening almost at the same time.
* Cycling in Cape Town is one of the best ways to see our city, writes the Los Angeles Times, describing it as ‘an adventure capital’. Benefits of seeing Table Mountain (‘the most visited spot in Africa‘) on a bicycle is that one can ride through fynbos rather than summit in a ‘moving tin box’!
* Veuve Clicquot is sponsoring the Masters Polo Cape Town 2015 for the fifth year, taking place on 7 March. The event will be held at Val de Vie, and attracts socialites, fashionistas, celebrities, and horse lovers. Veuve Clicquot sponsors some of the world’s leading polo events, including the UK’s Gold Cup, USA’s Manhattan Polo Classic, and LA Polo Classic. A Veuve Clicquot bar will be set up. Entrance of R850 includes a glass of Veuve Clicquot and the polo, tickets at Computicket. Picnic hampers R150. A Deluxe Hospitality package with butler service, champagne, food, and decor is available. Uber is available to provide transport from Cape Town. (received via media release from Vivid Luxury)
* HQ is joining the Urban Brandy Cocktail Route on 4 February, and is celebrating in its Cigar Lounge, with the theme of ‘Vintage Jazz‘. More than thirty venues around South Africa form part of the Cocktail Route, focusing on the variety of cocktails one can make with brandy. Four brandy cocktails will be offered, with canapés. Cost R180. (received via e-mail from HQ)