* The announcement by Virgin Atlantic that it will drop Cape Town from its London route from 26 April 2015, at the start of the local winter, comes as a shock to the Tourism industry. The new Immigration Regulations are said to be to blame in part, but the London-Johannesburg route has not been axed, therefore not making this reason credible. It would appear that it is an unprofitable route in winter, due to Cape Town’s terrible Seasonality problem in winter, but word received says that this is a permanent route axing! Tokyo, Vancouver, and Mumbai will also be chopped!
* Better news is that Qatar Airways is changing its three times a week via Johannesburg flights between Doha and Cape Town to five direct flights between the two cities from 3 November onwards. The change is justified on the basis of Cape Town’s popularity as a destination in Africa.
* Minister Derek Hanekom addressed the e-Tourism Africa Summit 2014 in Cape Town today, highlighting how technology has changed tourism information provision and bookings. In 2011 150000 tourists booked via SA Tourism’s online travel agency partners. Two years later this doubled to 285000. He encouraged tourist product owners to offer tourists free wifi, so that they can share their local tourist experiences via Social Media.
* The Beautiful South, a showcase of 250 wines from South Africa, Chile, and Argentina, will be held for the second time, this year at the Kensington Olympia in London on 10 and 11 September. Winemaker Sessions will pair two winemakers per country with themes. Sommelier tastings will also be offered. Environment-friendly re-usable stands will be used, and an artwork will be created from corks added by wine-lovers present. South African winemakers Samantha O’Keefe, Bruce Jack, and Danie Steytler Jnr will be present, joined by Distell Vineyards & Estates CEO Carina Gous. Four tasting tables will present wines by theme: award-winning; unexpected and rare; new wines; and sparkling wines.
* Western Cape Minister for Economic Opportunity Alan Winde today presented ‘suitcases’ with garden tools, seeds, compost, and fertilisers at the Khula Mntwana and Siyazama food gardens in Khayelitsha, giving them the ‘starter pack’ to supply ‘high quality produce’. (received via media release from Minister Winde’s office)
* Avondale has launched Armilla Blanc de Blanc MCC 2009, its first vintage MCC, after making a non-vintage one for the past ten years. The bottle shape has also been changed, reflecting the wine’s handcrafted style, limited volume, organic production, and the influence of the stars. It is made with 100% Chardonnay, grown organically on vines between eight and twenty years old. Cost is R200. (received via media release from Manley Communications)