Yesterday I attended the launch of Yumcious Café in the DeVille Centre in Durbanville, the second restaurant of Chef Jenny Morris, her first one being the very successful Yumcious Café in the Cape Quarter. Continue reading →
Whilst it is good news that the Western Cape province and the City of Cape Town have workshopped the perennial Winter Seasonality problem in Cape Town and the Western Cape with industry players, one wonders if once again it is too little too late, discussing Seasonality at the tail end of Winter! The outcome of the workshop has been a promise that all stakeholders ‘have committed to working together to address the negative impact that Seasonality has on the industry’, a Cape Town Tourism media release states!
Cape Town Mayor Patricia de Lille said at the workshop: ‘We live in a global village and if we want to be a world-class city then we need to stop being complacent and only enjoying the benefits of tourism in our summer months. If we can re-position Cape Town as an all-year destination by leveraging Events and Business tourism, our incoming flight numbers, income generated from the tourism industry and jobs in tourism will improve significantly’.
At the workshop it was agreed that a ‘collective strategy and framework involving all parties in the tourism field‘ is Continue reading →
Alan Winde, Western Cape Minister of Economic Opportunities, which includes the Tourism portfolio, has welcomed the delegates attending the ‘Investing in African Mining Indaba‘, starting at the Cape Town International Convention Centre today and running until the end of Thursday.
Minister Winde said 7 000 delegates from 110 countries are in Cape Town for the Mining Indaba. ‘The Mining Indaba brings the most influential leaders in the continent’s mining sector to the province. This event is an important economic driver for the Continue reading →
* Western Cape Premier Helen Zille and Minister of Tourism Alan Winde will launch three wifi hotspots next week, in Atlantis, George, and Robertson, with Delft to follow two months later, connecting 50000 residents in the province to the internet. (received via media release from Minister Winde’s office)
* Minister of Public Enterprises Lynne Brown is talking about ‘collapsing’ SAA, SA Express, and Mango into one airline, which would have one Board of Directors, and create a ‘leaner and meaner‘ airline. Privatisation is not being considered.
* Western Cape Minister of Tourism Alan Winde has issued a media statement regarding the new Immigration Regulations and their effect on Tourism for the first time. Acting on feedback from hoteliers, travel agents and tour operators in the province, he Continue reading →
* At the SAACI Congress Wesgro has been named as South Africa’s best Convention Bureau, and the Cape Town International Convention Centre the country’s best Convention venue. (via Twitter)
* Hanneli Slabber, SA Tourism Country Manager for India, has received the ‘Best Professional in Marketing‘ award at the Safari India National Tourism Awards. Since her appointment in India, there has been a marked growth in tourists from India to South Africa.
* Minister of Tourism Derek Hanekom has praised the role of Business Tourism as well as of Events, in addressing the SAACI (South African Association for the Conference Industry) Congress today. He said that this sector of Tourism, which has an above average spend when visiting Continue reading →
The sod has been turned for the construction for the expansion to the Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC), which is certain to boost the Tourism industry in Cape Town specifically, and the Western Cape economy generally. Green design elements have been planned, to make the expansion section environmentally sustainable.
Western Cape Minister of Tourism Alan Winde said about the expansion: ‘The CTICC is a major economic catalyst and the planned expansion of the venue will significantly increase its capacity for meetings and exhibitions. This will boost business travel to the province and create more employment opportunities in the tourism sector. In the previous financial year, it is estimated that the CTICC created 7 500 jobs. This is an excellent example of infrastructure-led growth paving the way for increased employment for our residents’. The exhibition space will double by 10000 m², which means that Cape Town can bid for future Indabas, Africa’s largest tourism exhibition.
The Western Cape attracted 28000 conference delegates worth R347 million in the past year. In the current financial year this is Continue reading →
The Southern Africa Tourism Services Association (SATSA), an association of tourism operators, has appointed Economist and Tourism Strategist David Frost as its CEO. Given that SATSA represents a large number of tourism operators, and Frost does not fear speaking out, it will be interesting to see how he will drive his association and members to achieve his goal of enhancing the competitiveness of our country’s Tourism industry.
SATSA has more than 700 members who guarantee ‘quality in tourism‘, its website states. This is achieved by annual assessments which are done of its members, and that all members are bonded, ‘providing a financial guarantee of deposits held against the involuntary liquidation of a SATSA member‘. Members span the transport, tour operator, destination management, accommodation, tourism broker, adventure tourism, business tourism, and tourism service sectors, the bulk of the components of the Tourism industry. The main benefits of being a SATSA member are the lobbying done with the government on behalf of the industry, networking with other members, an Employee Benefit and Provident Fund, legal advice offered, member discounts, arbitration services, and newsletters.
Frost has a wide experience in Tourism, having moved into the Continue reading →
* The Mutual & Federal Agri Wellington Wine Route’s ‘Quest for the Best’ is coming to Cape Town tomorrow at the Southern Sun Waterfront Hotel, at the cost of R60. Wellington wines will be offered for tasting, with the recently selected ‘Quest for the Best’ Top Ten Wines and Top Spirits. (received via Wellington Wine Route newsletter)
* There are more than 40000 hotel rooms being built in Africa in the next four years, 10% of these in Lagos in Nigeria alone. No South African city appears on the top hotel room construction list.
* ‘Flavours of the Cape‘ is a restaurant promotion planned for Cape Town and surrounding restaurants during the month of September, reflecting … the flavours of the Cape in their dishes and the city’s vibrant food culture. (via media release from Real Events & Communications)
* Wines of South Africa (WOSA) met with Wines of Chile and Wines of Argentina in Mendoza last week, to discuss communal marketing activities for the wines of their countries, particularly in China. ‘We met and reviewed the common goals that we have: To do things in innovative ways that are more cost-effective for producers. The feeling is that, when we work together, we generate more interest in the trade and with consumers’, said WOSA CEO Su Birch.
It is shocking to see how Cape Town Tourism publishes meaningless media statements, especially during winter, to attempt to deceive the tourism industry about the state of business. Every tourism business owner and manager is aware how poor the current winter business is on a daily basis. Last week the predictable media release once again was sent out, exaggerating the ‘state of the tourist nation’, when most in the industry are reporting that their current winter performance is even worse than 2011, which then was labelled as ‘a tourism crisis‘.
Cape Town Tourism conducts a survey amongst its members irregularly, and reported that the 83 members (out of at least 1000 – 1500 accommodation members making up the bulk of its membership, an embarrassingly poor response rate) had experienced unbelievable occupancy levels of 50 % and 39% in April and May, respectively. Making the figures even more unbelievable is that Cape Town Tourism’s membership is no reflection of the average accommodation establishment in Cape Town, many leading guest houses having elected to no longer be members of the Cape Town tourism body.
It is no surprise that Seasonality is mentioned as tourism’s biggest threat, and blamed for the poor tourism performance, the winter weather being a deterrent for local tourists to visit the city, and the ‘over-reliance on leisure tourism’ leading to mainly summer tourist visitors, it is written. Surprising is that Cape Town Tourism has been tasked with promoting leisure tourism specifically, and just cannot crack the ‘Seasonality’ nut. Last year the tourism body bragged at its AGM how it would promote tourism during the winter season, but its winter advertising activity has been poorly executed, and has resulted in no impact to date!
Cape Town Tourism CEO Mariette du Toit-Helmbold is quoted in the media release as saying: “If we cannot establish a year-round demand for Cape Town as leisure, business and events destination the industry will remain threatened and we will not be able to grow the sector. This is a critical issue for an industry that employs more than 300 000 people and is the second largest contributor to the Western Cape’s GDP.” The tourism body does not have a mandate to promote business tourism, even though it tried to expand its advertising campaign with the slogan ‘You don’t need a holiday, you need Cape Town’ to include conferencing, and setting up businesses locally. The business application of the campaign has not been visible since the launch.
The media release also records the ‘modest‘ increases in passenger arrivals (it is not qualified if the arrivals were international or local) compared to 2011, a year all in the tourism industry know was the worst winter in years.
The media release is shocking in its poor quality information, in stating that the Pick ‘n Pay Cape Argus Cycle tour and the Cape Town International Jazz Festival took place in April, when in fact they were held in March! We have seen the poor writing quality by Cape Town in the past, but these factual errors are unforgivable!
The shocking conclusion to the release is Mrs Helmbold’s admission that Seasonality is out of control of her organisation, with a waffled identification of what is needed to fix the problem, which the industry is told year in and year out: “The need for a year-round brand positioning and demand-generation strategy to fill beds during the quieter months has been recognised, but seasonality and destination marketing are not one organisation’s concern. We can only solve Cape Town’s seasonality challenges and create year-round demand through partnerships and through understanding the changing needs and travel habits of potential visitors, whether business or leisure. We need collaboration within the industry, innovation, new experiences to promote, joint mobilisation within niche sectors on unusual projects, value-for-money travel packages and convenient access to the destination. We need an exciting calendar of events all year round and we need to cultivate tourism sectors such as food and wine, family travel, extreme adventure and sport”.
It is time that some new thinking is demonstrated at Cape Town Tourism. The organisation’s strategic and marketing skills clearly are lacking, and even its CEO appears to no longer have the respect she once had, and seems severely taxed by her domestic challenges. She should take responsibility for the poor quality media information which her Communications department is issuing. It is time for new blood at Cape Town Tourism, to save Cape Town’s tourism industry from drowning!
Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com Twitter: @WhaleCottage