Entries tagged with “Cape Town Carnival”.


WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*   UK travelers make their travel bookings via the internet, in preference to calling, and are largely guided by personal recommendations made by friends, family, and colleagues.

*   South Africa is expected to source most of its tourists from India by 2020, according to SA Tourism Country Manager Hannelie Slabber.  Reasons for the increase are better airline connections, and our country’s growing reputation as a business and leisure tourism destination. Our big cities have been the focus of the marketing to date, but now Hermanus, Franschhoek, Port Elizabeth, and Stellenbosch will be promoted.

*   The Cape Town Carnival takes place in Green Point on Saturday afternoon from 16h00, and 50000 or more party (more…)

WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*   The Oscar Pistorius trial TV live broadcast has already achieved 190000 viewers (period undefined) within a period of 8 days, but few advertisers are using it as a platform to market their brands.

*   Terroir will feature in a six part series ‘Seasons of Terroir‘, produced by Justin Bonello of ‘Cooked in Africa Films’, to reflect what it takes to run a busy restaurant in a competitive industry.  It will be broadcast on National Geographic (channel 181) from 25 March at 18h15, for six consecutive weeks.  The restaurant celebrates its 10th anniversary this year.  Broughton says: ‘After watching the series, I hope viewers will have a better understanding of what cooking in a modern-day, professional kitchen is all about. For one, it is not nearly as glamorous as it is often depicted in the media. In fact, it is tough, demanding and relentless. If someone is really committed to following a career as a chef, including the long, often anti-social hours, it is an exciting and rewarding choice. It has certainly been rewarding to be part of the growing gourmet culture in Stellenbosch – I can’t think of a better place to experience great food and wine than on a wine farm like Kleine Zalze…’ (received via media release from Manley Communications)

*   Bain’s Cape Mountain single grain whisky from Wellington has been awarded a gold medal at the 2014 China Wine and Spirits competition, based on its value for money. (received via media release from De Kock Communications)

*   Cape Town is celebrating its Carnival, with the theme ‘Imagine’  linked to Cape Town hosting World Design Capital (more…)

WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*   Renowned international Chef Paul Bocuse is to open Ratatouille Bistro and the L’Aventure Totalement Toquée de Rémy ride at Disneyland Paris, inspired by the 2007 ‘Ratatouille‘ animated movie.  One will be able to taste Bocuse’s ratatouille.  It is Bocuse’s second restaurant in the theme park.

*   Cape Town has been awarded the honour of being the Earth Hour Capital 2014 for South Africa, and is competing against 33 Finalist cities from around the world for Global Earth Hour City 2014, reports the Cape Times.  Earth Hour will be held from 20h30 – 21h30 on 29 March, as many lights being switched off as possible in that hour.  The Earth Hour City Challenge has been created by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and  Local Governments for Sustainability.

*   The Company’s Garden is to return to its roots, in having a vegetable garden reinstated by the City of Cape Town in what was Cape Town’s first fruit and vegetable garden, established by the Dutch East India (more…)

Yesterday I met up with a fellow writer at the Franschhoek Summer Wine festival, and we had an interesting discussion about PR companies, and how professional or mediocre they can be. Unfortunately there are many mediocre PR companies, and few truly professional ones.  Smart Communications & Events, the PR agency of the festival, was a prime example of mediocrity, with no presence at the event nor providing a media pack.

The discussion arose when the writer shared his pet peeves about PR companies, being particularly sensitive about not having been invited to a wine-related function earlier this week, yet he was sent a media release after the dinner, which highlighted that top Tweeters and Bloggers had attended the prestigious dinner at The Greenhouse, he obviously not being one, in the opinion of the PR company, he felt!  I shared a similar incident when I was not invited to the launch of a winter menu of Reuben’s in Cape Town, obviously seeing all the Tweets about it, and then received the media release whilst the lunch was on the go!  Media invitation lists are a sensitive issue, and an invitation exclusion can be held against a PR company and/or its client’s brand, especially as we were reminded by one PR company recently that it is not the communications representative but often the client that decides on the final attendance list. This can make things awkward for the PR agency, especially when they represent a number of clients in the food and wine industry.

While we were on a roll, we shared the following peeves about PR agencies:

*   not saying thank you for coverage received – a ‘thank you’ is a rare treat and much appreciated

*   being chased for coverage – attending a function is no guarantee that any writer will write about it, although one does feel obliged to write.  Most events attended are covered on Facebook and Twitter by the writers.  Many PR agencies charge their clients for the number of Tweets achieved for an event, and hence the use of the hash tag to track this easily, it was explained to me.

*   being asked to list an event on one’s ‘Events page of the blog’, even though our blog does not have such a page!

*   being asked to send a link to the PR agency when the blogpost has been written and posted, an absolute no-no!  Not all PR agencies follow one on Twitter, and are rarely ‘Likers’ on Facebook, so they don’t pick up the coverage their clients’ brands achieve on these Social Media forums.

*   being sent media releases with large format photographs in the body of the media release, and on a colour background, make it impossible to print.  The information is what counts, even though the ‘packaging’ of it does look impressive.

*   being sent media releases regularly about clients’ wine and restaurant brands, yet never having been invited to the restaurants or sent a bottle of wine to try before using the media release!  Such media releases have a very low chance of receiving coverage on a blog, and even on Facebook and Twitter.

*  functions that are too long and start too early in the day, especially day-time ones, given that most writers have paying job commitments which must take first priority, especially in summer.

*   not being introduced to fellow attendees, as not all writers know each other, the media mix changing for every function.  Name tags are rarely seen.

*   functions being held far out of Cape Town, where most writers live and work.  Many wine writers will insist on accommodation for evening functions, or a transport service, which covers the issues of drinking/driving and the cost of petrol, and usually leads to great camaraderie on board.

*   functions/launches being too similar – one takes one’s hat off to PR agencies that can find a new angle for their clients’ brands, and always search for new venues to host their clients’ functions.

When a media release was requested of the Franschhoek Summer Wines event yesterday afternoon, Franschhoek Wine Valley CEO Jenny Prinsloo contacted her PR company, and they promised to send a release.  It was the same two paragraph e-mail we had been sent to attend the function.  The PR company head said she wanted to wait for the attendance figures before she issued a media release, a total waste of effort, as most writers would write almost immediately or not at all.   The ‘release’ only contained the names of 12 of the 28 wineries participating in the festival.  Each winery only offered one white wine, Rosé, or MCC for tasting, yet there was no information provided about each of the 28 wines, and what makes them unique. With a few exceptions, it seemed as if the B Team had been sent to man the ‘stands’, which was just a wine barrel per winery.  Very few of the winery representatives offered information proactively, being pourers of wine rather than sharers of information.   Only Morena had a booklet of information one could take from its stand, always stylish with its owner Nick Davies hands-on and in attendance.  There was no information provided about the specialist tastings that formed part of the festival.

Leopard’s Leap was an ideal venue and the perfect weather helped the event greatly. Additional parking was opened up, and golf carts drove one to the entrance.  It’s a pity that a (outsourced security company) boom operator is persistently rude when one arrives at Leopard’s Leap.  The invited media guests had to buy their own food (the wine tasting was on the house), something one would rarely experience if one is the guest of an event – the petrol alone for the journey from Cape Town and back would have cost around R375.  The invitation’s description of the ‘mouth-watering deli-style food from the Harvest Table‘ was completely misleading, as they had changed their menu for the event, being chicken and a few leaves (R60), salmon quiche with a good helping of salad at R45, and a vegetarian wrap (R30), not representative of the fantastic food that The Rotisserie at Leopard’s Leap usually serves.  Even though we wanted to pay for an ice cream when ordering our food, payment was not taken, and consequently the ice cream had run out at 16h00, an hour before the close of the event!

The Franschhoek Summer Wine Festival was organised for the second time, by professional event organiser Darielle Robertson of DnA Events.  Franschhoek can do much better than it did yesterday to attract attendance, given its excellent track record in hosting the Franschhoek Cap Classique and Champagne Festival, Bastille Day festival, and Franschhoek Uncorked.  It is unfortunate that the festival clashed with the Cape Town Carnival yesterday, the Spar Ladies Race this morning, and the start of the ABSA Cape Epic today, which would have kept many wine tasters from Franschhoek.  From Twitter and spending time at the festival it appeared that the media attendance was extremely low (only three we picked up), which means that it will take longer to establish the event in years to come.  We Tweeted twice only from the festival, the food and most of the stands not being attractive enough to photograph and Tweet. As a brand Franschhoek and its excellent wine estates and good restaurants are far too special and unique to be represented by a mediocre PR company!

POSTSCRIPT 8/4: Epic Communications, organisers of the publicity for the RE•CM Top Ten Year Old Wines dinner at the Greenhouse last month, sent this e-mail today: The RE:CM 10 Year Old Wine Awards 2013 winners were announced at a gala dinner held in Cape Town on 14 March 2013 where valued clients and judges were treated to a three-course dinner at the award winning Greenhouse Restaurant by acclaimed chef, Peter Tempelhoff, who specially designed courses to pair with each 2013 RE:CM 10 Year Old Wine Award winner.  Please see attached social images, as well as images of the dishes served on the evening and the handover of the awards.  I have also pasted below captions for the images and a press release with further information.  Would this be of interest for your blog?’ Our bogpost about the event was posted on 18 March!

POSTSCRIPT 7/5: It appears that we were removed from Smart Communications & Events media list after posting this blogpost.  We have just been added back to the list again, after sending a request to the Franschhoek Wine Valley CEO!

Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com Twitter: @WhaleCottage

Yesterday afternoon Anton Groenewald, Executive Director of the City of Cape Town’s new TEAM (Tourism, Events, Arts, Marketing) Directorate, addressed the French networking group CAP40 at the Alliance Française on the topic ‘Perspective on strategic and policy intiatives to grow the Tourism business in Cape Town‘.  He was described as the ‘keyholder that can unlock tourism to the Cape’. Groenewald has become the most powerful person in Tourism in Cape Town, and has a considerable budget.

Groenewald is an interesting man, very honest (often at his own expense) and direct, very goal-orientated, non-political in his actions, and charming even though he may be ruthlessly honest.  He is not always ‘media-correct’ in his honesty, yet he does not seem to mind being quoted, no matter how sensitive his response may be to the parties he may be commenting about, as we discovered last year when Cape Town Tourism was blowing its own horn about the number of Twitter impressions it had created by inviting four international bloggers to the city. For Groenewald it is all about the bottom line, his mantra being ‘commercialisation’ to achieve revenue targets. His department has promised Cape Town Tourism R117 million for the three year period from 1 July 2013 onwards, but with demanding revenue and commercialisation targets to be achieved. He certainly means business, and was honest in admitting that a head of Cape Town Tourism who has been in the position for nine years no longer is fresh enough to be on top of her game.  He confirmed that its outgoing-CEO Mariette du Toit-Helmbold did not need any encouragement to not renew her contract.  They will shortly start recruiting a replacement CEO nationally as well as internationally.  His no-nonsense attitude shows when he stopped Cape Town Tourism PR (more…)

Despite a warning e-mail sent to members of Cape Town Tourism the day before its AGM held at the Cape Town International Convention Centre last night, it appears that the news that the City of Cape Town has established a new Directorate of Tourism, Events and Marketing, and will be taking over ‘Destination Marketing’ from Cape Town Tourism, accompanied by a Budget cut, was confusing to most attending the AGM.  The new City of Cape Town T (Tourism) E (Events) A (Arts and Culture) M (Marketing) directorate, under the management of Executive Director Anton Groenewald, will take over the marketing of Cape Town, and therefore reduces the Budget of Cape Town Tourism, which will now focus on Visitor Information Services and ‘Tourism Marketing’!

This was not the only shock of the evening, which was preceded by the election of three new Board members, which according to the Cape Town Tourism constitution all had to be ‘Black’ (defined as Black African, Coloured and Indian) it was explained by the election auditor Achmat Toefy.  Nine nominations had been received for the three Board seats, and whilst the female quota of two has already been met by the incumbent Directors, there were no existing ‘Black’ Directors, and therefore members had to vote for 3 out of the 6 ‘Black’ nominees, despite excellent candidates such as ‘white’ Guy Lundy, now at Future Insight Consulting.  One wonders how many members refused to vote, or spoilt their ballot!  Ian Bartes, the diplomatic Chairman of Cape Town Tourism, has not made himself available for another term, probably realising how tough the year ahead will be, in negotiating a role for Cape Town Tourism and sufficient Budget to continue its work.  The interesting question is who of the ‘German Troika’ will be elected as the new Chairman: Sabine Lehmann, CEO of the Table Mountain Aerial Cableway Company has been the Deputy Chairman, and could be a tough Chairman for the City to negotiate with, although she may need to stay on the right side of the City for her business.  Nils Heckscher, GM of the Winchester Mansions, and ex-Chairman of FEDHASA, is a known Yes-man, and would be an ideal push-over for the City.  Susanne Faussner-Ringer, owner of Greenways, would be a very tough negotiator too but is disliked.  Existing Board members Pierre du Plessis, a ‘Friend’ of Cape Town Tourism and not from the tourism industry, and Sarah Struys of Kirstenbosch, as well as the three newly elected Board members marketing consultant Craig Kensley, Enver Mally of African Eagle Daytours, and Jonathan Jacobs of Tourism Enterprise Partnership would be less likely to be elected Chairman.

Then there was the oddity of a number of changes to be made to the Constitution, no copies of the resolutions being sent to members prior to the AGM.  Slide after slide of the resolutions, not readable to most the audience in the 1000 seater hall, were rushed through by Toefy.  He seemed to indicate that the resolutions only related to some typing errors in the Constitution, the re-appointment of the auditors, and the 14% increase in the Directors’ emolument from R350 to R400 (period not specified), all contained in one resolution, and not separated.  No one voted against the adoption of the resolution, most not knowing what was going on.

In his Chairman’s address, Ian Bartes spelt out the impact of the City’s decision on Cape Town Tourism, reminding the audience of the member resolution in 2008, giving Cape Town Tourism the mandate to add Destination Marketing to its portfolio, responsible for the full tourism destination management and marketing service, due to the City’s unhappiness with the marketing role of the then Cape Town Routes Unlimited, the City placing its 50% contribution into Cape Town Tourism, at around R40 million.  Anton Groenewald was appointed to head up the directorate of Mayoral Committee Member for Tourism, Events, and Marketing Grant Pascoe late last year.  He informed Cape Town Tourism in August that its role would change, and its Budget would reduce, the figures only supplied last month, a decrease in the budget to R 36 million, from R42 million the year before.  The Budget reduction means a loss of R2,1 million, due to commitments which had already been made with suppliers.  To prevent a qualified audit and any instability in the operation of Cape Town Tourism, Chairman Bartes had been mandated to sign the City’s Service Level Agreement ‘in good faith’ , he said (we read this as meaning ‘under duress’).  When asked, Bartes did not deny that the implication could be job losses at Cape Town Tourism.  He also ominously wished the new Board ‘good luck’ for the new journey with the City of Cape Town!  He did not present Financials, a fundamental part of an AGM!  A sign of the tough times was the very thin ‘goody bag’, only containing the list of Board nominees, and a packet of Europcar mints!

The CEO speech by Mariette du Toit-Helmbold was a short and sweet presentation without many gimmicks, only a few slides representing their broad categories of work, very understated compared to the normal glitz and glamour, and mainly focusing on their new ‘MyCapeTownHoliday.com’ Facebook competition.  She spoke in her usual ‘Digital Nomad’ speak, using the same concepts of previous talks, praising her organisation’s Facebook fan statistics and R45 million media coverage value, trying very hard to sound confident and unaffected by the City’s devastating news to her organisation.  She praised her staff, but did not call them up to the stage as she did in the past, only acknowledging the soon-to-depart Cathy Alberts, who has been at Cape Town Tourism for years and is leaving to head up St Helena Tourism (her role will be taken over by controversial Communications Manager Skye Grove, a first sign of money-saving).  She said that they have an ‘innovative marketing strategy, but uncertainty about the funding’.  The National Geographic campaign will be funded from their own income, she said. She could not talk about any future plans for the year ahead, which the AGM has been a platform for in the past, because she and her team have no idea where the City will be taking them. She did confidently state that Cape Town Tourism is ‘the best agency to deliver Tourism Marketing and Visitor Services’.

Mrs Helmbold was followed by Mr Groenewald, and he explained his new TEAM concept, having taken a top executive (Rory Viljoen) with international marketing experience at Distell and Coca Cola on board to market Cape Town. They will retain the focus on ‘established markets’ USA, the ‘European Union’, Scandinavia, the UK, and some African countries. Almost a third of their spend will be on new markets, mainly BRICS countries.  There will be an increased focus on Arts & Culture, with a Cape Town Carnival planned for 16 March, and to be held on the Fan Mile.  There will be greater co-operation with the private sector to gain greater revenue out of the City’s assets (the Cape Town Stadium, City Hall, and Grand Parade).  His justification of the Turkey trip did not really go down, calling Istanbul the ‘gateway to an untapped market of 40 million’, and making it sound as if their trip had led to an increased number of Turkish Airlines direct flights per week between Istanbul and Cape Town. Sport brand collaboration will increase, as per Manchester United’s visit, and information about the economic impact thereof will be released soon, and the soccer team is set to return.  The City wants to make money out of such events. An Arts Festival is to be established.  We have heard it so often, but it was said again: more events will be focused in the May – October period.  Talks are underway with Western Province Rugby about Newlands Stadium/Cape Town Stadium.  Revenue sharing in the acts coming to Cape Town (Lady Gaga, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Linkin Park), and sports events like Kaizer Chiefs, the J&B Met, Argus Pick ‘n Pay Cycle Tour, ABSA Cape Epic, and more will be the focus in using the Cape Town Stadium and in generating income for the City.  The naming rights for the Cape Town Stadium cost R20 – R40 million.  ‘Pouring rights’ per event will cost R1 – R1,5 million.  Advertising space will be sold to generate income.

When asked what the difference between Destination and Tourism marketing is, Mr Groenewald did not really clarify, only saying that Cape Town Tourism would still represent Cape Town at tourism exhibitions such as ITB and WTM, and that his organisation would be negotiating with soccer teams!  The McGrath Collection GM Tony Romer-Lee quite rightly asked why this decision had been made mid-year.  Mr Groenewald said that the City had given Cape Town Tourism the marketing role four years ago, due to the poor execution by Cape Town Routes Unlimited.  As Wesgro has taken over this duty now at a provincial level, the City has decided to take back the marketing role, in using its assets to promote Cape Town. Whereas the City and Cape Town had one year Service Level Agreements renewed annually, the City plans to make it a three year one ahead, allowing both parties ‘to work collaboratively’.

The new heads of the City of Cape Town TEAM directorate are Rory Viljoen (Marketing), Events (Teral Cullen), Zaid Minty (Arts and Culture), Lesley de Reuck (Cape Town Stadium), and Freddie Prins (Strategic Assets), while the Research and Strategy position is still vacant.

The City’s shock moves were not discussed, as promised by Mrs Helmbold in the e-mail she sent to her members the day before the AGM, even though ten questions were allowed:

“We look forward to seeing many of Cape Town Tourism’s members and stakeholders at Thursday’s Annual General Meeting. We felt it would be expedient to send out an important communication prior to the event so that you are fully informed on the status of Cape Town Tourism’s mandate and funding from the City of Cape Town.

At the end of 2011, the City of Cape Town established a new directorate called Tourism, Events and Marketing. The Directorate consists of the following Departments: Tourism, Place Marketing, Events, Arts and Culture and Strategic Assets.

A delay in the implementation of the City of Cape Town’s new directorate and budget finalisation subsequently resulted in a delay in the confirmation of Cape Town Tourism’s funding and mandate for 2012/2013. The Board was informed at the end of May 2012 that the new directorate would have an impact on Cape Town Tourism’s mandate, in particular its destination marketing mandate, which would be limited to tourism marketing.

Subsequent to this notification, the Board of Cape Town Tourism has been in discussion with the City to clarify the impact on the organisation’s budget and programmes delivered. In the meantime, the organisation, as agreed with the City, continued delivery of visitor and tourism marketing programmes as outlined in its original 2012/2013 business plan and budget in good faith.

Confirmation of the City’s grant funding allocation for the year was finally received in mid-September 2012 (Cape Town Tourism’s financial year is aligned with the City’s, i.e. July -June), which were reduced from the budgeted grant funding of R42 million to R36 million. In effect, this means a reduced operating budget from R48million to R39million for 2012/2013.

A new Service Level Agreement was received from the City of Cape Town on 12 October 2012. It specified that Cape Town Tourism would now be responsible for tourism marketing in conjunction with the City and no longer destination marketing – a role that will now be managed internally by the City of Cape Town as part of its Place Marketing directorate.

Due to the delay in confirmation of the City’s grant funding for the year, revising operating budgets and concluding a new SLA, Cape Town Tourism will be unable to deliver on its full marketing plan and is at risk of a qualified audit due to its going concern status. Due to the budget and mandate changes some of our future plans will also be affected. The City will address the industry on its new structure, proposed place marketing activities and future partnership with Cape Town Tourism at the AGM.

Cape Town Tourism is committed to a continued positive partnership with the City of Cape Town and the Board is working with the City leadership to resolve the impact of these changes on the organisation and the tourism industry in the short term whilst negotiating a new long term agreement between the City and Cape Town Tourism. We wish to remind you that all guests are required to register for the AGM to ensure an enjoyable experience for all attendees. If you are unsure of the status of your registration for the AGM, this can be confirmed via e-mail to agm@capetown.travel.

The AGM will be an opportunity for Cape Town Tourism to share successes of the past year, unpack the revised budget, discuss the implications thereof and share the best strategy to mitigate the risks associated with the reduction in funding. Please send through any questions or comments that you might have on the matter to elana@capetown.travel in order for us to address it.”

Poor marketing of Cape Town by Cape Town Tourism, which we have criticised over the past two years, will soon be something of the past, the City clearly agreeing that it has not been good enough, and that Tweeting and ‘100 Women 100 Wines’ competitions alone will not bring tourists to Cape Town.  We have experienced Anton Groenewald in a ‘previous life’, as a Board member of the previous section 21 Cape Town Tourism, which was bled dry financially at the end of 2003, when we as a Board resisted the call to amalgamate into a united Cape Town Tourism consisting of all Visitor Information Centres in the Cape Town metropole, thus forced to do what the City demanded.  This may be the case again if Cape Town Tourism were to resist.

The tourism industry should be concerned about this turn of events.  For seven months we have been waiting to see action from Wesgro, the new provincial Tourism marketing body, without a Tourism head and not having done anything for tourism other than a provincial stand at Indaba in May!  Of greater concern is that it was stated that it will take the next six months for the City and Cape Town Tourism to thrash out the detail of who does what in terms of their new split roles of Destination Marketing and Tourism Marketing, respectively.  Surprising was how poor the understanding was amongst Cape Town Tourism members at the AGM, those that I spoke to referring to Wesgro as the new body doing the marketing for Cape Town.  Mr Groenewald did not appear to be impressed with his provincial colleagues’ performance to date either!

Speaking to Mr Groenewald after the AGM, one senses an energy and a determination, and a charming and welcome honesty in acknowledging that there is a lot to fix at Cape Town Tourism.   He welcomes critical feedback from the industry, because that helps to reinforce his observations (he supported our criticism of the Blogger Tweet-Up impression count, proudly PR-ed by Cape Town Tourism).  He wants to move Cape Town Tourism back into its predominant role of Visitor Information Services, and specifically to make money for itself from commissions on bookings, seeing a role for the organisation of being the official accommodation supplier for all major events in Cape Town, and even to official City of Cape Town accommodation requirements, but then at a reduced commission. He blatantly shared: ‘The more they make (from accommodation booking commissions), the more we can take from them’!

The months ahead will be most interesting as we observe this development, and we will report back what we see and know.  There will be follow-up blogposts about the AGM, as we are awaiting further information, and we will meet with Mr Groenewald, and Rory Viljoen, the new Director of ‘Place Marketing’ in the new City of Cape Town TEAM, shortly.’

POSTSCRIPT 20/10: News24 has a similar take on the events at the AGM last night, its implication for the marketing of Cape Town, and in its interpretation of it being a vote of no confidence in Cape Town Tourism!

Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio:   www.whalecottage.com Twitter: @WhaleCottage

Surprisingly few Capetonians attended the Cape Town International Jazz Festival this past weekend, and one gets the feeling that the organisers tend to market the event to non-Capetonians, which may be a very good thing for tourism.  It is disappointing that the Jazz Festival is not expanded, both in terms of the size of the venues, as well as the number of days over which it is hosted, the event of the past weekend clearly not being long enough, the Weekend Argus reporting that the tickets had sold out two months prior to the event.

It is estimated that 34000 jazz fans attended the Festival, some being from overseas, including other parts of Africa, and many from other parts of South Africa, judging by the large number of non-Cape Town number-plated cars driving in the city centre.  Traffic was hectic near the Cape Town International Convention Centre on Friday afternoon, long before the start of the performances, and organisers were quoted as saying that the Centre’s capacity, limited at 17000, would necessitate a large venue in future. Festival Operations Manager Billy Domingo said that they could have printed a million more tickets, and would have sold them all!  One wonders why the organisers do not stretch the Festival over more days, to benefit the hospitality industry, its effect being low key for accommodation establishments in Camps Bay, for example. Guests from Germany staying at Whale Cottage Camps Bay had read about the Jazz Festival in their guide book, and were most disappointed that they were unable to book tickets on arrival in Cape Town.

Last year the Cape Town International Jazz Festival generated just short of R500 million for the Western Cape economy, and created 2700 jobs.  Attendance has more than doubled over the 13 year history of the Jazz Festival.

It is embarrassing to read the media statements by Michael Bagraim, President of the Cape Town Chamber of Commerce, who described March as a ‘second Christmas for Cape Town, and I believe it is getting bigger year on year’.  If we compare our Whale Cottage Camps Bay occupancy for February (89%) and March (74%), it is clear that Mr Bagraim’s descriptor should apply to February and not March.  The March occupancy is on a par with that of March 2010, well up on the poor 60% last year, but still far below the 2007 – 2009 period of 94% plus.  The Cape Town Carnival had a minimal hospitality benefit, and the Argus Cycle Tour had fewer out-of-town participants, with few Camps Bay guest houses fully booked for that weekend. Only one of our Whale Cottage Camps Bay rooms was taken by guests attending the International Jazz Festival.  Mr Bagraim seems to be poorly briefed for media statements, most being irresponsible, and embarrassing for our tourism industry in hitting such false notes!

In hosting ‘Black Diamond’ guests from Johannesburg for the International Jazz Festival, who had not pre-booked but had called from the airport for a room, the cultural differences across two spectrums of South Africa were evident.  At breakfast, for example, which we allowed them to eat as late as at midday, they expressed their disappointment that we serve a standard Continental and English breakfast. They were expecting gravy and baked beans with their eggs.  They shared the room with a third visitor, not booked, and were surprised that they had to pay for him too. SA Tourism may have to embark on an educational campaign, to explain to accommodation establishments the breakfast and other expectations of the ‘New Horizon’s Families’, as they call this market segment, while accommodation establishment do’s and don’ts should be communicated to prospective domestic tourists too.

What was noticeable is how many events were scheduled for this past weekend, including the Cape Town International Jazz Festival, the Toffie Pop Festival, rugby matches, Franschhoek Summer Wines, and a massive Kfm KDay concert at Val de Vie. One wonders why all these events were hosted on the same weekend, instead of being stretched out over the whole month of March.

Given that the Cape Town International Jazz Festival is based in Cape Town, one would like to encourage the organisers to market the festival to locals too, and for them to keep an allocation of tickets for tourists who happen to be in the city at the time of the Festival, to allow them to experience this top event. We would love to see the Cape Town International Jazz Festival to run over a long weekend in future, such as the one coming up at the end of April.

POSTSCRIPT 2/4: The Times asked today if headline act Lauren Hill, who was a last minute stand in for Jill Scott, could be ‘over the hill?’, receiving negative publicity, half the audience at her Klippies concert walking out due to poor sound and ‘erratic vocals’.  ESP Afrika Jazz Festival Organiser Rashid Lombard blamed Hill’s management for wanting to manage the sound themselves.

POSTSCRIPT 8/4: The Times reported that the Cape Town International Jazz Festival is not expected ‘to break even financially’, despite its record attendance. The cost of hosting the Festival is R35 million, with R7 million coming from the Department of Arts and Culture.  The newspaper also quotes Rashid Lombard as saying that the planned expansion of the Cape Town International Convention Centre will double the size of the Festival, and to reach 470000 by 2018, a commendable if not daunting target!  Lombard hopes to see the Jazz Festival can be structured like the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, ‘for which all hotels, restaurants and the host city, and all structures of government, get together and contribute the event’s success’.

Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com Twitter:@WhaleCottage

Cape Town is to have its own Rio-style Carnival as of March 2010.   This was announced by Cape Town Mayor Helen Zille last night.

The Cape Town Carnival will run from 12 – 14 March 2010, the weekend in between the Argus Cycle Tour and the Two Oceans Marathon.   It will be a weekend of music, dance and cultural expression, and “is a celebration of diversity”, according to its website www.capetowncarnival.com

The theme of the first Cape Town Carnival will be “Rhythm, Roots & Boots”.  It aims at “celebrating uniting diverse communities through music, dance and creativity, show-casing the best of Cape Town, annually…” says Dr Rachel Jafta, the Cape Town Carnival Trust Chairman and University of Stellenbosch Associate Professor of Economics.  “We wanted to create something new, where communities interact and celebrate our uniqueness, but also unite as citizens of one of the most beautiful cities of the world.” she added, reports the Cape Times.

The Trust team are largely unknown to the tourism industry, and includes Clarence Ford, radio presenter and previous owner of the now defunct Manenbergs, Craig Lemboe, Eldridge Moses, Anton Liebenberg, Henry Hockey, Themba Nolutshungu, Fritz Marx and Programme Manager Isabel Meyer.   It is worrying that the Trustees do not appear to have Tourism or Event Management experience, and that the tourism bodies Cape Town Tourism and Cape Town Routes Unlimited are not involved.

On 12 March 2010 the Carnival will kick off with themed balls and dance shows in community halls around Cape Town,  as well as with street, club and beach parties.    On 13 March floats will parade through the city.