Tag Archives: Car hire

Film Cape Town to reposition itself (again) as the SA Film Capital!

The City of Cape Town has announced that the Film Cape Town website has been launched, a joint venture between itself and the Cape Town film and media industry. This is excellent news for the tourism industry in Cape Town and surrounds, to revitalize an industry which brought thousands of film industry tourists as well as millions of Rands to our city, but which declined due to the closure of the Cape Film Commission due to a cut in grants from the City of Cape Town and the Western Cape provincial government in 2016, the water crisis, local rising costs, as well as an industry which battled within itself and the City and province. Continue reading →

FEDHASA CEO misleads accommodation industry about World Cup

In the past few months hotel association FEDHASA CEO Brett Dungan has been on a PR-binge, setting himself up as the national spokesperson for the accommodation industry on all matters relating to Accommodation and the World Cup.

Three months ago Dungan started punting the www.rooms4u.travel portal, in conjunction with S A Tourism.  Very quickly Carl Momberg of www.capeinfo.com  discovered that Dungan was the private owner of the website, whose ownership is not declared publicly.  At that time, tourism bureaus were up in arms about the move by S A Tourism to set up an accommodation booking portal in competition with themselves, via Dungan’s website.  Dungan now states on his website that it is not the official website of the Department of Tourism.

In the Cape Times of 10 March, an article entitled Some SA hotels won’t be sustainable and may face closure” quotes Dungan extensively, having addressed Parliament’s portfolio committee on tourism.

He told the committee that issues that faced the tourism industry were “pricing, availability of accommodation, perceptions of South Africa as a destination, and the impact and concerns for the country after the tournament‘Hotels will be under enormous pressure.  There will be job losses as some won’t be sustainable.  These were issues that were identified some time ago” , he is quoted as saying, and pointed the finger at logistics planning on air travel and car hire that was lacking for the World Cup.  So far, so good.

However, the following quote about the small accommodation industry is what makes Dungan look like an opportunist: ” Small operators like B&B’s had failed to market their ventures through websites like www.rooms4u.travel, a specially created portal which would steer visitors to available rooms in each city, which featured price comparisons.   He said rooms4u was the definitive South African accommodation portal but said hotels and small establishments not registered on the site within 60 days would struggle to sell their available rooms.”

Even “better” is this quote, showing how two-faced Dungan is: “He said many hotels were at fault for failing in their marketing and relying too much on Match, Fifa’s exclusive hospitality partner.  They should never have given up all their channels of sales just because Match was coming here”.

Our response to Dungan, FEDHASA and S A Tourism is as follows:

1.  We do not understand how Brett Dungan gets to address the Parliament portfolio committee on tourism, in his capacity as CEO of FEDHASA, an association that predominantly represents hotel interests only, and not those of small accommodation.  In the Western Cape branch, for example, a hotel and restaurant owner, Susanne Faussner-Ringer, heads up the Small Accommodation segment, not understanding the needs of small accommodation owners!  Neither Dungan nor FEDHASA are the official spokespersons of the accommodation  industry, and have no mandate to speak on our behalf.
2.   The paragraph berating “small operators like B&B’s”, that “failed to market their venues through websites like rooms4u.travel” annoys us: 
      *  we may have small operations, but many of us do understand about marketing
      *  we all have our own websites, and advertise on powerful accommodation websites such as S A Venues, Cape Stay and SafariNow, which send us enquiries
      *  Brett Dungan does not disclose that he is the (private) owner of the rooms4u.travel portal, and that he will earn commission from every booking he takes on this portal – we see this as a conflict of interest!   However, the portal is only 3 months old, so how dare Dungan berate us for not advertising on it! 
3.   Even worse is his quoted claim that “Rooms4u was the definitive South African accommodation portal” – we absolutely disagree
      *  Threatening that hotels and establishments who have not registered with his portal within 60 days “would struggle to sell their available rooms” is scaremongering and unprofessional.  The portal has no track record, it operating for just more than 3 months
      *  The attack on the accommodation industry for supporting Match is so shocking and is an absolute turn-around.   FEDHASA made sure that its hotel members offered 80 % of their rooms at the time South Africa was bidding for the World Cup about 5 years ago, and 80 % of the room stock was the requirement.   One was berated for being disloyal for not signing with MATCH at the time.   To now say that they were relying too much on MATCH is preposterous!!!!  Dungan regularly publicly supported Match, and pointed fingers at hotels and especially small accommodation establishments for allegedly charging “rip-off” pricing for accommodation, when it is MATCH that has been ripping off soccer fans by adding 30 % commission to accommodation prices.  FEDHASA even has a Match director on its national board!  
POSTSCRIPT: The Cape Times incorporated the essence of this blog post in an article it published on Monday 22 March – read the article here.
Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com

Mixed festive season feedback

In the past two days newspapers have been quoting from a Cape Town Routes Unlimited media release about the status of the festive season, creating a confusing picture as to whether the season has been a good or bad one.

What is surprising is that the festive season is not yet over, and already Cape Town Routes Unlimited (CTRU) is trying to draw comparisons between this season and that of last year, before it has come to an end, with many visitors only returning to start work on Monday 12 January.

The Cape Times report quotes CTRU as stating:”…they (Tourism Managers) had experienced a festive season that was “similar or better” than those in previous years”    However, the article does not state which Managers CTRU refers to.   Further reference is made to tourism having improved on the West Coast, the Winelands, and Central Karoo, with a decline in the Garden Route, Klein Karroo and Robertson and Montagu, two towns which were affected by floods in November.   The basis of the trend information is not specified.   Surprisingly, no mention is made of Cape Town’s festive season success, which has been exceptional and continues until the end of this week.

The Cape Times artcle also states that the Airports Company serviced more passengers in December 2008 compared to a year ago.   This trend was also experienced by the V & A Waterfront, and in Kirstenbosch, while the Table Mountain Aerial Cableway Company had its worst performance in 10 years in December, due to the weather.

Business Report quotes FEDHASA CEO Brett Dungan as saying that “tourists were spending less, but Cape Town and Durban were still busy”.  One wonders where he sourced his information, and how it is quantified, as the FEDHASA Cape office is still closed, and the FEDHASA offices in KwaZulu-Natal having stated that the area had experienced a very poor season a week ago, according to media reports.

The future looks good, with February predicted to be an excellent tourism month.   Whale Cottage Camps Bay, for example, already has an occupancy of 90 % for February, more than three weeks before the start of the month.  This used to be the case in November too, but the booking pattern was extremely last minute in November 2008, yet resulted in the same occupancy rate as in the year before.

Rented cars were hard to find over the festive season.  One of the most popular companies, Value Car Hire, had no stock over the New Year, with availability from this week onwards for the first time.

The decrease in the price of petrol yesterday, by more than R 1,30 a litre, is an excellent note on which to start 2009, which many say will be a challenging one, due to the global credit crunch.