Entries tagged with “Cnn”.


CNN describes Cape Town as one of the world’s most beautiful cities, its ocean and mountain views being what makes it particularly special. It writes that the city experiences four seasons in a day, and that allows its locals and visitors to experience a variety of things to do. Despite the water shortage, it is ‘still one of the planet’s most extraordinary destinations’. (more…)

imagePopping into My Sugar in Sea Point on Saturday, I discovered a new offering by the innovative chocolate shop on Regent Road. Cruffins are a hybrid of muffins and croissants, with delectable fillings, made with a layered brioche dough, (more…)

imageTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*   Wine writer and taster Tim Atkin has released his Tim Atkin 2015 South Africa Special Report, describing our country as the ‘most dynamic and exciting winemaking country in the New World‘! He lauds our winemaking industry for its ‘diverse terroirs, old vines and pure winemaking talent’. He writes that it has ‘never been so intoxicating to taste and drink the wines of the Cape‘! For the first time he has saluted our top winemakers (Eben Sadie and Morné Vrey) and wines (more…)

Diva Unite performerThe Sweet Service Award goes to Divas Unite, for the event held in the City Hall to celebrate Women’s Day and to raise funds for a women’s breast cancer detection and treatment service. Organized by the ever-energetic Barbara Lenhard of Opulent Living, the event showcased some of our country’s most talented women performers, including Zanne Stapelberg, Judy Page, Kim Kallie, and Zolani Mahola from Freshlyground, accompanied by the Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra, largely made up of women musicians.

(more…)

haute-cabriere-restaurant-views-2-exlarge-169In my book CNN is a credible news agency, but this image has been severely dented by an article entitled ‘7 stunning Cape Town vineyards with food as good as the wine’, written last week by one Griffin Shea. Not one of the seven wine estates featured are in Cape Town!

The article introduction is short and sweet: ‘It’s no secret that in Cape Town, good wine abounds. But wine farms also host some of South Africa’s best restaurants, which pride themselves on serving up meals from ingredients often grown just steps away from the tables. These restaurants have won enough awards to fill walls, but like so many of South Africa’s best places to eat, they’re generally relaxed, unpretentious affairs where the prices won’t break the bank. Many of the menus are deceptively simple, heavy on local ingredients and farm fare, but prepared with passion and care’.

It does not state on which basis the wine estates were selected, but obviously they had to have a ‘great‘ restaurant, (more…)

WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*   CNN has included Cape Town as one of the Best Easter egg hunts around the world, in the company of London, New York, Miami, Vienna, Washington, France, Toronto, and Sydney.  The hunt for the treasure chest of Easter eggs on Table Mountain was guided by clue cards handed out by Mad Hatters Tea Party characters.

*   Fourteen travel bloggers, two from South Africa, will form part of a #MeetSouthAfrica blog campaign by SA Tourism, the bloggers travelling throughout our country and blogging about their journey, culminating in INDABA, the travel expo in Durban in early May.

*   The Banking Ombudsman has reported that 23% of the almost 5000 complaints received in the past year related to ATMs, the number of such complaints close to doubling from the year before, reports The New Age.  About 40% of the (more…)

Minstrels 2014I did not venture near the city centre on Saturday to see the annual Cape Minstrels march, held on 4 January this year for the first time, to allow more participants than would be the case on the traditional Tweede Nuwe Jaar (2 January), when some of the troupe members would have to be back at work.   It is a shame that a tradition with so much heritage should be marred with political posturing by the City of Cape Town and the ANC, and that the Cape Town city centre streets were gridlocked yet again.  More than 40000 minstrels were reported by The New Age to have participated.

The city centre was largely closed off for parking for the day, Wale Street being on the route and having metal stands to prevent any parking.  We read that some Minstrel march enthusiasts camped on the city’s pavements from the night before, to get the best view of the march.  The day started off badly, the troupes leaving Bo Kaap later than announced.

As the 75 troupes marched down from Bo Kaap via Wale Street to the Grand Parade, it caused traffic mayhem on Buitengracht Street in both directions, this street being an important road in and out of Cape Town, as well as on Long Street, as one could not cross Wale Street.  We were told that despite horrific parking (more…)

SA Statistics has released the January 2013 tourism arrival statistics, and it is clear that our tourism industry is in trouble, the traditional source markets of the UK and Europe strongly down relative to the same month a year before, and American arrivals showing a minimal increase, as reported by Southern African Tourism Update.  Two of the BRICS countries, India and Brazil, continue to show strong growth.  In total tourism numbers declined by 4% to 202548 in January 2013, relative to a year ago.

The 19% decline in UK tourists is no surprise, as we have picked up the dramatic demise of UK tourists in the past two summers, due to that country’s economic recession, but still is ranked top as source country at 34393. America is the second largest source market, with 21330 arrivals. German tourists numbered 21101, a surprising decline of 6%.  France is in 6th place as a source country, with a slight decline in its arrivals. The Netherlands, another important source market. showed a decline of 18%, and is now in 8th place.

The decline in the UK arrivals is confirmed in an article in Breaking Travel News, which showed that UK travelers would be affected by the exchange rate in most countries, given the weak pound sterling, affecting their travel costs to the USA, Australia, and Europe.  Countries in which British travelers will not suffer the exchange rate so badly are Argentina, Brazil, and South Africa.  However, the higher cost of flights to these countries may cancel out the benefit of the lower exchange rates.

China surprisingly showed its first decline, by 4 %, and is ranked 4th on the tourism arrivals list, while arrivals from Brazil jumped by close to 13%.  Given tour operator Colin Bell’s discovery that the tourism arrival statistics include transit passengers, spending at least 24 hours in our country to be defined as such, it is interesting to note that about 40% of the Chinese and Brazil ‘tourist’ arrivals were in fact transit passengers travelling to another country from South Africa.  This does not apply to Indian tourists, the 15% increase in arrivals from this country reflecting the great work which is being done by SA Tourism in that country.  Its head, Hanneli Slabber, has just been recognised as Safari India National Tourism ‘Best Professional in Marketing’.

These depressing tourism arrival statistics were announced after Marthinus van Schalkwyk, national Minister of Tourism, shared at Indaba earlier this month that South Africa’s digital marketing activities have reached 1 billion people, reports themovechannel.com.  ‘Our video, banner and text adverts were displayed to the targeted audiences over 1,1 billion times’, in addition to marketing programs with CNN, National Geographic, Expedia, Facebook, TripAdvisor, and WAYN.com.  The Minister may not understand that duplication of exposure of South Africa’s advertising message would reduce the audience size.  The value of South Africa’s editorial coverage in international media is estimated at R4,6 billion.

Minister van Schalkwyk has reacted to the news that a development bank is being set up by the BRICS countries, and has said that it ‘will boost tourism among the nations’.  The increased business trips related  to setting up the development bank will be ‘prompting other tourists to follow suit’, the Tourism Minister said, according to The Telegraph. A Goldman Sachs report shows that the BRICS countries generated half the global economic growth in the last ten years.  Currently inter BRICS trade is valued at $230 billion, and is estimated to double in the next two years.

Minister van Schalkwyk was invited to lead a new United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) commission on tourism and development, at a meeting yesterday of its Executive Council in Belgrade, working with a working group of France, Germany, Kenya, Jamaica, Egypt, Mexico, Republic of Korea, Mauritania, and Belgium, reports the Southern African Tourism Update.

We appeal again to Cape Town Tourism and Wesgro to market Cape Town and the Western Cape nationally and internationally, to counter the frighteningly low bookings for June and July, one of the worst winter seasons we have seen.

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

SA Tourism is calling on the tourism industry to get involved in an Africa marketing campaign and road show for the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) 2013 soccer tournament, to be held in Johannesburg, Durban, Port Elizabeth, Rustenburg, and Nelspruit from 19 January until 10 February next year, reports Southern African Tourism Update.  Sadly Cape Town has been excluded from AFCON 2013, an event expected to attract 150000 soccer fans from other African countries alone, due to Mayoral Committee Member for Tourism, Events and Marketing Grant Pascoe making unreasonable demands for the Host City bid!

SA Tourism is leading a road show this and next month in Ghana, Nigeria, Mozambique, Kenya, and Botswana, and is inviting tourism product and service owners to accompany them at no charge, but they will be responsible for the cost of accommodation and travel.  The Road Show in Ghana, Nigeria, and Angola will take the form of a workshop, including networking opportunities.  Not only will it focus on the soccer tournament, but it will also market South Africa as a shopping tourism destination for the continent.  The road show may well be to drum up support for ticket sales, Daily Maverick reporting that only 30000 of 500000 tickets have been sold for the tournament to date!

In addition, SA Tourism will be running an ad campaign on CNN, as well as with Supersport, reaching the English, French and Portuguese-speaking countries in Africa, to promote the soccer tournament.

The City of Cape Town had expressed its opposition to hosting this prestigious event, due to the cost burden, and sought a guarantee from the government for at least 50% of the hosting costs to be covered. The City was also looking to the Confederation of African Football and/or Local Organising Committee to cover 25 % of the costs.  Costs for the host city include the preparation of the pitch, fencing, security, the accommodation of the teams and officials, as well as transport plans, according to the Cape Argus. The City also was unhappy that the event would mean that other events could not be held at the Cape Town Stadium, meaning a loss of income, a poor motivation, given how few events are held at the stadium, less than one per month on average, and how desperate the City is to recover the running costs of the stadium.

Cape Town has been awarded a consolation prize friendly warm-up match between Bafana Bafana and Norway on 8 January at the Cape Town Stadium, as an introduction to AFCON!

AFCON is expected to cost the South African tax payers R461 million, reports The Times, some of the monies going to flying in African heads of state and Confederation of African Football officials.  R120 million will be allocated to the three host cities, and R165 million will go to police security.  One lane of the highways between the airports and soccer stadia in the host cities will be closed, as was the procedure for the 2010 World Cup. Despite the tighter economic situation, the government plans to use the tournament as a marketing exercise for the country.  Minister of Finance Pravin Gordhan confirmed that all the ‘vanity stuff’ has been cut out of the AFCON budget, to ensure responsible tournament expenditure. The ‘funding for Afcon – we’ve cut it to the bone’, added Deputy Minister of Finance Nhlanhla Nene. South Africa was awarded the AFCON tournament after the civil war in the host country Libya made the tournament unsafe.

One can only hope that SA Tourism’s road show will include representatives of Cape Town Tourism and Wesgro, to attract soccer fans attending AFCON to visit Cape Town and the Western Cape too, despite Cape Town not being a Host City. From the World Cup experience, this would appear to be unlikely.

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

A heavyweight delegation from the Western Cape Department of Finance, Economic Development and Tourism, members of the Board of Cape Town Routes Unlimited, and ‘stakeholders’ of the organisation attended a presentation at the Table Bay Hotel last week, to receive feedback about Cape Town Routes Unlimited’s performance in the past twelve months, and its way forward.  Attendees also received a copy of the 2009/2010 Annual Report, a detailed document of the activities of the body which states that its “core business is marketing communications”.  It is a shame that so little of the organisation’s budget is spent on beneficial marketing on behalf of the tourism industry in the Western Cape.

The problem with handing out the Annual Report is that it reveals information which is not always to the benefit of the organisation, even though its “honesty” is commendable and meets accounting procedures.  A greater part (52%) of the R 38,5 million annual budget which Cape Town Routes Unlimited received from the Western Cape province in the past year, supplemented by R 15 million from additional special project income generated, was spent on administrative expenses rather than on marketing, which is bad news for the tourism industry in the Western Cape, which has seen the worst year ever, with most provincial tourism businesses having been detrimentally affected by the World Cup, by the strong Rand, and therefore by a reduced number of bookings. 

The importance of Marketing to the organisation is highlighted by the fact that the CEO, Calvyn Gilfellan, is also the Chief Marketing Officer.   He has three Marketing Executives reporting to him:

David Frandsen: Executive Manager – International Marketing: Europe and the Americas and the Convention Bureau 

Itumeleng Pooe: Executive Manager – International and Domestic Marketing: Africa, Asia, and the Middle East

Romeo Adams: Executive Manager – Marketing and Organisational Support 

In the Annual Report, each of these executives feeds back what their performance has been relative to targets set at the beginning of the financial year.   It is a shame to see how much of their time and action was directed at meeting administrative requirements in the preparation of the Annual Report as well as the financial reporting.   Many of the targets they set themselves seemed rather low, so that it looks good on paper when many are exceeded.   I was shocked to see the declaration of salaries of the Executive Management, and how some of these have increased in the past twelve months.   Gilfellan’s annual income is listed in the financial statements at just under R1 million (up by 6,6 % on the year before).  The Marketing Executives earned between R692000 – R839000 in the past year (close to R58000 – R70000 per month), salaries which seem way above the norm, especially when the industry cannot see much benefit of the work done by Cape Town Routes Unlimited!  Even the directors are paid emoluments, some as high as R26000.

In summary, Cape Town Routes Unlimited lists as its tourism marketing achievements in the past year the following: R20 billion of tourism business generated through international trade shows; organising the ’67 minutes for Nelson Mandela’ birthday celebration; close to 400 media mentions valued at R162 million, reaching 107 million persons – these are very bold claims!; Summer Welcome campaign; regional tourism road shows; organising Tourism Month; hosting VIP delegations; a green tourism initiative; SMME Marketing Support programme; receiving bookings at its Visitor Information Centers (set up in the Waterfront in opposition to Cape Town Tourism) to the value  of R2,4 million; a Google Adword campaign; a campaign with CNN; and an e-mail campaign in the Benelux countries.   Conventions are lucrative for tourism business in the Western Cape, and for Cape Town in particular, nine conferences having been secured for the next three years, to be attended by 5650 delegates, with R55 million in economic impact.

The recent upheaval caused by provincial Minister Alan Winde’s announcement that he wants to amalgamate Cape Town Tourism and Cape Town Routes Unlimited was not addressed by the Minister when he spoke at the meeting.   Cape Town Routes Unlimited Chairman Peter Bacon was critical of the separation between the two tourism bodies in his ‘Chairperson’s Review’: “… following the City of Cape Town’s withdrawal of its financial support and decision to mandate Cape Town Tourism to market the City and provide visitor support services on the ground. This effectively gave rise to the creation of a second Destination Marketing Organisation with the resultant confusion, duplication of effort and wasteful expenditure.”   Bacon does praise the closer co-operation between the Western Cape province, the City of Cape Town (which steadfastly is supporting Cape Town Tourism for the marketing of the Mother City) and municipalities in the province.   Cape Town Tourism is not mentioned by Bacon in this context.  Bacon states that the province is working on:

*  a clear vision for the development of the tourism industry

*  a single strategy with clearly defined roles, responsibilities and deliverables.

*   business plans for Cape Town Routes Unlimited,  Cape Town Tourism and other regional tourist organisations aligned to the goals and strategy of the province,

and this will lead to a Memorandum of Agreement to be signed between the Province and the City in the next twelve months, he writes.     

In his Chief Executive Officer’s Review, Gilfellan writes: “One of our organisation’s greatest achievements during this challenging year was that it established itself as a credible and authoritative voice in tourism”, on the basis of media comments requested from the organisation.   Many will question his claim.  He states that industry challenges are the following:

*   “overcoming the effects of the worse (sic) economic crisis to hit the the industry in 60 years

*   The slow pace of transformation and diversification of the industry

*   Stunted growth in our traditional core markets of the UK, Germany, Netherlands and France

*   Limited marketing resources compromising our global competitiveness, and

*   Institutional disarray leading to the current role confusion, duplication and possible fruitless expenditure.”

Gilfellan also looks to the future in his review, and calls for “a speedy resolution to the protracted institutional calamity”, referring to the problem between his organisation and Cape Town Tourism; Events, Sports and Business Tourism will capitalise on the World Cup; new target markets like Brazil, India, China, Russia, the Middle East and Africa must be targeted; a tourism community in which business, labour, government and the communities unify around a common vision and partnership;  embracing technological advances in marketing; promoting the principle of a ‘quadruple bottom line’, encouraging the tourism industry to pay attention to social responsibility, environmental sensitivity, economic imperative, and climate change.

In providing such detail to the industry, one can request Cape Town Routes Unlimited to connect with its stakeholders more frequently than once a year at a function; to allow stakeholders to ask questions so that a dialogue can be created at such functions; to inform stakeholders about achievements as frequently as possible, so that they can help spread the word about the work of the organisation (Cape Town Tourism is excellent at this);  to address the imbalance in “employment equity” by gender, occupation and population group; to improve its market research techniques, a weakness it shares with Cape Town Tourism; to contain any duplication in its marketing activities relating to Cape Town that is already managed by Cape Town Tourism; to address the non-sensical brand “Cape Town & Western Cape”;  and to speak to tourism leaders about how it can more effectively direct its marketing budget to the benefit of the industry, being Events, Events and more Events in the seasonal winter months. 

I am very impressed with Minister Winde, and how approachable he is – he has no airs and graces, picks up a phone to make a call to a tourism player with an opinion, is embracing social media with a Twitter account (@AlanWinde), and reads and comments on blogs related to tourism.  As an outcome to the presentation, hearing stakeholders reinforce how poor business is, he promised to set up a meeting to address the poor bookings issue, especially given the feedback from World Travel Market held in London last week that our country has priced itself out of the market.

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