Tag Archives: Conde Nast Traveller

Telegraph Travel ‘Cape Town City Break Guide’ an improvement, but not error-free!

After writing about the disastrous error-filled and outdated Conde Nast Traveller  Guide to Cape Town earlier this week, it was refreshing to see a link on Twitter about the Telegraph Travel’s  ‘Cape Town City Break Guide’, written by local travel writer and ‘destination expert’ Pippa de Bruyn (author of a ‘Frommer’s Guide’ to South Africa and to India, and of  ‘A Hedonist’s Guide to Cape Town’), resulting in a far more accurate guide for the tourist visiting Cape Town.

The Guide kicks off with the Beauty positioning for Cape Town (the one that Cape Town Tourism has just thrown away by using Inspirational’, as the new positioning for Cape Town, even though it is not unique for Cape Town and has been used by others, including Pick ‘n Pay!), in stating that “Cape Town is one of the most beautiful cities in the world”.  It is accompanied by a beautiful shot of Clifton, with the Twelve Apostles as backdrop.  The reasons for travelling to Cape Town are motivated as its ‘in-your-face beauty’; the pristine white beaches; the proximity of nature; spotting zebra and wildebeest on the slopes of Table Mountain; watching whales breaching in False Bay; being ‘halted by cavorting baboons near Cape Point’; being a contender for World Design Capital 2014 with its art galleries, ‘hip bars’, opera, and design-savvy shops; the unique marriage of Dutch-origin vegetable gardening, winemaking introduced by the French (this fact must be challenged, as it was the Dutch who established the first wine farms), Malay slaves’ spices, and English ‘Georgian mansions and Victorian terraced homes’;  its contrasts of pleasure and poverty, of ‘pounding seas and vine-carpeted valleys’, and its award-winning wines and produce offer ‘some of the best (and most affordable) fine dining in the world’.

The ‘Cape Town City Break Guide’ includes the following recommendations:

*   travel time is suggested as ‘pretty much any time of the year’, and a warning of wet Julys and Augusts now is inaccurate, given the wonderful non-winter weather experienced in Cape Town during both these months this year!

*   misleading is the claim that Cape Town offers the best land-based whale watching in the world – this positioning belongs to Hermanus, and is corrected a few pages further into the guide.   Also misleading is the claim that the best ‘summer deals’ are available in October and November – most accommodation establishments have the same rate for the whole summer, and do not drop rates at the start of summer.

*   it is up-to-date in that use of the MyCiti Bus is recommended to travel between the airport and the Civic Centre, as well as to the Waterfront.  Train travel between Cape Town and Simonstown is not recommended, due to dirty windows and lack of safety, one of the few negatives contained in the Guide.  The red City Sightseeing bus is recommended, as are bus tours, taxis, Rikkis, and car hire.

*  The ‘Local laws and etiquette’ section does not address either of these two points.  Instead, it warns against crime when walking or driving, and recommends that tourists should not ‘flash their wealth’.  Potential card-skimming in the Waterfront and at the airport is also a potential danger, travellers to Cape Town are told, not accurate, and unfair to these two Cape Town locations.

*   Tourist attractions recommended are Cape Point, driving via the Atlantic Seaboard and Chapman’s Peak; wine-tasting in Constantia; the Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens; exploring the city centre on foot, walking from the city centre to Green Point; taking a water taxi from the Convention Centre to the Waterfront; the Footsteps to Freedom Tour; the Company Gardens; the National Gallery; summer concerts at Kirstenbosch; tanning at Clifton beaches; shopping for wines or going on a wine tour; High Tea at the Mount Nelson hotel; going on tours which allow one to meet the ‘other half’  locals;  walking through the Waterfront or taking a sunset cruise; the Two Oceans Aquarium; eating fish and chips in Kalk Bay; going up Table Mountain by foot or cable car; day trips to Cape Point, the West Coast National Park to see the spring flowers, and the Winelands (referring to Franschhoek as the now out-of-date ‘Gourmet Capital of the Cape’, by stating that ‘it is the only place where you have award-winning restaurants within walking distance of each other’, not correct either).

*   in the ‘Cape Town Hotels’ section, it states disturbingly (and information out of date) that ‘Cape Town isn’t cheap’, and therefore suggests that clients stay in Oranjezicht, Tamboerskloof, Higgovale, and Bo-Kaap  (but none of these suburbs have restaurants, something guests would like to walk to by foot from their accommodation), as well as De Waterkant, the V&A Waterfront (probably one of the most expensive accommodation areas!), and ‘Greenpoint’ (sic).  Self-catering and ‘B&b’ (sic) accommodation is recommended.  Hotels previously reviewed by The Telegraph are listed: the Mount Nelson, Ellerman House, the Cape Grace, Cascades on the Promenade, Four Rosmead, An African Villa, Rouge on Rose, Fritz Hotel, and The Backpack hostel, an interesting mix of hotels, and not all highly-rated in its reviews. No newer ‘World Cup hotels’ are recommended. 

*   For nightlife, Camps Bay’s Victoria Road, Long Street and Cape Quarter are recommended.  Vaudeville is strongly recommended, but has lost a lot of its appeal.  Other specific recommendations are Asoka on Kloof Street, Fiction DJ Bar & Lounge, Crew Bar in De Waterkant, Julep off Long Street, and the Bascule bar at the Cape Grace.  The list seems out of date, with more trendy night-time spots being popular amongst locals.

*   The Restaurant section is most disappointing, given the great accolade given to the Cape Town fine-dining scene early in the guide. Four restaurants only are recommended, and many would disagree that these are Cape Town’s best, or those that tourists should visit: The Roundhouse in Camps Bay, Willoughby & Co in the Waterfront, 95 Keerom Street, and ‘Colcaccio (sic) Camps Bay’!  A special note advises ‘gourmet diners’ to check Eat Out and Rossouw’s Restaurants  for restaurants close to one’s accommodation.  Stellenbosch restaurants Overture, Rust en Vrede and Terroir are recommended, as are Le Quartier and Ryan’s Kitchen in Franschhoek, and La Colombe in Constantia.

*   Shopping suggestions include the city centre, Green Point, Woodstock, De Waterkant, and Kloof Street, the latter street not having any particularly special shops.  The Neighbourgoods Market in the Old Biscuit Mill is recommended as the ‘best food market in the country’ (locals may disagree, with the squash of undecided shoppers, and increasingly more expensive), and may recommend the City Bowl Market instead).  Art galleries are also recommended.

While the Telegraph Travel  ‘Cape Town City Break Guide’ is a massive improvement on the Condé Nast Traveller  Cape Town guide, even this guide contains unforgivable errors, which a local writer should not be making.  One would hope that Cape Town Tourism will get the errors fixed.  We also suggest that they recommend the addition of Cape Town’s many special city centre eateries, and that the accommodation list be updated.  The exclusion of Robben Island on the attraction list is a deficiency.   The delineation between recommendations for things to do in Cape Town is blurred in some instances with recommendations in towns and villages outside Cape Town, which may confuse tourists to the Mother City.  Overall, the Guide appears superficial and touristy, and does not reveal all the special gems that Cape Town has to offer.

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

Condé Nast Traveller guides tourists to Cape Town, with glaring errors!

A ‘Cape Town’ Google Alert two days ago alerted me to an(undated) Condé Nast Traveller  ‘Guide To Cape Town’, a twelve page listing of accommodation and restaurant recommendations, as well as containing suggestions for shopping, what to do, and what to see in Cape Town.  While all publicity is good for our city, it is interesting to read one of the world’s most highly regarded travel magazine’s tourist suggestions, and to note how out of date the guide is, and what blatant errors it contains.  One would have thought that Cape Town Tourism would work with the publisher of such a Guide, to check the accuracy of the content before it is published!

The introduction to the Guide is short and sweet: “With the striking Table Mountain as a backdrop, beautiful beaches and a relaxed and cosmopolitan atmosphere, it is no wonder Cape Town is attracting more visitors than ever.  Fortunately, there are enough stylish and affordable places for every visitor to stay in, ranging from chic boutique hotels in the city centre to out-of-town mansion houses.  The city also boasts historical buildings, interesting museums, shopping malls, restaurants, jazz cafés, theatres and nightclubs. On top of this, there are excellent surfing beaches and charming vineyards along the pristine coastline, and the spectacular Cape of Good Hope 70 km south of the city”.  Two observations: This description of Cape Town says “beauty”, long the positioning for Cape Town, but one that Cape Town Tourism has thrown away for the city, now focusing on ‘Inspiration’ for the city!  Second, the first glaring error is made, in writing about the inaccurate distance of the Cape of Good Hope from the city! 

*  Accommodation establishments are recommended across various price levels, denoted with £ symbols, up to 5 for the most expensive.  Interestingly Newmark Hotels’ Dock House, the Cape Royale Luxury Hotel, and the One&Only Cape Town are denoted at £££££, but the exact rate range is not defined.  However, Dock House dropped its rates by about 28 % recently, which is not reflected.  The Cape Grace Hotel was the city’s second most expensive hotel in the Cape Town hotel rate survey  we conducted earlier this month, but was given a ££££ rate rating by Condé Nast Traveller, as are No 7 Glen Beach, and the Table Bay Hotel.  Even more oddly, Ellerman House was the most expensive hotel in our survey, yet is indicated at only a £££ rate level, together with Ezard House, The Mount Nelson, the Grand Daddy (clearly not in the same price league), the Twelve Apostles Hotel, and POD in Camps Bay.  The Cellars-Hohenhort Hotel is rated at a ££ rate, odd for this very upmarket 5-star hotel, with the Hout Bay Manor, and the Bishop’s Court.  The most affordable rate recommendations are Head South Lodge, Hemingway House, Ikhaya Guest Lodge, Kensington Place, La Splendida, Les Cascades de Bantry Bay, Rosedene Lodge, The Walden House, and Welgelegen Guest House, with vastly varying rates in this most ‘affordable’ category.  We miss the über-trendy new Queen Victoria Hotel in this list. No ‘World Cup hotels’ are listed at all.

*   Restaurant recommendations are even more interesting, being Beluga, Blues (‘one of Cape Town’s best-known eateries’, says the Guide!), The Codfather, La Colombe (‘considered by many to be South Africa’s finest‘), Den Anker, Haiku, Giovanni’s Deli, La Perla, Mano’s, Noon Gun Tea Room & Restaurant, and Tokara (‘lots of springbok and ostrich, but also pasta and seafood’, probably describing the Tokara under the chefmanship of Etienne Bonthuys, who left almost a year ago.  Also, the restaurant is not in Cape Town!).  The list seems old as well as old-fashioned, and does not capture the exciting new city restaurant openings such as The Test Kitchen, Dash, Hemelhuijs, Caffe Milano, What’s On EateryLa Mouette, and Dear Me, and clearly is dated, based on the Tokara description.  Some of the restaurant recommendations included in the list are odd!

*   Nightlife recommendations are Marco’s African Place (for its jazz, and ‘indigenous and international cuisine with a smile’), and Marimba’s Cigar Bar in the Convention Centre.

*   Recommended attractions to see are Robben Island, the Two Oceans Aquarium, and Jazz at the Winchester Mansions, the latter hardly being a tourist attraction!

*   Recommended things to do are Camps Bay beach (except when the south-easter blows, the Guide qualifies), Clifton, walking, the City Bowl (‘a 15-minute drive from Cape Town city centre’!), Fourth Beach (mentioned again, even though mentioned under ‘Clifton’ already), Green Point, and Sea Point. Oddly, there is no mention of going to Cape Point or up Table Mountain, or even to Signal Hill, nor take the popular Hop On Hop Off bus!

*  Shopping recommendations are Belafonte (men’s clothing), Billie Boutique, African Image, Okha, The Plush Bazaar, Dolce and Banana, Olga Jewellery Design Studio, Peter Gilder, Greenmarket Square, the Waterfront Craft Market, and the ‘Victoria & Albert (sic) Waterfront’ (after 20 years of being in existence, this error is unforgivable)!   One wonders if the outlets mentioned are Cape Town’s finest.  A pity is that none of the lovely design outlets on the Cape Town Design Route are mentioned. 

*  In the section of how to get to Cape Town, the Guide does not even get the name of Cape Town Tourism correct, calling it ‘Tourism Cape Town’, on the basis of its web address!  It encourages visitors to visit the Pinnacle Building and other branches.  We urge Cape Town Tourism to provide correct details of its name to Condé Nast Traveller!  The Guide adds in this section: “avoid the tourist influx during December and January, when accommodation is expensive and hard to find, and stay clear of the gales from September – November”!  This is a very scary sentence, and is enough to wipe out the mainstay of the Cape Town international tourist support, with the inaccurate information about the ‘tourist influx’ (a window of 26 December – 3 January only), and the description of the south-easter is exaggerated and the time period mentioned not accurate!

*  A gross error in the Travel Information section is the reference to the languages ‘most commonly spoken’ in Cape Town are English, Afrikaans, Sesotho (!), isiXhosa and isiZulu(!).  It also lists Ascension Day as a public holiday (long been abolished).  Food that is popular is described as meat, especially sosaties (incorrectly described as ‘curried lamb chops’), ‘boerwors sausage’ (sic), and cuts of ‘springbok, kudu, bush-pig and eland cooked over wood coals’, a joke!  Fish, especially crayfish, is also on the menu, and ‘South Africa produces excellent wines, too’, says the Guide  An ‘interesting fact’ listed is that the country used to have two official languages, and now there are 11, it writes!  ‘Compulsory reading’ for future visitors to Cape Town is “Nelson Mandela’s autobiography Long Road (sic) to Freedom”!

The numerous errors and out-of-date information contained in the Condé Nast Traveller  Cape Town Guide are not only unforgivable for such a prestigious and influential travel publication, but are also damaging in their reference to the wind and New Year season.  One wonders whether the compiler of this Cape Town guide ever came to Cape Town, based on the geographical inaccuracies it contains!   Cape Town Tourism’s PR department should urgently address the inaccuracies in the Guide, when it has time in-between its incessant Tweeting!

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

South Africa positioned as world’s leading adventure destination

In the wake of the World Cup, which exposed South Africa to 1,26 billion TV viewers around the world, South Africa will be marketed by S A Tourism as the world’s leading adventure destination, said the Chief Marketing Officer of S A Tourism, Roshene Singh, at a presentation to tourism leaders at the Harbour Bridge Hotel in Cape Town yesterday.

The country’s R 800 million marketing budget will be focused on a number of different international and domestic marketing campaigns, which began prior to the World Cup, and are one year programmes designed for different target markets, to continue the positive momentum created by the World Cup to improve the country’s global competitiveness.   Those travellers that did not visit South Africa in June and July will be encouraged to feel that they missed out, and will be enticed to visit our country, given the country’s top infrastructure, great experiences and welcoming people.   Existing advertising campaigns with CNN, BBC World, SkyNews, EUROsport, Global Cinema, Conde Nast Traveller, Vogue, Vanity Fair and the Financial Times, combined with cinema advertising, social media marketing (including a Blog and Twitter), online media, Public Relations and websites, will continue in the next year, creating a reach of 1,4 billion consumers.  South Africa’s 130 embassies around the world can play a far greater role in marketing the country, it was said.

Domestically, the focus is on Sho’t left, which kick-started the ‘Fly the Flag’ and ‘Welcome’ campaigns, as well as a ‘Thank You’ campaign to thank South Africans for being proud hosts.  From next month, being Tourism Month, attractive travel packages will be rolled out for the next six months, to encourage South Africans to travel in their own country, supported by advertising on etv and all SABC TV stations.  Travelling will be built into the storyline of ‘Rhythm City’, an etv soapie, an outdoor billboard campaign, Twitter and Facebook communication, a mobi site on mobiles, and sponsorship of the travel sections of You, Huisgenoot and Drum are further means of boosting domestic tourism. Tollgate promotions, shopping mall promotions, and joint promotions with Thompson Holidays, Computicket, Flight Centre and Kulula, amongst others, have been planned.  Domestic tourism is the ‘bread and butter” of the tourism industry, said Singh.

Next month a new advertising campaign breaks, consisting of four commercials, following four couples who visited South Africa during the World Cup, each of the four couples having enjoyed 20 experiences in 10 days.  An Indian couple goes shark diving, bungie-jumping, motorcycling and enjoys good food. An American couple raves about the wonderful people they met here, the sunset safari they enjoyed, and the beauty of the country, saying that they will come back.  A British couple jumps down a “foefie slide”, goes shark-diving and kayaking, sees a rhino close-up, and expresses surprise about the many different parts of the country.  A Nigerian couple watches African dancing, has dinner in an aquarium, with sharks watching them, plays golf, enjoys wellness spoiling, and they say that their visit has made them fall in love with each other all over again.

To focus on the Adventure positioning of South Africa, the “Adventurers Wanted’ campaign with National Geographic seeks an “Adventure Ambassador” in Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, the United Kingdom, and the USA.  Collectively, they will form an “Adventure Tribe”, and will enjoy an ‘adventure of a lifetime in South Africa’, which will be filmed by the magazine.

Asked when the boring, unexciting “It’s Possible” payoff line for South Africa will be replaced, it was promising to hear Singh indicate that the International Marketing Council is focusing on changing its positioning for South Africa, to “inspiring new and different ways”, which means that S A Tourism will adapt its payoff line to be aligned with that of the country.

Social media marketing will become a stronger focus, especially via Facebook.  Expedia, Tripadvisor and WAYN.com are websites on which South Africa will be featured.  All communication will reflect the “warm, friendly, welcoming, exciting, amazing, awesome, ubuntu, people, place, culture destination by deploying authentic WOM (word of mouth) ambassadors”.  The major message of communication campaigns will be “triumphant, excited, passionate and celebratory”.  It will say “We did it! Thanks for coming, see you again soon.  We made 450 000 new friends …. and you have made 48 million new friends”.

Country specific campaigns planned  by S A Tourism are as follows:

*   Africa:  A “Thank You” campaign in Botswana, Angola, Democratic Republic of Congo, Mozambique, Nigeria, Ghana and Kenya, President Zuma thanking fellow Africans for their support in making this the best World Cup ever and for showcasing the best of South Africa, via newspaper and radio advertising.

*   Germany:   Promotional and sponsorship campaigns, around celebrities sharing their travel tips and experiences of South Africa

*   Italy:   Italian travellers share their South African experiences on blogs, billboards, ads, etc, focusing on food, design and adventure.

*   France:   focus on adventure and nature, via a mix of above and below the line media

*   Netherlands:   Blog competitions, and treasure hunt promotion

*   India:   “Super Six” promotion, plays on the country’s cricket interest and our Big Six.  Multi-media focus.

*   China:   Travel fairs, photography promotion, social media.

*   United Kingdom:   “1001 things you did not know about South Africa” promotion with Lonely Planet, advertorials in Times and Conde Nast media groups’ publications, travel offers sent to 1,8 million Travelzoo subscribers, a travel road show to sustain the momentum by motivating agents to sell South Africa, a partnership with Emirates in an advertising campaign, and many more activities for this market.

*  USA:   Direct mail to Conde Nast database, promotion with National Geographic, and advertising campaign, inviting Americans to “go places you’ve never gone before, take the journey”.

*   Brazil:   Media invited to South Africa, to experience the country.  The SABC has been invited by Brazil to assist with the broadcast of the 2014 World Cup.

The visuals shown for the marketing campaigns have a strong focus on wildlife, the giraffe featuring most strongly to communicate this strength of South Africa.  Disappointingly, little of Cape Town is shown, Table Mountain, Blouberg and Boulders’ Beach being the most featured Cape Town images, and Cape Town was most prominent in the Chinese and Japanese communication programmes.

The Olympic Bid for 2020 is on S A Tourism’s agenda, said new S A Tourism CEO Thandiwe January-McLean, who took over the helm six months ago, having previously been the South African Ambassador to Portugal.  Dirk Elzinga, new Chairman of FEDHASA Cape, reminded SA Tourism that Cape Town has added on 25 % more hotel rooms in the past year, and that the city needs help in improving occupancy via events and conferences, which receive little focus from the marketing body, he felt.

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