Entries tagged with “conferences”.


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.  (more…)

imageWesgro has announced that its Cape Town and Western Cape Convention Bureau has won the bid to host the World Ophthalmology Congress, with 15000 delegates, in 2020.  The Congress will be one of the largest medical meetings in the world, and the largest ever held in Cape Town.

The value of the Congress has been (more…)

imageTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*.   Noma owner Chef René Redzepi has announced that he is closing down the tasting menu Noma on 31 December 2016, moving to the Christiania suburb in Copenhagen, where he will build a glass house over a derelict skating park for a new restaurant, and create an urban farm. The produce served as well as the place settings will change as the seasons change.  In January next year Noma sets up a pop-up restaurant in Sydney for 10 weeks.

*   The Western Cape Government’s Tourism department has made a detailed analysis of the new visa regulations, and their (more…)

Shimmy logo Whale CottageLast week a group of writers was invited to try the new Winter Menu at Shimmy Beach Club, on a beautiful sunny day. The impact of GM Clayton Howard is visible, compared to my last visit to Shimmy about a year ago, when it was in a sad state, Clayton giving the Club new energy, a chic character, and introducing aShimmy Clayton Howard Whale Cottage vastly improved menu.

We were told that the owners of Shimmy Beach Club also own other properties, including Bloemendal in Durbanville, and we were served their Waterlily wines for the lunch. A small hotel is being established on the wine estate, and Shimmy Chef Adrian Cook also spends one day a week at Bloemendal, and its restaurant Bon Amis. Clayton told me that new staff is being sourced from the hotel sector, given the growing (more…)

CapeTownTourism AGM Cake Whale CottageLast night Cape Town Tourism held what many say is the best AGM ever, with a dynamic and funny keynote speaker Vusi Thembekwayo, and a very entertaining Anton Groenewald from the City of Cape Town  Tourism, Events, and Marketing Directorate, being the highlight of the event held at the Tsogo Sun Cape Sun, which celebrated the 10th anniversary of Cape Town Tourism since its re-invention in 2004.

I arrived late, returning from Franschhoek, as Groenewald was speaking.  He kindly gave me his notes, for use for writing this blogpost.  His Mayoral Committee member for Tourism, Events, and Marketing, Councillor Garreth Bloor, was present, and many a joke was at his expense.  Groenewald started his talk by reflecting on the past three years in which he has headed up theCapeTownTourism AGM Anton Groenewald Whale Cottage Tourism Directorate of the City, and has spent R1,5 billion.  He confirmed the three-year agreement signed with Cape Town Tourism, which came with a promise of R120 million over the next three years.   Reflecting on the successes of the past year, Groenewald presented its highlights as being World Travel Market Africa, a collaboration with Thebe Reed, which attracted 4500 trade visitors and 220 media, and for which the city has signed for another two (more…)

WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*   President Jacob Zuma has announced that the General Election will take place on 7 May. (via Twitter)

*   Wifi availability and its smooth operation is a ‘deal breaker’ for business as well as leisure travellers, in choosing their accommodation, being more important than any other criterion.  In an analysis of 53 million reviews written in English, 2 million mentioned wifi/wi-fi and internet, and found a correlation between non-availability and poor connectivity with lower scores for the establishment out of a total of 5.  However, a perfect wifi service is not rewarded with a 5/5 score, as it is taken for granted that it should be available and work perfectly.

*   A Safari in Africa ranks third on the 10Best Readers Choice Best Bucket List.   Top of the Bucket List is the Galapagos Islands in Ecuador, followed by Alaska.  The South Pacific Islands, Italy, Greece, Ireland, New Zealand, the Pyramids, and the Swiss Alps are also on the top 10 Bucket List.

*   A restaurant collection called bunnychow has opened in London, Bath, and Chester in the (more…)

Excellent news to warm up a depressed tourism winter is the announcement in yesterday’s Cape Times that a new cruise liner terminal is finally being planned for Cape Town’s port.

Transnet owns the harbour, and last week called for ‘submissions of interest in the funding, construction and operation of a terminal’. The tender notice calls for interested parties to meet on 6 June, and submit their tenders by 29 June.

The poor state of the current temporary facilities for cruise line tourist embarkation in the Cape Town harbour has been heavily criticised, making it less attractive for cruise liners to call on Cape Town as a result.  Until January this year, cruise liners were preferring to dock in the V&A Waterfront, but a Department of Home Affairs directive forbade this due to security concerns for passengers visiting Cape Town. Since then the V&A Waterfront has been calling for support in getting the cruise liners back into its quays again, as it is good for their tenants’ business.  Western Cape Minister of Tourism Alan Winde has been working on the issue too, recently meeting the national Minister of Home Affairs Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, who told him to call on national Minister of Tourism Marthinus van Schalkwyk, it being a tourism issue.  It was her department, however, which issued the directive as to the docking of cruise liners, and forbade the future docking in the V&A Waterfront. City of Cape Town Tourism, Events and Marketing Mayoral Committee member Grant Pascoe promised in January to address the cruise liner issue, but appears to not have done anything to date!

Some ships like the Queen Mary 2, which has visited twice in recent months, is too large to be accommodated in the V&A Waterfront, and therefore a new cruise liner terminal in the main port would be first prize.  It has been suggested that due to the relatively small number of cruise line visits to date, that the new cruise liner terminal be developed as a multifunctional venue, suitable for weddings and conferences too.  FEDHASA Cape Chairman Dirk Elzinga welcomed the news: ‘the hospitality industry would be delighted if a cruise liner terminal was built. It’s long overdue. At the moment the cruise liner facilities are non-existent. If there’s a good cruise terminal then operators will definitely do their best to bring more business to Cape Town‘, which would benefit Cape Town’s hotel industry.

One hopes that tenders for the development of the Cape Town cruise liner terminal will be found, despite the continued economic depression, even if it were to become a joint project between the City of Cape Town and the Western Cape government, as is the Cape Town International Convention Centre.  Cape Town is perfectly positioned to play a far greater role in cruise tourism, and currently is a shabby competitor to Durban, which harbour has developed good facilities to welcome cruise liner tourists to its city.

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

Once a year Cape Town Routes Unlimited and the Western Cape Department of Economic Development and Tourism host a Tourism Destination Conference, inviting a broad spectrum of tourism players across the Western Cape to be recharged and stimulated, after a long and busy summer season.  The theme on Tuesday was ‘Cultural Tourism: Bringing the past, present and future together’, and it was Cape Town Mayor Patricia de Lille who pleaded for an expansion of this type of tourism, to embrace a broader spectrum of cultures in the Cape.  The current contribution of Tourism to the provincial GDP of 10 % can grow to 15% by 2015, Western Cape provincial Tourism Minister Alan Winde predicted.

A short media conference generated more valuable information than many of the morning Conference speakers, who indulged badly in over-running their time allocation, over-powering the audience with slide information, and having technical presentation issues.  There were no themes to address in the media conference, and attendees could ask questions, allowing more relevant tourism issues to be discussed with Minister Winde, Mayor de Lille, Western Cape Minister of Cultural Affairs & Sport Dr Ivan Meyer, new Chairman of Cape Town Routes Unlimited Deon Cloete from ACSA, and Cape Town Routes Unlimited CEO Calvyn Gilfellan.  Interesting was the news that Peter Bacon was not available to continue as Chairman of Cape Town Routes Unlimited, moving to Mauritius. One had high hopes of Mr Bacon, coming from the hospitality industry, but he made little visible progress for the organisation.  From next week Cape Town Routes Unlimited will move in with Wesgro, and both bodies will evaluate how they can market Cape Town as a tourism and an investment destination, without duplication of marketing monies. The joint collaboration will enable operational costs to be reduced, to allow more funds to be available for marketing. The Western Cape Tourism Act and the Wesgro Act will be rewritten, to allow the amalgamation of the two bodies. A Transitional steering committee has been formed, and an Annual Performance Plan has been prepared for the next year, defining the expected deliverables.

Cultural Tourism will become a focus to counter Seasonality in the Western Cape, we were told, with more events and conferences planned in the winter months.  But Minister Winde was quick to remind us that solutions to Seasonality do not lie with his department, but with the private sector, in creating the events and conferences. The provincial Tourism authority can support and help market them.  It is clear that too few such events are held in winter.  Mr Cloete said that Seasonality has been addressed, in that the peaks and off-peaks have grown, and that airlines are extending their length of season of flying to Cape Town. Minister Winde also encouraged the tourism industry to use the ‘Green Season’ to recharge one’s batteries, to train staff, to pay attention to maintenance issues, and to take annual leave at this time of the year, and not over the Festive Season, when Cape Town and the province are at their busiest, a commendable call.

Mayor de Lille spoke passionately about Cultural Tourism, saying that ‘Cape Town has a rich tapestry of culture’, but she called on the Cape Town tourism industry to become more comprehensive in reflecting all past and current cultures through routes, i.e. a Malay Route, Slave Route, San/Khoi Route, and also going back further than 360 years in talking about the history of Cape Town. She added: “The future we are trying to craft as a leading city of Africa and the developing world is tied to where we have come from.  Our future starts from our past and, as is fitting for our great society, the building blocks from which we make our city tomorrow are strong and varied…. we share our heritage with those who want to build the future together with us”.

Minister Winde also said that we should show more pride in our culture and resources, and used the example of a harvest festival in Dijon, celebrated in most towns in France, but rarely seen locally.  The Minister had clearly been to the Oesfees at Solms-Delta last weekend, raving about how the farming staff and local community celebrate the end of the harvest with local music and food.  He also highlighted Robben Island, the West Coast Fossil Park, and other cultural treasurers, raising the question of how such treasures could be ‘commercialised’, to make them accessible to visitors and be marketed to them.  He said that ‘we must own each other’s history to become one nation‘.  The Minister had an interesting plan for the Robben Island ferries not running on bad weather days, in that tourists would be shown an Imax film in The Pavilion Conference Centre in the V&A Waterfront.  Dr Meyer spoke about a new slogan R2D2 (Redress, Reconciliation, Diversity, and Delivery) in Cultural Tourism being expanded, ‘to heal our nation’, we were told.  The change in street names in Cape Town is another form of Cultural Tourism.

Minister Winde was asked about cruise tourism, and a cruise liner terminal in the Cape Town port.  Given the seasonality in cruise tourism, a new terminal building would have to be a multi-use one, to make it financially viable. He said this would not happen in the near future, and someone would have to claim ownership in creating such a building.  The Minister said that he is continuing with discussions at a provincial and national level.

Quinton Coetzee was the star speaker of the day, with his well-spoken and entertaining presentation about the San people, drawing parallels between their community and how we run companies.  One always has high expectations of Dr Nikolaus Eberl, who has been closely involved in the German and South African World Cups, but talking about the Berlin polar bear Knut for a second year had no Cultural Tourism learning points. New SA Tourism CEO Thulani Nzima paid his first official visit to Cape Town since his appointment, and his presentation was embarrassing, in taking twice as long as the time he had been allocated, the slides were over-full with information, and the speaker had not done any technical tests before his presentation.  He spoke about the Domestic Tourism Strategy, being ‘collaborative and not the exclusive domain of any body’, he said.  Statistics presented showed that domestic tourism showed no growth between 2007 and 2010.  The potential target market of 18+ year olds earning an income of R3000 per month is 8,2 million. Fourteen segments were identified, and reduced down to five priorities.  The largest segment of these was named ‘New Horizon Families’, a potential market of 1,8 million, about 35 years old, ‘Black, Coloured and Indian’, earning R5000 – R10000 per month, and spending R10000 on a ten-day trip for a family of 2 adults and 2 children. They stay in 3-star Bed & Breakfasts or self-catering accommodation, and go on holiday every 2 – 3 years. They are attracted by airline specials, and enjoy heritage-related activities and educational trips.  The goal of travel is to educate their children, to spend quality time together as a family, and is a reward for their hard work.  The Domestic Tourism strategy should persuade 2,6 million locals to visit other regions in their country, with a pay-off line “See your world as the world sees it”!  Provincial meetings are held, to prevent duplication of marketing activities, Mr Nzima said.  He seemed to evade a question as to the size of the Domestic Tourism marketing budget, but did confirm a ring-fenced R50 million allocation to market to Africa this year, and R84 million for each of the two years thereafter, setting up SA Tourism offices in Angola and Nigeria as a start.

Minister Winde has been encouraged to move this annual conference to the ‘Green Season’, so that more can attend in general, and attend for a larger part of the day, given that tourism businesses cannot spare their management for a full day before the end of the season.  The food of The Pavilion in the V&A Waterfront could be vastly improved, and perhaps wine estates and top restaurants could be invited to present their products to the industry at the Conference next year.   Not one speaker kept to the allocated half an hour, and therefore the Conference ran very badly over time, and many presentations became boring as a result. Cape Town Routes Unlimited will have to be far harsher in its time management of the Conference, and should introduce more variety of speakers, not repeating the same speakers every year. The organisation should not shy away from controversy, in allowing important industry issues to be debated in open forums through questions and discussions.  Successful industry case studies in surviving the recession etc. could be of greater value than a presentation of the marketing of (now deceased) Knut the Berlin polar bear!

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

Excellent news at Meetings Africa 2012 came last week from Minister of Tourism Marthinus van Schalkwyk, in that 200 international conferences have been signed up for the next five years, are likely to attract 300000 delegates, and promise to boost the economy by R1,6 billion in this period, reports Business Live.

Research shows that business tourists return as leisure tourists (40% for South Africa, and 23 % for Melbourne).  Just under half of business tourists bring a partner.   On average, a leisure tourist spends R1000 per day.

The Minister said that ‘we want to… make our destination more competitive in this market. We want to grow our global market share, which will require government and the private sector to work closely together as partners to shape the future of business tourism, to grow business tourism arrivals, and to fulfill the rich potential of destination SA as a business tourism destination’.

The National Convention Bureau, which is part of SA Tourism, is headed up by ex-Capetonian Amanda Kotze-Nhlapo and opens in April, and will boost our country’s national business tourism marketing.  The Bureau will be a neutral independent body providing information and advice about all business tourism events. Services offered include pre- and post-bid support, destination expertise, building attendance, convention planning support, and on-site event services, according to the Minister’s media statement.   A target of supporting 30 conference bids, and attracting 18000 delegates and R162000 in direct income, has been set for its inaugural 2012/2013 year.

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

Cape Town Tourism has been conducting a series of ‘Brand Cape Town’ workshops since late last year, to share with its members as well as bloggers and other stakeholders what the outcome has been of a brainstorming session to find a positioning for Cape Town and what it can/should be, and to focus its marketing activities, not only from a Tourism perspective, but also from a general Business approach. 

Scanning the external environment, it identified threats such as the economic crisis, global urbanisation, and a greater consciousness about the impact of flying on the environment and climate change.  It also faced the reality that the seasonality in Cape Town’s tourism industry, unique to our city compared to others in the country, reflects that Cape Town does not have enough business tourism, being the result perhaps of too large a focus on Leisure Tourism in the past, and too little on attracting businesspersons to have their meetings, events and conferences in Cape Town.  Comparing the positioning of major world cities, e.g. Paris is Romance, New York is Energy, London is Tradition, it has historically been Beauty for Cape Town. Through its analysis, it was identified that the positioning of Inspiration is an overarching one that can position Cape Town beyond its more narrow tourism focus, to a broader one, reflecting the strengths of the City in respect of beauty, freedom, innovation, hope, creativity, diversity, dreams, ideas, and solutions to problems.

We have been critical about what we have seen in print about the Brand Cape Town workshops, but a completely different picture emerged in the presentation, which I was invited to attend last week, the last in the process of sharing the outcome of the brainstorm, and in obtaining input to the content of the branding and marketing debate.  To justify the positioning of Inspiration, Cape Town Tourism CEO Mariette du Toit-Helmbold took the attendees through the various ways in which Cape Town inspires its citizens, its local visitors, and its international tourists.  It was an inspiring presentation, and afterwards I felt proudly Capetonian in having learnt a lot more about the achievements of our city and its people.  The following were some of the Inspiration highlights identified for Cape Town in the presentation:

*   Nelson Mandela took his first steps of freedom in Cape Town, and Cape Town should own this historic moment

*   quality education facilities, with four top class universities in Cape Town and Stellenbosch.  Stanford has set up a satellite campus in the city, and Harvard is said to follow suit.   UCT had been voted top university in Africa, and best value for Money MBA in world in a Financial Times survey

*   safe CBD

*   excellent and modern infrastructure, including the airport, the IRT bus system, the station, highways, and the Cape Town Stadium

*   ‘cosmopolitan entry point into South Africa and Africa’

*   Focus on Biodiversity, with the smallest but most bountiful floral kingdom.  Kirstenbosch has won gold or silver for the past 33 years at the Chelsea Flower Show in London

*   Excellent healthcare facilities, with pioneering medical leadership, including Dr Christiaan Barnard’s heart transplant world first

*   One of best value guest house and B&B cities, offering not only 5-star accommodation

*   An historic port city

*   The V&A is South Africa’s leading tourist destination, and has further development plans

*   The Green Point Urban Park

*   A living heritage in the Castle, the oldest building in South Africa

*   A historic showcase of creativity at the Iziko museums and galleries

*   Living contemporary culture with African and European roots, which is not gumboot dancing!

*   Rich music tradition, in goema and Cape Minstrel music, but also current, with Goldfish, Jack Parow, Freshly Ground, Kyle Shepherd, Locnville, Die Antwoord, and Abdullah Ibrahim.  The Cape Town International Jazz Festival has become a world event.

*   Sporting tradition, in hosting the world’s largest timed Argus Cycle race, and the Volvo Ocean Race includes Cape Town, and sportspersons such as Para-Olympic star Natalie du Toit, and the development of the paddleyak

*   A theatre tradition, with Athol Fugard receiving a Lifetime Achievement award at the Tony’s for his plays

*   Africa’s first billionaire and space traveller Mark Shuttleworth, and his Shuttleworth Foundation, supporting IT development.  Development of Silicon Cape.

*   Sustainability Institute of the University of Stellenbosch

*   The Cape Town International Convention Centre is the leading convention centre in Africa

*   The leading builder of twin-hull catamarans

*  The favourite film and photography location, because of the beauty of and good light in the city, and the potential of a James Bond movie being shot in the city

*  Nobel Peace Prize winners such as Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Past President FW de Klerk

*   Table Mountain, which is a finalist for the New7Wonders of the World

*   Visits by magnificent Southern Right whales, home to penguins

*   Environmentally-friendly Green Cabs, and the opening up of cycle and pedestrian routes in the city 

*   Leading environmental and sustainable city, with all new low-cost housing built with solar geyser panels, and wind-farming in Darling.  ‘Smart Living Handbook’ for sustainability written by City of Cape Town 

*   Three wine routes within Cape Town and 16 on the city’s doorstep, with many boutique wine farms

*   Beer tourism is a new segment, with 40 micro breweries within a 2-hour drive of Cape Town.  Inspiring new BOS ice-tea 

*   Fresh produce markets, with organic foods, outstanding restaurants such as The Test Kitchen and Mzoli’s Meat define Cape Town, and the plan is to develop a Master Chefs Cape Town series.   Having Justin Bonello showcase South African food is a boost for the city.  Charly’s Bakery is a passionate, all-women team, who baked a cake representing Cape Town for the Design Indaba.

*   Cape Town is one of three finalists for World Design Capital 2014, with Bilbao and Dublin, spearheaded by the Cape Town Partnership.  The judges will be in Cape Town from 24 – 27 July, and the winning city will be announced on 26 October. The Design Indaba is a design highlight for the country, with its annual conference and exhibition.  At the last exhibition, attendees were asked to write in support of the city’s bid – this comment summarised what Cape Town stands for: “Cape Town’s people are her most beautiful landscape”.

*    Cape Town has a vibrant fashion scene, designer Dion Chang saying that “The tip of Africa is the tipping point”.

*   Cape Town is at the center of the magazine publishing industry.

*   The city has excellent furniture designers

*   The Joule electric car is being built in Cape Town, the first in Africa.

*   Cape Town has more Social Media users than any other part of the country 

 During her presentation, Mrs Helmbold made a number of statements about our city:

*   Economy based on tourism, finance, infrastructure, food and wine, logistics, and creative industries.

*   Cape Town is at the tipping point, either sinking into oblivion, or living up to the accolades it is reaping

*   Cape Town has been in a brand vacuum since the World Cup – not spending money on marketing the city will lead us to the example of Sydney, which is seeing a steady decline in visitors as it decided to not market the city after the 2000 Olympics

*   A destination is not just a slogan or a logo

*   Cape Town is a city of contrasts, of haves and have-nots

*   Brand Cape Town’s strength is Tourism (Visit), it is neutral on its education and residential facilities (Live and Learn), and weak on its potential as a centre of employment and investment (Work and Invest).

*   Cape Town underperforms in domestic tourism, mainly relative to Durban

*   Conversion of holidaymakers into business tourists is needed for Cape Town, and business visitors must be encouraged to return as holidaymakers, as Cape Town is weak as a Business Brand

*   Cape Town is a ‘challenger brand’ which does not have a long-established history, and stands for freedom, freshness and transformation, attractive to a world that has got tired of visiting boring places. “Challenger brands harness the power of authenticity, locals first, emotional pull, storytelling (Word of Mouse)”.

*   The pillars of Cape Town are Robben Island; its cultural diversity; the food and wine industry; Biodiversity; Table Mountain; Cape of Good Hope; hubs of innovation, creativity, enterprise and government; higher education and skills training; Sports and MICE; and Colour and Light.  

Cape Town Tourism is to assist business-related bodies in the city to market the city with a ‘brand box’.   It has worked with Accelerate, Cape Town Routes Unlimited, Wesgro, Cape Town Partnership, and the City of Cape Town in developing the new positioning for Cape Town, to establish it as ‘one of the top world cities to live, work, invest, learn and visit, in order to drive inclusive economic growth and social transformation in Cape Town’.  The presentation we attended was the last, and the implementation phase will now commence, Mrs Helmbold said.  In question time, FEDHASA Cape chairman Dirk Elzinga stated that great things are happening in Cape Town, but ‘we are not telling the world’, he said.

Mel Miller, former ad agency owner and creative director, and ex Cape Town Tourism Board member, is very critical of Cape Town’s new ‘Inspirational’ positioning, saying that it has been used by Edinburgh (‘Inspiring Capital’) already.  Miller points out that a previous tourism strategy consultant to Cape Town Tourism comes from Edinburgh! 

Mrs Helmbold showed a video presentation by Silver Bullet meant to represent Cape Town.  It was certainly not one of a beautiful Cape Town, but one of a very cloudy looking Cape Town, with a lot of focus on clouds billowing over Table Mountain and the Twelve Apostles, and what appeared as a fast-speed race through Cape Town.  I was NOT inspired by it, and it did not represent any of the Inspiration that Mrs Helmbold had presented to the audience.

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