It was a moving day on Saturday, one which we will not forget in a long time. South Africa won the World Cup Rugby for the third time, continuing a twelve year winning streak cycle. A black captain would have been unheard of in a national sport that was dominated by Afrikaans players in the past. It was a day in which transformation in our country made world history. How proud the late Nelson Mandela would have been, so present at the 1995 World Cup Final when we won. Continue reading →
The year is coming to a close, and has seen a major change, in that we sold all our guest houses, to create a new beginning Continue reading →
More than a year since the introduction of the first onerous Visa Regulations in June last year, an Inter-Ministerial Committee chaired by Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa has announced changes to the regulations, tremendous news for the Tourism industry.
The new improved revised Visa regulations: Continue reading →
Tourism consultancy Grant Thornton has calculated that the impact of the Visa Regulations, introduced in part in 2014 and in part this year, will cost our economy R2,6 billion and 5800 jobs this year, contrary to the government’s goal of growing the economy and aiding job creation.
The inter-ministerial committee consisting of representatives of the Departments of Tourism and Home Affairs, chaired by Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, appears to be close to a ‘compromise‘, but details have not been announced officially by the Department of Home Affairs. The Committee has Continue reading →
*. 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 Continue reading →
* The inter-Ministerial committee to discuss the effect of the new visa regulations on the Tourism industry will be led by Deputy-President Cyril Ramaphosa, who will address all aspects relating to the implementation of the regulations. He said: ‘We are going to try and find a rational and implementable method of bringing about a balance so that we do not sacrifice our security but at the same time we also deal with the negative economic impact that has been brought about‘! Continue reading →
Almost daily we see a new report about the damage that the new Immigration Regulations are causing to our country’s Tourism industry, with drastic reductions in the number of tourist arrivals despite a very favorable exchange rate. Interesting too has been the defensive reaction of the Department of Home Affairs to the criticism raised by the Tourism industry, its Minister Malusi Gigaba not wishing to admit to ‘the unintended consequences of South Africa’s new visa regulations‘.
Now Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa is to chair a meeting between the two departments, welcome news if he is able to quickly find a solution to the Tourism disaster. The meeting was due to be held today, but has been cancelled as it does not suit the Deputy President’s diary.
Earlier this week Tourism Minister Derek Hanekom admitted to the South African Association for the Conference Industry congress that the visa regulations ‘have had an impact on tourism’. He referred to the Ministerial committee which was appointed to ‘consider and review the unintended consequences‘, and requested the conference industry to commit to work together ‘and make the best of the growth opportunities emerging around us’. He added: ‘I am confident that we will approach that meeting with an intention of finding solutions. I don’t think we should downplay the impact that this has had on our industry‘.
Minister Hanekom suggested that the industry focus on Domestic Tourism, to compensate for the decline in international tourist arrivals. Conferences should be used as a marketing opportunity for promoting leisure tourism to business delegates attending conferences. He referred to the 177 association conferences which will be held in our country in the best five years, to be attended by more than 250000 delegates.
Home Affairs Minister Gigaba has denied that the visa regulations have affected tourist arrivals, as we reported last week. The Tourism industry has been disappointed that it has taken Minister Hanekom so long to publicly take a stand about the visa regulations, and their effect on Tourism, referring to the ‘worrying drop‘ in tourism numbers. He highlighted the 40% decline in tourist from China in the first quarter of this year. The Minister has become bolder in criticising his Home Affairs colleagues, accusing them of using over-inflated numbers to dramatize the ‘child-trafficking‘ problem. He said: ‘Trafficking is a problem, it [the numbers] probably was exaggerated. Some of the figures mooted were not very accurate’.
I had seen a news report about Mayor Patricia de Lille taking a stand against allegations of racism in Cape Town, and did not take any note of it, the R-word being a very sensitive one (increasingly so, I feel), which can potentially lead to abuse and other criticism. I changed my mind when I saw a series of advertisements in the latest Atlantic Sun, and as I was on the receiving end of an extreme attack of racism in Green Point last week.
Mayor de Lille appears to have reacted to allegations by Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa that Cape Town is ‘racist‘, obviously implying that ‘White’ residents of the city are racist towards residents of other population groups in Cape Town. She launched the ‘Inclusive City‘ campaign and ‘Cape Town against Racism’ advertising campaign on Human Rights Day on 24 March.
The advertising campaign is visible in the Cape Town freesheets, being a series of three full- Continue reading →
* Marthinus van Schalkwyk, Minister of Tourism for the past 10 years, has fallen off the list of Ministers and Deputy Ministers in the latest Cabinet list presented by President Jacob Zuma this weekend. Minister Derek Hanekom takes over as Minister of Tourism, with the same Deputy Minister. Many new Departments have been created.
The full Cabinet list of 35 Ministers and 37 Deputy Ministers (some Departments have more than one Deputy) is as follows (source Daily Maverick):
The President is Mr Jacob Zuma
The Deputy President is Mr Cyril Ramaphosa.
1. The Minister in the Presidency is Mr Jeff Radebe.
2. The Minister of Women in the Presidency is Ms Susan Shabangu.
3. The Minister of Justice and Correctional Services is Mr Michael Masutha.
4. The Minister of Public Service and Administration is Mr Collins Chabane.
5. The Minister of Defence and Military Veterans is Ms Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula.
6. The Minister of Home Affairs is Mr Malusi Gigaba.
7. The Minister of Environmental Affairs is Ms Edna Molewa.
8. The Minister of State Security is Mr David Mahlobo.
9. The Minister of Telecommunications and Postal Services is Dr Siyabonga Cwele. Continue reading →
Valentine’s Day is excellent for business in the Cape in February, and this year is no different. Falling on Thursday, it is being celebrated this weekend, with numerous couples taking a romantic break, and weddings galore are taking place, with couples from all over the world saying ‘I do’ in the world’s most beautiful city and winelands.
Previously Franschhoek held the honours of the Wedding Capital of South Africa, and is still popular as a wedding destination. Whilst we had seen a decline in weddings in the gourmet and wine valley in the past two years, we are surprised at the vast number of wedding guests we are accommodating at Whale Cottage Camps Bay currently, attending weddings in Cape Town and in Stellenbosch in particular.
Berlin-based Benjamin Pochhammer and his fiancée Johanna Henning chose to marry in the Cape because Benjamin had studied at UCT. Bringing Julia to Cape Town to show her the beautiful city, they decided to get married in sunny Cape Town instead of in wintry Berlin. More than 100 of their friends flew in from Germany and other countries for the wedding, for which a detailed wedding programme had been prepared for the wedding guests, all concentrated in Camps Bay. So, for example, they played Beach Volleyball followed by drinks and snacks at Café Caprice. The next day a special party was held at The Grand Camps Bay exclusively for the wedding party guests. The wedding was held last Wednesday at Webbersburg in Stellenbosch, to which the guests were bussed to and from Camps Bay. The day after the wedding they guests were invited to an afternoon braai in Camps Bay. All wedding guests were sent a list of suggestions of Camps Bay and Cape Town restaurants and bars, and recommended tourist attractions and outings. Roughly calculated, the wedding will have generated R1 million in income for Camps Bay in the five day wedding period, in addition to the R400000 costs of the wedding event.
Yesterday we welcomed the close family from Austria, Australia, the UK, and Johannesburg of Niki Foreman, originally from the UK, and Tom Dirnberger, originally from Johannesburg, who met in London and now live in Sydney. They have booked seven rooms at Whale Cottage Camps Bay for the next five days, before they move across to Stellenbosch, to the wedding venue at Marianne wine estate. Their wedding party consists of about 60 guests, and their contribution to Camps Bay alone should be in the region of R 500000.
We also accommodated a guest who attended the wedding of her step brother at the Twelve Apostles hotel on Valentine’s Day. Yesterday four American guests arrived, for a wedding of a nephew, which will be held in Paarl. All pre-wedding festivities are being held in Camps Bay. At Whale Cottage Camps Bay we are also hosting the Wolthaus couple from Germany for eight days, celebrating their 25th wedding anniversary with us on Monday.
Yesterday the posh wedding of Nathi Mthethwa and Philiswe Buthelezi, with 500 guests, was held at Allée Bleue, the menu having been developed by Chef Reuben Riffel. It was attended by President Jacob Zuma, Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe, Cyril Ramaphosa, Tokyo Sexwale, and Mangosuthu Buthelezi, reports the Sunday Times.
Cape Town and the Winelands deserve to be named the ‘Cape of Love’, and this romantic wedding tourism should be heavily promoted, as it benefits the accommodation, restaurant, tourism, wedding venue, wine, and related industries. It is also a feel-good type of tourism, the guests being in a particularly good mood, loving every minute of their stay in Cape Town and the Winelands, and the wedding celebrations they have travelled to from far!
Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com Twitter: @WhaleCottage