Tag Archives: exchange rate

‘Phenomenal season’ for Tourism, says Western Cape Tourism Minister Winde!

imageWestern Cape Minister of Economic Opportunities, Alan Winde, whose portfolio includes Tourism, has described the Tourism season lying ahead as ‘phenomenal‘. He has welcomed tourists visiting our province.

Since October the hospitality industry has improved dramatically, Continue reading →

WhaleTales Tourism, Food, and Wine news headlines: 11 September

imageTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*.  Despite the Rand exchange rate being at its best ever for international visitors, no surge in tourism bookings is being seen. The after-effect of last year’s Ebola crisis, and the new visa regulations, have affected tourism numbers from China, India, and Brazil in particular. Hotelier Arthur Gillis said that the golden opportunity of the exchange rate was negated by the visa regulations, and said that we ‘shoot ourselves in the foot’.

*   Cape Town was featured in ‘Leute Heute’ on ZDF German TV this afternoon, with actor Kai Schumann Continue reading →

WhaleTales Tourism, Food, and Wine news headlines: 17 August

imageTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*   Despite the Rand reaching its lowest level ever to the Pound, at just over R20, and weakening further against the Dollar, no positive impact of the exchange rate is visible in terms of tourism enquiries from the UK and the USA!

*   SA Tourism CEO Thulani Nzimi has advised the tourism industry Continue reading →

Deputy President Ramaphosa to referee Visa Regulations battle meeting between Ministers of Home Affairs and Tourism!

PassportAlmost 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’.

Continue reading →

WhaleTales Tourism, Food, and Wine news headlines: 4 June

WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*   London has been named as the most visited tourist city by the MasterCard Global Destinations Cities Index, estimated to receive 19 million tourists this year. Bangkok follows in second place, with Paris, Istanbul, and Dubai making up the top five most visited cities.

*   The Department of Tourism has been allocated a budget of R 1,8 billion for the next financial year. The target for international tourist arrivals is 12 million by 2018. Just under R1 billion will go to SA Tourism. Minister of Tourism Derek Hanekom announced Continue reading →

World Design Capital 2014: overpayment by City of Cape Town?

World Design Capital 2014The Cape Argus has reported that the City of Cape Town may have overpaid more than R300000 on Cape Town hosting World Design Capital 2014 to International Council of Societies of Industrial Design, the organisation which coordinates and awards the biennial World Design Capital host cities.

The cost to the City of Cape Town and its ratepayers for the honour of having been elected as World Design Capital 2014 was R1,5 million, payable in three instalments of €150000 each.  Despite an agreement by the City to get forward cover on the Rand/Euro exchange rate, this was not done, and the declining Rand relative to the Euro meant Continue reading →

WhaleTales Tourism, Food, and Wine news headlines: 2 February

WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*  Ghanaian rapper D Black has been holidaying in Cape Town, his Instagram and Twitter (with 146000 followers!) shows. He visited Robben Island, Table Mountain,CampsBay, and the V&A V & A Waterfront. He also recorded with local musician Donald in Denial.

*    Cape Town has been named by National Geographic as the second best Beach City in the world, the Clifton beaches mentioned specifically for their protection against the wind and expensive accommodation. The False Bay beaches, as well as Milnerton and Blouberg, are referred to.  Number one is Barcelona, with its Barcenoleta Beach. The rest of the Beach City ranking is Honolulu (Waikiki Beach), Nice’s three beaches, Miami Beach, Rio de Janeiro’s Copacabana and Ipanema beaches, Santa Monica, Sydney’s Bondi, Tel Aviv, and Vancouver’s ten beaches.

*   SA Tourism, host of INDABA 2015, is describing the trade show as one which will exceed the expectations of both Continue reading →

WhaleTales Tourism, Food, and Wine news headlines: 2 – 5 January

WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*  The Daily Mail journalist Gary Edwards visited Cape Town just at the beginning of December, to tie in with the launch of the movie ‘Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom‘, his first visit in 10 years. He found that little has changed in Cape Town, although the exchange rate was not as favourable as when he visited in 2003, despite being attractive now.   He praises the sunshine, and highlights his experiences of visiting Table Mountain, Cape Point, Bungalow in Clifton, Cellars-Hohenhort, the Twelve Apostles Hotel, the V&A Waterfront, the Coffeebean Route, Robben Island, and other ‘Seven Wonders of Cape Town‘, a name he made up.   He gives the beach at Camps Bay a mention too, but uses a photograph of Clifton!

*   OR Thambo airport was the largest port of entry into South Africa during December, and the airport, Beitbridge, Lebombo, Maseru Bridge, Ficksburg, and Oshoek had more persons crossing the border than arrived at Cape Town International airport. International arrivals were from the UK, the USA, Germany, Netherlands, Australia, France, India, China, Nigeria, Sweden, and Canada. In total there were 4 million border crossings, roughly half entering and leaving the country.

*   Retail outlets selling alcohol will have to offer free condoms and water too, if Continue reading →

Cape Town loses numerous events due to lack of bidding budget!

 

 Cape Town StadiumThe City of Cape Town has lost 12 bids for new Events for Cape Town in the past six months, and has lost two existing events to other cities, said Anton Groenewald, Executive Director of the City of Cape Town Tourism, Events, and Marketing Directorate, at the Annual General Meeting of Cape Town Tourism two weeks ago.

According to Southern African Tourism Update, Groenewald blamed the ‘City’s limited bidding budget‘ and the stronger international currencies of other bidding countries for the poor track record. The weaker Rand this year affected the costs of bidding for international events, he said:  ‘Exchange rate fluctuation impacts on our ability to bid because almost all competitive bids are in euros, pounds or dollars. This means that at the time of bidding earlier this year, the exchange rate was such that events and concerts at that time became financially unviable because the dollar or euro equivalent was more than we could absorb. Secondly, events and global brands are asking higher and larger fees because other city destinations are paying larger upfront fees to secure their participation. So a fee last year of R3,5m for an event has now increased to US$1,5m (R9,9m), because that is what another destination paid this global brand. We simply cannot compete at these rates.  While Cape Town seems to enjoy international recognition and awareness as a destination, what we do not have is an increase in enquiries and how to convert this into purchases’.

Groenewald’s Directorate has a massive budget at R560 million, out of the Continue reading →

Tourism sees strong UK dip in January 2013, after strong international growth in 2012!

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