Tag Archives: hospitality industry

Alex von Ulmenstein Acorn awarded as one of 30 best under 30 in the UK Hospitality industry!

I have never written about a family member on my Blog before, but today I salute my son Alex von Ulmenstein in his success in receiving a The Caterer Acorn Award 2019, as one of the 30 best in the UK Hospitality industry under the age of 30. Continue reading →

Climate Change leads to Cape Town water restrictions from 1 January 2016!

imageFrom tomorrow water restrictions will apply in Cape Town and Somerset West, to address the lower dam levels due to reduced winter rainfall in the Cape. This reflects climate change as well as the el Nino effect, which is particularly making itself felt currently in affecting the world’s weather.

The water restrictions have two major aspects: Continue reading →

Responsible usage and sales of alcohol, pleads Western Cape Minister Alan Winde

W Cape wineAt a meeting with the liquor industry in Malmesbury yesterday, Western Cape Minister of Economic Opportunities Alan Winde pleaded for the liquor trade as well as consumers to be responsible in their consumption as well as sales of alcohol.

Being a two-edged sword, the wine industry represents a R30 billion Continue reading →

Chicken or beef: take-off to a first holiday in seven years!

AA flightThe hospitality industry is a tough (self-inflicted) taskmaster, especially when you have a ‘boss’ as tough as I have, 24/7 duty being the norm!

A gathering of the von Ulmenstein family in Ulm, to explore the origin of our family name and title granted by the then Kaiser Karl the Sixth more than 300 years ago, was the impetus for the journey, to which I have added additional Continue reading →

Tough winter for Cape restaurants, many restaurant and staff changes!

Four & 20 Cafe via The Pretty BlogNo significant events have been planned to attract visitors to Cape Town and the Winelands this winter, and it appears to be the worst winter ever experienced by the hospitality industry in the Cape.  A surprise is the number of restaurant changes, as well as the the movement of staff  between restaurants.   Given the poor winter business, many restaurants have taken/are taking generous winter breaks. This list of restaurant openings and closings is updated continuously, as we receive new information:

Restaurant Openings

*    Four & Twenty Café and Pantry has opened in Wynberg

*   The Crypt Jazz Restaurant has opened below St George’s Cathedral.

*   Orphanage Cocktail Emporium is opening Orphanage Club upstairs, with 1920’s style music by live performers, later this year.

*   Cavalli restaurant on the stud farm on the R44 must be opening shortly, as Carl Habel has left the Mount Nelson Hotel as Restaurant Manager and Sommelier to join the restaurant.

*   Shake your Honey is to open in the original Madame Zingara building on Loop Street next year, after renovations commence later this year, according to an iolTravel report.  The ‘vibrant spirit of India’ is to be reflected in the 5-storey building, with a theatre, markets, restaurants, and shops.

*   Burger King has opened its (second) Tygervalley branch. Branches at Cavendish and at Grandwest are to open soon. Continue reading →

Tourism industry enjoys good 1st quarter 2013!

Both the Bureau of Economic Research and the Tourism Business Council of South Africa (TBCSA) FNB Tourism Business Index reflect that the first three months of this year showed an improvement in the confidence level for the South African tourism industry. While Cape restaurants would agree, the confidence may not have been shared by the Cape accommodation industry, who still cannot see a significant improvement in their occupancy levels, and dread the early arrival of the winter season.

The Bureau of Market Research released its results for the first quarter of this year last week, and showed a 7% growth in the volume of Accommodation business, with a very positive expectation of an 11% growth rate in the second quarter – this contrasted strongly with the 16% decline reported for the last quarter of 2012. Since 2009 the Bureau had measured declining volumes of Accommodation business, the first sign of a turn around being measured in the first and third quarters of 2012, but with declines in the second and fourth quarters of the same year, demonstrating how variable the growth is and how susceptible it is to global recessionary influences.  Business confidence in the Accommodation sector increased to 52 (an index measured out of 100) in the first quarter of this year, a significant increase from 38 the quarter before. In contrast, the real estate and business services industries showed minimal business confidence growth in the same period.

The TBCSA FNB Tourism Index was introduced in 2010, and is based on a study of tourism confidence conducted quarterly by Grant Thornton. The Index is measured and compared against a score of 100 reflecting ‘normality’.  For the third consecutive reading the Tourism Business Index has exceeded the score of 100, a positive step given that most of the scores since 2010 lay below the 100 mark.  The latest index measurement is 111, just below that measured at the time our country hosted the World Cup, the highest score ever achieved, before the scores slid.  Respondents are asked to quantify their expectations for the quarter ahead, and the actual first quarter confidence score far exceeded the anticipated score of 102,5.

Grant Thornton’s Gillian Saunders said that the survey results were split, with 30% reporting strong demand and another 30% reporting it as weak. ‘Playing in different geographic markets may impact this; for instance in 2012, Asian markets saw a huge growth in tourist arrivals and businesses targeting those markets have no doubt benefited’. One hopes that Mrs Saunders is not referring to the SA Tourism statistics for China, which appear to include transit passengers!  More likely could be a geographical difference, in that Gauteng and Durban may have been more positive in the past quarter due to the AFCON Cup of Nations which took place in Johannesburg and Durban in January – February, while Cape Town missed out as a host city for the soccer event due to the City of Cape Town’s mismanagement of the bid process, and therefore Cape Town’s tourism industry may not have been as confident as a result!  Durban has hosted a number of top conferences and events, including a meeting of the BRICS country presidents, and an Indian tour operator conference.  Saunders emphasised that there is still concern about the impact of the recessionary problems of Europe.  While tourism confidence may have improved, the TBCSA CEO Mmatšatši Ramawela stated that the petrol price, cost of sales, electricity prices, municipal tariffs, and labour issues negated the confidence levels of tourism players.

Grant Thornton, the company that got the estimate of the World Cup 2010 attendance so badly wrong, is to conduct a three year study of the Cape Town tourism industry, to measure the value of its tourism industry. A 2009 survey had put a value of R17,3 billion on our City’s tourism industry, a 6% increase on the 2008 value of R16,3 billion.  The study results will become a benchmark to measure the economic value of Cape Town’s tourism industry, said Mayoral Committee member for Tourism, Events and Marketing Grant Pascoe. The study will use national data (read highly criticised) SA Tourism statistics and tourism surveys to measure the spend by tourists whilst in the city. Tourism businesses will be interviewed, to establish their turnover and employment figures.  One can be sceptical about the co-operation that the researchers will receive from the hospitality industry in extracting turnover figures!   Councillor Pascoe said that collecting the tourism industry information could be used to assess the infrastructure requirements for Cape Town, and could be used to motivate infrastructure upgrades to benefit the tourism industry!  One wonders how many millions the Grant Thornton Cape Town tourism study will cost, and how reliable its results will be, given the sensitive information sought!

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

New Liquor By-law: City of Cape Town allows new comments re Sunday liquor trading!

What sounded like an April Fool’s joke was in fact reality, when stringent new operating hours of establishments selling alcoholic beverages were announced, as well as a number of very odd regulations regarding the purchase and storage of such beverages, were regulated via the Liquor Trading Days and Hours By-law.  Receiving numerous complaints as well as threatened legal action from retailers who have been refused alcoholic beverage sales on Sundays, has led the City of Cape Town to call for a further round of comments from the public, as well as from affected retailers.

The City of Cape Town is allowing a 45 day period, ending on 20 May, for comments to a draft of the new By-law, which is only 22 days old.  Following immediate feedback, the City is planning to allow alcoholic beverage retailers in city areas to trade on Sundays, and to trade later than the newly instituted 18h00 time limit on Mondays – Saturdays.  The new By-Law had been through a public participation process, but Sunday retail trading did not appear to elicit any reaction at that time.  Only wine estates are allowed to sell wine on Sundays in the new By-Law.

The City has graciously allowed those retailers holding a liquor licence in built-up city areas to continue trading on Sundays while the comments are being received and evaluated.  Trading hours as per the new By-Law must however be followed.  Gareth Bloor, Councillor for Economic, Environmental, and Spatial Planning, said the City of Cape Town has to balance the needs of the hospitality industry with the health and social effects of alcohol abuse in residential areas in particular, according to its media statement.

The City has lost credibility in capitulating so quickly on its new Liquor Trading Days and Hours By-law, and one wonders why it did not think this part of the By-Law through before its implementation. Threatened court cases may have led to the rapid halt in the implementation of the By-Law clause pertaining to the retail sales of alcohol on Sundays in city areas.

Liquor Trading Days and Hours By-Law, City of Cape Town. www.capetown.gov.za/bylaws

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

Cape Town ‘last minute’ 8 Nations Under 20 Soccer Tournament no compensation for losing out on 2013 Afcon!

Two weeks ago Mayor Patricia de Lille hinted at a ‘high profile’ event that was still under wraps then, that could make up for Cape Town not having been made it as host city for the African Cup of Nations (Afcon) tournament in January/February next year.  A surprise is that the announcement of an ‘8 Nations Under 20 international Football Challenge 2012’, which will be held in Cape Town from next Friday until 3 June, was only made two days ago!  With such a short lead time, and virtually no information to be found about the event, the soccer tournament is unlikely to be beneficial to tourism in Cape Town, and will not compensate for the failed bid in hosting Afcon next year. The soccer tournament next week is a sad attempt by the City of Cape Town to save face!

We wrote last week that losing the bid to be a host city for Afcon 2013 is a major tourism blow for Cape Town, and is a further disaster created by our City’s Mayoral Committee member for Tourism, Events and Marketing, Councillor Grant Pascoe, also having cost our city the Heineken Cup final earlier this year.

The City of Cape Town media release, issued yesterday, announces the tournament, organised by the City of Cape Town in conjunction with the Cape Town branch of the South African Football Association (SAFA) with a financial contribution by the Western Cape government, is to be played both at Cape Town Stadium and at Athlone Stadium in eight matches.  Teams from South Africa, Argentina, Ghana, Nigeria, Brazil, Japan, Cameroon, and Kenya are participating in the soccer tournament, seen as preparation for the FIFA Under-20 World Cup to be held in Turkey next year.

According to the release, Cape Town is hosting the ‘renowned bi-annual tournament for the second time, after a successful inauguration tournament in 2010, prior to the 2010 FIFA World Cup’.  No reference about the 2010 event could be found via a Google search, making the claim of it being ‘renowned’ untruthful and an overclaim!  Even worse, the release positions the event in the league of the Pick ‘n Pay Argus Cycle Tour and the ‘Old Mutual Town (sic) Oceans marathon’, and says that it helps to achieve its goal of positioning Cape Town as the Events Capital of Africa!  Magnifying its exaggeration, the release states that the soccer tournament will launch the future local and international careers of soccer players. Ivan Meyer, the MEC for Sport and Cultural Affairs in the province, said the the soccer tournament would position Cape Town as a ‘soccer-friendly city’, reports The New Age, ironic given that Councillor Pascoe was argumentative with the SAFA when bidding for host city of Afcon, and so lost the bid!

Interesting is that Cape Town Tourism, funded by the City of Cape Town, has not yet Tweeted about the event, preferring to focus on the floating of the beached Japanese trawler on Clifton’s First Beach yesterday. No media release has been issued by the tourism body either, proving that it does not see the tourism benefit of the soccer tournament!

The City will be using the services of 150 volunteers to run the event. Tickets cost R50 for ‘grand stand’ tickets and R20 for ‘open stand’ seats, and are for sale at Computicket. The match schedule is as follows:

Athlone Stadium

Date Time Fixture
25 May 2012 18:00 South Africa v/s Argentina
20:30 Ghana v/s Nigeria
29 May 2012 18:00 South Africa v/s Nigeria
20:30 Argentina v/s Ghana
30 May 2012 18:00 Brazil v/s Japan
20:30 Cameroon v/s Kenya
1 June 2012 18:00 Semi Final 1
20:30 Semi Final 2

Cape Town Stadium:

Date Time Fixture
26 May 2012 14:00 Kenya v/s Japan
16:30 Brazil v/s Cameroon
27 May 2012 14:00 South Africa v/s Ghana
16:30 Argentina v/s Nigeria
28 May 2012 18:00 Brazil v/s Kenya
20:30 Cameroon v/s Japan
3 June 2012 14:00 3rd v/s 4th
16:30 Final

POSTSCRIPT 23/5: Cape Town Tourism has only written about the soccer tournament on its website today, two days before its start. There is no publicity about this non-event!  The Twitter page (@8Nations) only has 72 followers!

POSTSCRIPT 24/5: The Cape Times has reported that the Fan Walk will be opened for the Final on 3 June.  To date there has been no publicity to encourage locals to participate.  The article also states that the City of Cape Town is paying the South African Football Association R1,5 million as a ‘grant in aid’, while the Western Cape government has ‘in principle committed’ the same amount.

POSTSCRIPT 27/5: The Weekend Argus yesterday billed the effect of the soccer tournament on Cape Town’s hospitality industry as a ‘mid-winter tourist boost’, a dishonest report – Cape Town has never been quieter!  Ivan Meyer, the province’s Minister of Cultural Affairs, Sport and Recreation, who does not handle the tourism portfolio, stated that the tournament would impact on the economy of the province, through ‘ticket sales, accommodation, flights, etc’. Cape Town Chamber of Commerce President Michael Bagraim, known for his media gaffes, reinforced the exaggerated benefit of the tournament: ‘Bagraim added that a major event such as this was similar to the festive season. bringing a great deal of money into the city’!  One wonders why these two personalities, and the Weekend Argus with it, are misleading the tourism industry and the Cape Town public in this report. SAFA Cape Town President Norman Arendse pointed out that the 8 Nations Under-20 soccer challenge should not be seen as a ‘replacement’ for losing out on being an AFCON host city next year.

POSTSCRIPT 27/5: Cape Town Tourism, the city’s tourism marketing body funded by the Councillor Pascoe’s department, has only Tweeted once about the soccer tournament, signalling its lack of tourism interest in the event!

POSTSCRIPT 28/5: We received the following e-mail from Wadia Sinclair, with some valid questions:

“Good day, After reading some of the comments I would like to give version:

This tournament was poorly advertised.

Parking a major problem @ CT Stadium, all parking around the stadium was cordoned off. WHY??????

Why do we have to buy eats inside the stadium at RIDICULOUS prices? I would rather bring my own eats than have all these vendors walking up & down pass me. Is this stadium not for the PEOPLE….

We as a family enjoy soccer but please why all the inconvenience”.

POSTSCRIPT 28/5: The 8 Nations Under 20 soccer tournament ticket sales must be so poor that they are offering a free ticket for every ticket bought for the Semi Final or Final, Councillor Pascoe Tweeted today!

POSTSCRIPT 28/5:  Councillor Pascoe appears to be getting annoyed  about the feedback in this blogpost, making the following statement on Twitter this evening: you don’t have a mandate to speak on behalf of anybody”!

POSTSCRIPT 29/5: The Cape Times reported today that the support of the soccer tournament has been so poor in terms of attendance that Cape Town faces the danger of not hosting the 2014 Eight Nation Under 20 soccer tournament. There is an admission that the free ticket give-away is to attract a greater attendance.


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

‘I ♥ my Laundry’ exciting new Cape Town laundry restaurant!

Twice in one day I chatted to bubbly Betsie van der Merwe, new owner of Manna Epicure, meeting her for the first time on Thursday, and I loved her energy, homeliness, and friendliness.  We had connected via Twitter previously, but it was the first time we met at her restaurant on Kloof Street. She highly recommended I  my Laundry, and told me that she would be doing a function with them that evening, where I saw her again, after receiving an invitation via Twitter to attend.  The function at I my Laundry was a wine tasting by Arnold Vorster of Graham Beck Wines, and a tasting of Manna Epicure breads.

I my Laundry opened a week ago, after a month-long transformation from what was previously the Sundance coffee shop, which had belonged to notorious Conrad Gallagher. The back section of the space is on two floors, and contains the laundry, with washing, dry cleaning with a four-hour turnaround time, ironing, and collection/delivery (within the City Bowl initially) services offered, not visible from the coffee shop/restaurant on the ground floor.  It has been beautifully transformed, with a 14-seater silver grey concrete table top resting on steel legs, most comfortable white and black high-back chairs, a wooden counter on which Betsie had displayed her breads, and some wooden shelving.  On the mainly rough brickwork walls are displayed artworks, which will be rotated over time. There were orange serviettes, and beautiful brand new cutlery.  I loved the stylish Maxwell Williams water jug.

The inspiration for the name and concept for I my Laundry, which is co-owned by Clayton Howard and Mico Botha, comes from The French Laundry in New York, which was first started by a husband and wife team, running a restaurant and a laundry first as two outlets next door to each other, and then opened up to become one entity.  The Buitengracht branch is the third to open in the past four months, with branches in Durbanville and Kenridge too.  Clayton has extensive experience in the hospitality industry, having worked at Ellerman House, the Twelve Apostles Hotel, The Table Bay Hotel, The Pepper Club Hotel & Spa, Arabella Sheraton, The Mount Grace Hotel, and The Cellars Hohenhort Hotel.  Mico also has a hospitality background, having last worked for Bidvest’s Cleaning Division, but also worked for Outsourced Labour, and is developing the Visual Training TV company.

Free wifi is offered, and a coffee machine makes perfect cappucinos from Brazilian-imported beans by Joga Joga Café, exclusively stocked in South Africa by I my Laundry.  Cupcakes from Manna Epicure will be for sale.  An exciting subsidiary business is I my Wine, for which Clayton and Mico will host interesting corporate events in which they bring together an alcoholic beverage supplier and a chef or restaurant to create a magical evening, as we experienced on Thursday evening. Last night a corporate client held a Dim Sum evening, with Chef Steven from Beluga doing the food for the group.  At the Thursday evening function not everyone knew everyone attending, and so the introductions around the table were a taste of the personalities of the guests.  The I corporate name has many legs, and exciting new projects are certain to develop.  One of these is I my Linen, which is the sale of an organic bleach. Another brand is I my Art,  and currently Irish photographer Niall Molloy is displaying his work, while Von Deen’s wooden hearts can also be bought.

Betsie and her baker Josh introduced their wonderful breads to us – Country rye bread, Rosemary and date sourdough, Ciabatta, and Cranberry and hazelnut rye.  The breads are available from Manna Epicure, and freshly baked by Josh from 5h00 onwards. Manna Epicure opened in 2005, driven by Maranda Engelbrecht (now driving Babel at Babylonstoren) and Jacques Erasmus of Hemelhuijs.  The restaurant is homely, flavourful, aromatic, natural, and no-fuss, Betsie said of her eatery. The breads can be bought in half sizes too, for ‘bachelors and bachelorettes’.  Betsie had brought along a lovely selection of Fairview cheeses, including Chevin goat’s cheese, blue cheese, cranberry and white rock, and apricot and white rock.  Parma ham from the Wild Peacock Emporium; chorizo, fig and rosemary mixed in a sauce; cashew nuts; apricot chips; and dried cranberries, eaten with the Manna Epicure bread without butter, was a feast.

I have previously attended a tasting of Graham Beck Wines conducted by Arnold Vorster, and he has a relaxed way of introducing the excellent wines in the company’s portfolio.  We were spoilt by tasting a  Graham Beck Brut Non Vintage on arrival, a classic 50%/50% Pinot Noir/Chardonnay blend.  The Game Reserve is an unwooded Chenin Blanc.  This was followed by a 2009 Chardonnay, with grapes coming from Robertson, giving lemon and lime notes.  The Graham Beck Shiraz 2008 is made in older barrels, from grapes which come from the Stellenbosch Graham Beck Wines farm.  The William 2007 is a Cape blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Franc, and a little drop of Shiraz, the wine being named after the grandson of the late Graham Beck.  Our special tasting was concluded with the Bliss Demi-Sec sparkling wine.  Graham Beck MCCs can now be tasted at its dedicated Gorgeous bubbly bar at the Steenberg Hotel, next door to its Catharina’s restaurant.

We were sent home with a gift bag of a 375 ml bottle of Graham Beck MCC and a packet of Manna Epicure’s melba toast, beautifully gift-wrapped, having enjoyed a wonderful evening.  I was lucky to sit opposite Cliff Jacobs, owner of Villa Belmonte in Oranjezicht, who himself has been the host of magnificent gourmet evenings, and we were able to share common experiences about the highs and lows of the hospitality industry of the past few years.  We both enjoyed the cappuccino.  Most guests present knew Clayton, the hospitality industry featuring strongly in the guest list, and all enjoyed a wonderful evening, meeting ‘colleagues’ from the industry.

I went back for another great cappuccino yesterday afternoon, and while the city centre was extremely busy, parking was available outside the shop.  Clayton and Mico were both there, and felt like old friends already, 24 hours later!

POSTSCRIPT 7/4: I attended a Wildekrans grappa and GaBoLi grappa chocolate tasting at I my Laundry today.  I am super impressed with all the ideas bubbling out of co-owners Clayton and Mico, for example, they are thinking of starting Fondues.  On Fridays, from 5 – 7 pm, they will host free Laundry Parties, at which one can taste wines.

I my Laundry, 59 Buitengracht Street, Cape Town.  Tel 084 660 0777 (Clayton)/083 6020291 (Mico) www.Ilovemylaundry.co.za Twitter:@ILovemyLaundry, Monday – Sunday, 7h00 – 19h00.

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

Mayor Patricia de Lille: Cultural Tourism could counter Seasonality, but must embrace more Cape cultures!

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