Entries tagged with “hotel accommodation”.


imageA survey conducted by STR Global Hospitality research firm has found that Cape Town is the fourth most expensive accommodation city on the African continent, and is more expensive than Johannesburg!

Addis Ababa in Ethiopia was found to be the most expensive African city for (more…)

Seeing a media statement from Western Cape Minister of Tourism Alan Winde, as well as an article in Business Day about the V&A Waterfront’s ‘sharp increase in retail trade‘, make one wonder what the V&A Waterfront’s visitor numbers, said to have been measured at just over 3 million in December 2012, really represent!

When Maureen Thomson headed up marketing at the inception of the V&A Waterfront, she explained that a rubber car counter on the road near the current location of the Aston Martin showroom provided information about the number of cars entering the V&A Waterfront.  She would multiply this car count by a factor, to allow for an average number of adults and children in a vehicle, thereby calculating the visitor numbers.  The car counters are no longer to be seen, and therefore one wonders how the V&A management generates the numbers.  To be accurate, the company would have to have many more car counters, including at the BOE/Nedbank building side, near the Two Oceans Aquarium,  and One&Only Cape Town, near the shopping mall, and even at the Grand on the Beach, which is deemed to be part of the V&A Waterfront too.  The 3 million visitors to the V&A Waterfront increased by 10%, from 2,7 million in December 2011.

V&A Waterfront CEO David Green added that retail trading in December 2012 had increased by 8% relative to the same month a year prior, far above the average national retail industry growth rate.  He referred to the recent opening of Lush, Superdry, Emporio Armani, and the V&A Market on the Wharf, which had attracted a greater number of visitors.  The Business Day article highlighted what we all know – that the V&A is the ‘most popular tourist destination in South Africa’, with a mix of retail outlets, accommodation, and residential homes.  If the V&A is using hidden car counters, how can it measure how much of its ‘footfall’ is Capetonian, and how much is that of tourists.

Tourists only arrived in Cape Town in any great numbers after Christmas, which means that less than one week of December’s trade will have been tourist related, and therefore the bulk of the visitor numbers would be Capetonians shopping in the V&A Waterfront, going to see a movie, buying some food, eating at a restaurant, seeing Body Worlds, watching the Red Bull Flugtag (which caused a traffic jam in the area surrounding the V&A, and is said to have attracted 200000 Cape Town visitors on the day alone, but not mentioned by Mr Green!), checking out the newly opened Shimmi Beach Club, and doing Christmas shopping.

This could mean that the V&A Waterfront’s claim to be our country’s leading tourist attraction may be false and misleading, as it appears to attract mainly Cape Town residents, and a small number of tourists going to Robben Island, or walking through one of the V&A malls.

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

The frantic building of new hotels for the World Cup has led to an oversupply of hotel rooms, says Arthur Gillis, CEO of Protea Hotels, reports Business Report.

The oversupply is so bad that Gillis predicts that some hotels will go out of business, or will be converted into flats or old-age homes.   Gillis says his company has been approached by hotels, to be taken over by Protea.  Branded hotels with international marketing arrangements will be the only ones to survive the hotel accommodation glut, Gillis said.  According to Gillis, the recessionary depressed America and Europe will make itself felt in the local accommodation industry for another twelve months. 

The Protea Hotel’s 15 on Orange is only now starting to attract larger numbers of tourists, including film crews, having been open for a year already.

Gillis says that delighted World Cup soccer fans that visited Cape Town three months ago will not be coming back this season, but they will recommend the city to friends and family.  “People in the UK are getting fed up with austerity and some will probably decide they would like to go abroad this year, to somewhere different, particularly if airfares stay at reasonable levels” he said.

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

Yesterday was a day of reckoning for the bloggers of South Africa, who had been judged by a committee of three, and voted for by their fans, in making the short-list of ten finalists in 25 categories of the S A Blog Awards.  We are delighted to have been selected as a Finalist in the Most Controversial Blog category, and thank our loyal blog readers, friends, commenters, and Twitter followers for their votes in making the Finalist selection possible.

Now we are like Idols contestants, in that we please request your vote for our Blog, to win in the category (there is no prize, other than a badge that goes onto the blog). The Most Controversial Blog category is quite far down the list, and you need to please click on our blog name to vote, and then to scroll down to the bottom of the list, to enter your e-mail address.  You are allowed to vote for us every 24 hours, per e-mail address, until the competition closes on 17 September.

The Whale Cottage Blog had been nominated in a number of categories, including Best Food & Wine Blog, Best Blog Post, Most Controversial Blog and Best Travel Blog.  Being a unique blog that does not fit fully into any specific category (e.g. Food, Travel), we were delighted to have made the finals (somehow we never got to enter last year).  The Most Controversial Blog category is a new one introduced this year, and it seemed to suit us ideally!   If we have created a unique identity for our blog, it has been to be “independent * incisive * informative”, and it is described as being controversial, due to our lack of fear to write the truth, no matter the consequences.

We are in excellent company in this category, with 2Oceansvibe being a fellow finalist – last year its editor ‘Seth Rotherham’ won almost every category in the Blog Awards, and his blog became the benchmark for many of us (this year a blog can only be nominated in two categories).   The rest of the Finalists’ list is a little more dubious, sex and swearing broadly summarising the content of the other blogs in the Most Controversial Blog category.

The WhaleTales newsletter has been distributed for the past nine years, and has been the foundation of our writing about controversial issues.   It has not always been easy to be outspoken, in that we have experienced the following:

*  being told to not come back to the Opal Lounge, due to an unfavourable review that we wrote (in fact the instruction to not return was issued telephonically by the co-owner before the review was written and published)

*  being escorted out of Beluga by the police during a invited lunch for members of an association of guest house owners in Camps Bay, of which I am the chairman, because sister restaurant Sevruga received a Sour Service Award on this blog for a Cape Times book launch lunch, which the restaurant handled poorly, both food and service-wise

*   being threatened with legal action when we tackled Carne about falsely claiming that all its beef, lamb and game served comes from its Karoo farm and is organic, our most controversial blog post in the two year history of blog-writing.  This blog post was nominated for Best Blog Post.  The Carne blog post, and its follow up, took investigative journalism of the bravest kind, in obtaining documentation from the suppliers of the meat, and in obtaining (by luck) a telephonic admission by a supplier of meat to Carne, resulting in Carne withdrawing its legal threat, declaring the matter closed, and taking the dishonest claim off their website.

*   being on the receiving end of FEDHASA Cape’s attempt to cancel our membership, which resulted in my resignation as a Director of the hotel old-boys’ club, when I wrote about the dangers of small accommodation establishments signing with FIFA’s MATCH for the World Cup, over the past five years.  My views about MATCH were not in line with the hotel interests which dominated the FEDHASA Cape Board, and Nils Heckscher, GM of the Winchester Mansions, tried his best to get me off the Board.  Ultimately, we were vindicated in our advice when MATCH cancelled the bulk of its booked small and hotel accommodation throughout South Africa, the Winchester Mansions being one of the hotels badly hit by the cancellation of booked rooms by MATCH.  

*   being threatened with legal action by the Cape Whale Coast DMO, after our blog post of 28 December 2009 raised questions about the conflict of interest created by Clinton Lerm being the Chairman of the Hermanus Tourism Bureau and of the DMO.   Nothing has come of this threat to date.  Yesterday we published a follow-up story on the DMO’s lack of transparency.

*  writing critical restaurant reviews, without “white-washing” them

*   awarding Sweet and Sour Service Awards on the blog every Friday.

We would also like to recommend the following blogging friends and colleagues, for your vote:

*  Food & Wine Blog category: Cooksister (Jeanne Horak-Druiff), My-Easy-Cooking (Nina Timm), JamieWho? (Andy Fenner) and The Foodie (David Cope) (all of last year’s finalists have dropped out of this category, other than Cooksister and My-Easy-Cooking)

*   Best Travel Blog category:   SA Venues and Cape Town Travel (Cape Town Tourism)

*   Best Twitter Microblogger category: Relax-with-Dax, Gus Silber, and Spit or Swallow

We thank you for your support and your votes.

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