I had the misfortune to experience Dubai under less than perfect conditions, and with it Emirates airline, which once was the best airline in the world (now dropped to number four, as rated by Skytrax)! A City Tour by Sun Tours helped to restore my appreciation for what Dubai has to offer! Continue reading →
Uber has announced that it has reduced its rates by up to 20% in the three major cities of our country, to prepare the company and its drivers for the slow winter months caused by Seasonality. What was Continue reading →
Cape Town has dropped to the 20th position in the TripAdvisor 2016 Travelers’ Choice Top 25 World Destinations list, from 10th last year, despite the extremely favourable exchange rate offered to tourists by our city. No explanation for the massive ranking drop is provided. and may be due to the stringent Visa Regulations!
The TripAdvisor 2016 Travelers’ Choice Awards World Destinations list has just been published: Continue reading →
*. Cape Town has been named as one of 35 most beautiful cities in the world for 2015 by the UK Telegraph, in the company of Istanbul, Florence, Paris, Siena, Jerusalem, Oxford, Cambridge, New York, Rome, Sydney, Bruges, Seville, San Francisco, Bath, Lausanne, Venice, Edinburgh, London, Havana, Prague, Kyoto, Moscow, St Petersburg, Dubrovnik, Rio de Janeiro, and more.
Cape Town was praised for its ‘in-your-face beauty of a craggy mountain range that drops precipitously into a glittering sea, its flanks carpeted in greens and delicate florals – the Cape Floral Kingdom, smallest yet richest in the world’. The pristine white beaches with their granite boulders are also Continue reading →
* 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 →
Cape Town has done it again, being named Best City in the World in the Telegraph Travel Awards 2014 by its readers for the third year in a row! Vancouver and Venice follow in second and third position, respectively, this year. The motivation for Cape Town’s top position is written by Pippa du Bruyn, who is a Cape Town-based local travel writer and ‘destination expert’, including author of a ‘Frommer’s Guide’ to South Africa, and of ‘A Hedonist’s Guide to Cape Town’. De Bruyn surprisingly exaggerates our restaurants as ‘Michelin-rated‘ fare, and in describing Dyer Island near Gansbaai as being in Cape Town. Her laudation for Cape Town follows: Continue reading →
* A heavy-weight World Symposium to ‘Cultivating Sustainable and Peaceful Communities and Nations through Tourism, Culture and Sports will be held in Johannesburg from 16 – 19 February next year, and is in honour of the late Nelson Mandela, Mahatma Ghandi, and Martin Luther King Jnr. It has been endorsed by Archbishop Desmond Tutu and will be held at Emporers Palace. Keynote speakers include the Secretary General of the United Nations World Tourism Organization Dr Taleb Rifai, Minister of Tourism Derek Hanekom, Minister of Tourism of the Seychelles Alain St. Ange, and various other heads of international tourism bodies. (received via e-mail)
* From October next year Turkish Airlines will offer direct flights between Cape Town and Istanbul. This will double the capacity between the two countries.
* Women business travelers want to ‘feel safe, comfortable, empowered, and pampered’, says an American research report. About 50 % of business travelers are women, and they control up top 85% of business travel expenditure.
* Actress Claire Danes is in Cape Town for the filming of the fourth season of the TV series ‘Homeland’. She and her husband have been spotted eating at Harbour House in Kalk Bay, dining at The Test Kitchen, shopping at the Biscuit Mill, and walking down Kloof Street, near Yours Truly. Cape Town is doubling up for ‘both Istanbul and Turkey‘ (sic)!
* Chenin Blanc was praised by Greg Sherwood of Handford Wines in London, at a tasting of Chenin Blanc and Pinotage wines, organised by Wines of South Africa (WOSA). Sherwood led the Chenin Blanc tasting, and said about the varietal: ‘Chenin is a massive and unique selling point for South Africa. It has a variety of styles and gives you a Burgundy textural experience without having to pay Burgundian prices. The days of too much oak and batonnage are now in the past. These practices have Continue reading →
* Beer brewing tours are gaining interest, reports Southern African Tourism Update, focusing on craft beers as well as traditional beers. Beer festivals have helped create awareness for the roughly 80 micro-breweries in our country. Tours use stories to get the cultural and brewing message across. American, German, and Belgian tourists are keen beer tourists.
* Air traffic across Europe could be shut down tomorrow, if the planned air traffic controller strike in 28 countries goes ahead. Lufthansa staff have withdrawn from the strike.
* Mamphela Ramphele has accepted the DA’s offer to stand in the forthcoming elections as the Democratic Alliance (DA) Presidential candidate, her Agang SA party appearing to be disbanded. (via Facebook) Continue reading →
Doing research about Turkish Airlines’ direct flights to Cape Town, the subject of a recent trip to Turkey by a 10-person Cape Town Tourism and City of Cape Town delegation, we found that many direct flights are exorbitantly priced, and that Turkish Airlines is one of the more expensive flights to Cape Town from Europe! One wonders why the City delegation did not visit all the cities in Europe that offer direct flights to Cape Town, or those offering more reasonably priced flights.
The dates chosen for the cost comparison of the airlines flying direct to Cape Town from Europe was departure on 1 November and return on 8 November, with the lowest airfare reflected below:
Air France (Paris) R 7775
KLM (Amsterdam) R 8085
SAA (London via Johannesburg) R 11457
Virgin Atlantic (London) R 11542
BA (London) R 12002
Turkish Airlines (Istanbul) R 13545
Edelweiss (Zurich) R 16489
Lufthansa (Munich) R 27453
Lufthansa (Frankfurt) R 27630
Given that a maximum of 4800 tourists could arrive in Cape Town on four weekly flights from Istanbul per month, at exorbitant flight prices, the justification by Cape Town Tourism CEO Mariette du Toit-Helmbold for her team’s recent trip to Turkey does not make sense. Writing that Turkish Airlines (but not knowing their correct name) is introducing four direct flights from Istanbul to Cape Town per week, she said that her visit was to ‘promote bilateral trade and tourism’. Other goals were to ‘showcase Cape Town’s natural and urban offerings, investment opportunities, as well as the city’s creativity and our appeal as World Design Capital 2014’, she wrote. Trade promotion is not the mandate of Cape Town Tourism, nor is it that of the City of Cape Town and its newly formed Tourism, Events and Marketing (TEAM) Directorate! Marketing World Design Capital 2014 is not the mandate of Cape Town Tourism either! She continued her justification:
“During the nine-day trip a twin city agreement will be signed between Cape Town and Izmir. The City of Cape Town has been officially invited by the mayors of both Istanbul and Izmir for bilateral meetings on trade and tourism promotion. The trip includes pre-organised business meetings and experiences, as well as a dinner event for key stakeholders, including tourism boards and destination marketing organisations, embassies and consulates, as well as Turkish Air (sic) and key media. Just as Cape Town is the gateway to Sub-Saharan Africa, Turkey is an access point to Europe and Asia. Turkish Air’s (sic) decision to fly direct to Cape Town from October is a great opportunity to collaborate in growing arrivals from both new and established markets. This trip is the perfect opportunity to showcase Cape Town as both a leisure and business tourism destination and to build new partnerships. Turkey has a vast creative economy which includes everything from food to fashion, architecture, retail, jewellery and art. It is a beautiful country that relies heavily on its natural assets, and so it is fitting that we sign a twinning agreement with a city which is in many ways quite like our own. We hope to collaborate on increased responsible tourism and leveraging our creativity, and we go with the aim of increasing tourism and trade between our two regions. This group expedition is the first trip jointly undertaken by tourism, business and city officials, illustrating how serious Cape Town is about positioning the city as an urban destination open for commerce in all areas of business”.
Interesting is that since the return of the delegation to Cape Town almost a month ago, the City of Cape Town and Cape Town Tourism have not issued a media statement nor a report about the wasteful Turkey trip, to share with the ratepayers of Cape Town and the members of Cape Town Tourism exactly what they have learnt, what they achieved, and how many tourists we can expect from Turkey! Only one ‘business’ person was a member of the delegation, Peter Ayub, who owns the cookery school Sense of Taste in Istanbul and in Cape Town! His role appeared to be to find the best places for the delegation to eat at. At the AGM on Thursday, Alderman Patricia de Lille dedicated two sentences in her speech to the Turkey trip: “Recently, I have had the privilege of leading a City delegation, including representatives of Cape Town Tourism to Turkey. During this visit it was again evident that Turkey and related markets hold enormous potential for increasing tourist arrivals into Cape Town”. No further detail was provided, and the ‘related markets’ were not defined. City of Cape Town Executive Director for Tourism, Events and Marketing Anton Groenewald also referred to the trip in his speech at the AGM, echoing a similar message, the Mayor’s speech probably written by his directorate!
SA Tourism, Wesgro, and Cape Town Tourism have never defined Turkey as a target market for tourism to our city or country! The potential tourism numbers seem far too low to have justified the time and financial cost of the delegation’s visit. The delegation obviously did not do a good enough job of informing Turkish Airlines about our city, its website profile of Cape Town stating that ‘Cape Town is one of the cities that will host the 2010 FIFA World Cup’! Provincial Tourism Minister Alan Winde recently agreed that the smarter marketing of Cape Town would have been to invite the Turkish tour operators and media to Cape Town!
Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com Twitter: @WhaleCottage