Entries tagged with “Japan”.


I requested a list of suggestions for pâtisseries to visit whilst in Paris from Chef Glen Williams of Foxcroft, who had visited Paris for a week last year. His top recommendation out of a list of about ten pâtisseries was L’Éclair de Génie. (more…)

WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*   The FNB/Bureau for Economic Research Consumer Confidence Index ‘plummeted’ to -4  in the first quarter of 2015, reflecting the pessimism created by loadshedding, increases in income tax and the price of petrol, as well as ‘social and political turmoil‘.

*   Angelo Scirocco of Chef’s Warehouse and winner of the S. Pellegrino Young Chef of the Year Award for Africa/Middle East, has been ‘paired’ with fashion designer Ashi Studio of Beirut, each designer reinterpreting (more…)

WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*  SAA would consider a partner to assist it in running its loss-making operation, the Minister of Public Enterprises Lynne Brown said earlier this week.  The airline’s application for more funding was recently rejected.

*   Wines of South Africa (WOSA) has opened a Hong Kong office to market our country’s wines to all of Asia, and will be managed by Michaela Stander, who has managed the region from South Africa for the past six years.  South African wine sales into China grew by 5% and to Japan by 12% in the past year.   The marketing program includes consumer education, a sommelier competition, dinners, and offering wines by the glass.  It will be visible at the HKTDC fair in Hong Kong next week, and at ProWein China from 12 – 14 November.

*   The 40th annual Volvo Ocean Race of 39000 nautical miles, will welcome the first yachts into Cape Town on Sunday, (more…)

WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*   SAA and SA Express are in financial distress, and cannot continue operating as they not meeting the requirements of a going concern, meaning that they require financial support from the government.  The Department of Public Enterprise is withholding the financial statements of both entities, which means that the AGM of the SAA Board must be delayed for the third year running.

*   According to Cape Town Tourism CEO Enver Duminy tourists from countries that require visas to travel to our country (mainly China, Japan, and India) are cancelling due to the stringent new biometric visa requirements, tour operators reporting booking declines of 35 – 90 %!  The fear of Ebola on the African continent is compounding the problem.  Traditional source markets in Europe, the UK, and USA are not affected by the new Immigration Regulations.

*   Blaauwklippen has opened its newly named and relocated Tasting Room, which contains a Spirits Room with a selection (more…)

WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*   SAA and SA Express are in financial distress, and cannot continue operating as they not meeting the requirements of a going concern, meaning that they require financial support from the government.  The Department of Public Enterprise is withholding the financial statements of both entities, which means that the AGM of the SAA Board must be delayed for the third year running.

*   According to Cape Town Tourism CEO Enver Duminy tourists from countries that require visas to travel to our country (mainly China, Japan, and India) are cancelling due to the stringent new biometric visa requirements, tour operators reporting booking declines of 35 – 90 %!  The fear of Ebola on the African continent is compounding the problem.  Traditional source markets in Europe, the UK, and USA are not affected by the new Immigration Regulations.

*   Blaauwklippen has opened its newly named and relocated Tasting Room, which contains a Spirits Room with a selection of (more…)

Clem Sunter Book Whale Cottage PortfolioWhat an amazing experience it was to sit next to Clem Sunter at the 5th anniversary of the Thursday Club lunch at Buitenverwachting yesterday, the guest of the wine estate’s PR consultant Sandy Bailey.  At the lunch Sunter’s new book ‘21st Century Megatrends: perspectives from a Fox‘ was launched.  Sunter was the first speaker at the Thursday Club at its launch five years ago.

We were welcomed with a choice of a glass of Buitenverwachting Blanc de Noir or Meifort (a blend of Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, Merlot, and Cabernet Sauvignon).  Sunter was already in the restaurant, and was happy to pose for a photograph, volunteering to move away from the glass door so that the light did not affect the photograph, clearly an old hand at this.   We started chatting before the lunch started, and I received a quick overview of his talk, and learnt a lot more about him.

Christopher Sunter was born in the UK, the only son of a mother he was very close to, and went to school at Winchester College. At school Sunter played the guitar, and the first song he sang was ‘Oh my Darling Clementine‘, which led to his classmates calling him ‘Clem‘ after the song, and the name stuck.  He went to Oxford, and there he started a band with his friend, called the Clem & John Band.  His biggest claim to fame is the fact that the band co-headed a concert in Oxford at which the Rolling Stones performed as well, in June 1964, and he ended off his talk with this information.  We were lucky to have Clem sing for us at the table, his face lighting up as he did so. He shared that he performed with eleven other CEOs at a concert at The Barnyard in Johannesburg last year, organised by Reg Lascaris, the proceeds going Clem Sunter Clem Whale Cottage Portfolioto charity.  He sang ‘Peggy Sue‘ and ‘Blue Suede Shoes‘ at the concert, and ‘Peggy Sue‘ for us at the table too.  Should his career as a scenario planner ever fail, which is highly unlikely, he can fall back into a career as singer!  Sunter also is very funny, saying that every year for three weeks he lived in the home in which his mother lived before she passed away. Every evening they were served a glass of wine, and he told a funny story about the residents of the home which brought the house down as he started his talk.   Sunter joined Anglo in London after university, and moved to Anglo Zambia in 1971, and then to Anglo South Africa two years later, serving as a Non-Executive Director of the company now, as well as consulting to corporates around the world as a scenario planner, and writing books.  Sunter has owned a holiday house in Simonstown for a number of years already, and he and his wife plan to move to Cape Town next year, a ‘semi-gration trend’, he said.  They live in Rosebank in Johannesburg and he said that he loves living in Africa, and feels completely at home in this country.  Two of his three children live outside South Africa, one of them in Perth, which caused a laugh as I had asked him whether we need to pack for Perth again, which he now refers to ‘parched Perth’ due to the impact of climate change on Australia. (more…)

World's 50 Best Restaurants logoThe eagerly awaited 12th The World’s 50 Best Restaurant Awards was held last night at The Guildhall in London, and the Top 50 Restaurants were announced. Restaurants ranked 51st – 100th were listed on the Awards website, which crashed just after the Awards ceremony!

The initiative of Restaurant magazine in the UK, and using 900 judges from around the world, a total of 6552 votes were cast to vote for the world’s best restaurants.  The world was divided into 26 regions, chaired by an expert for that region.  Tamsin Snyman heads the Africa panel of 36 members, who had to eat at 4 local as well as at 3 international restaurants to cast their vote.  No score is required – the vote is purely for the best restaurants they ate at, and must be presented in ranked order.  Every year 10 panelists step down per region, to be replaced by new ones.   For the first time in seven years Snyman did not attend, for family reasons.

The biggest surprise was that Noma in Copenhagen went back to its number one (more…)

Cape Town Film StudioThe Cape Town film industry is about to start a bumper year of movie production, with parts of ‘The Avengers: Age of Ultron’ likely to be shot in Cape Town, reports the Sunday Times.   The Cape Town Film Studio is said to be so busy with productions that it is turning some away!

The ‘Avengers’ sequel is set to star Scarlett Johannson, Robert Downey jnr, and Chris Hemsworth, a multi-million movie which will largely be shot in London.  The Cape Town Film Commission has not confirmed the production, but met with the production company late last year.

Major production companies have approached the Cape Town Film Commission about filming major feature films, international networks from Japan and India, as well as the BBC have made contact with the Commission.  An international reality TV show may be shot in Cape Town or Durban in winter, The New Age reports.

Last year ‘The Giver’, starring Meryl Streep, Katie Holmes, and Jeff Bridges, (more…)

WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*   The Finalists for the Diners Club Young Winemaker of the Year 2013, being under the age of 30 years, have been announced:  Murray Barlow of Rustenberg Wines, Hendrien de Munck of Longridge, Attie Louw of Opstal, Emile van der Merwe of Vondeling, Narina Cloete of Quoin Rock, and David Sadie of Lemberg.   The winner in this category, as well as the Diners Club Winemaker of the Year 2013, will be announced on 30 November. (received via media release from African Sky Communications)

*   Pedestrian safety in Cape Town is the theme of the City of Cape Town’s Transport Month this month.  With the use of radio and print ads,  the City of Cape Town’s Mayoral Committee Member for Transport, Roads and Stormwater, Councillor Brett Herron, ‘has urged pedestrians to be safe and to make use of designated pedestrian crossings’, says the City media release.

*   Vinexpo Beijing, planned to have been held in June 2014, has been cancelled, due (more…)

After having met Wesgro CEO Nils Flaatten two months ago, a week after he had taken over the responsibility for marketing the Western Cape from Cape Town Routes Unlimited, which organisation was incorporated into the trade and investment promotion agency on 2 April this year, we requested feedback about the progress made in marketing the region. Mr Flaatten had asked the industry to give him a month to get the organisational integration completed. An e-mail request for feedback on the marketing progress earlier this month led to an invitation by Mr Flaatten to meet with him on Tuesday.

The most exciting news for the local tourism industry, and Mr Flaatten’s first major challenge, is the 5 July meeting called with SAA’s General Manager Theuns Potgieter by Wesgro with 15 players in the Western Cape, including local and city government, an Eastern Cape tourism marketing body representative, and larger tourism companies, to discuss SAA’s decision to cut its Cape Town-London route as of 15 August. The airline will be asked to motivate its decision in culling the route.  Joint destination marketing between the Western Cape and SAA in bringing in tourists from destinations such as Beijing, Sao Paulo, Mumbai, Melbourne, various African destinations, and Buenos Aires will be discussed too.   Subsequent meetings will be held with the airlines which will continue to serve the Cape Town-London route, including BA, Virgin, and Emirates, to discuss bringing in more flights to Cape Town.

The parking organisation was perfect, and Mr Flaatten chose for us to go to Doppio Zero on St George’s Mall for the meeting.  He had copies of the slides which he used for his recent presentation at FEDHASA Cape’s AGM, which I had requested via his secretary, but the wait was worthwhile, as Mr Flaatten was able to explain his points in greater detail.  Mr Flaatten is a very precise person, and he referred repeatedly and proudly to the progress that he and his new team have made in the ‘two months and 19 days’ since their integration. In the past 80 days Wesgro has undertaken the following Marketing activities:

*   Mr Flaatten and Solly Fourie, Head of the Western Cape Department of Economic Development and Tourism, accompanied an (unnamed) Chairman of a JSE-listed hotel company to Buenos Aires, to meet six outbound tour operators. Mr Flaatten praised their product knowledge of the Western Cape. He said that the withdrawal of the Cape Town-Buenos Aires Air Malaysia route is a serious blow to tourism from Argentina. His journey from Cape Town to Buenos Aires via Johannesburg took 24 hours, previously a direct flight of 7 hours flying west.

*   Bjorn Hufkie from Wesgro’s Conventions Bureau accompanied the (unnamed) Managing Director of a JSE-listed hotel company to Saudi Arabia and Kuwait

*    Participated in exhibitions: Arabian Travel Market in Dubai, IMEX 2012 in Frankfurt (incentive travel, meetings and events); and Indaba in Durban. Mr Flaatten said that all six the RTOs were represented on the Western Cape stand, and that they will ‘raise the bar’ for 2013.

*   Debbie Damant has been part of SA Tourism’s marketing mission to China and Japan

*   Met with Cape Town Tourism, the largest RTO (regional tourism organisation) of the six in the Western Cape, asking some ‘tough questions’ of them

*   Met with Eden RTO, and some of its LTO’s (local tourism bureaus)

*   Met with SAA at Indaba (prior to SAA’s bombshell announcement about the Cape Town-London route)

*   The Western Cape Tourism Barometer for the fourth quarter of 2011 was released.

*   The Wesgro website has been updated, incorporating its new additional Destination Marketing role, clicking through to the tourism information previously on the Cape Town Routes Unlimited website

*  One of the greatest achievements is the detailed listing of over 100 events in the province in the next six months, with detailed information about each event

*   Organisationally, the activities and marketing focus of the six RTOs (Cape Town, West Coast, Eden, Cape Winelands, Central Karoo, and Overberg), and its tourism bureaus within the municipalities within the RTOs have been captured, within a Customer Relationship Management program.  An intensive Facebook campaign to interlink and like the LTOs and RTOs is underway.

Looking ahead for the next 10 months the focus will be to deliver on the Annual Performance Plan in respect of destination marketing; create operational efficiency, effectiveness and cost savings, which savings will go into the Events budget, Mr Flaatten said; fill staff vacancies; strengthening relationships with the RTO’s and LTO’s, international airlines operating from Cape Town International, tourism trade bodies, SA Tourism, and other national tourism bodies; ‘impactful marketing and advertising of the destination’, website integration and marketing strikes in respect of tour operators, to keep up the ‘share of mind’; aggressively market the Conventions Bureau, pushing conferences into the provincial towns and villages too; stimulate Events and fund smaller events; and SMME development.   Wesgro is pitching to host SIAL Cape Town, which would become a fantastic new food event creating a ‘Global Food Marketplace’, already held in Paris and China, and is planned to be hosted in our winter months, to address Seasonality.  The Western Cape Tourism Marketing Plan is expected to be ready by September.  Inter-provincial travel within the Western Cape will be an important focus.  Mr Flaatten was requested to provide feedback on what Wesgro is doing for the tourism industry as frequently as possible, all media communication to ourselves having been terminated since Wesgro took over.  We fed back that the Tourism Bureaus are not passing on Wesgro’s information to its members, which seemed to surprise him.

Mr Flaatten provided a copy of the latest Tourism Barometer, surprisingly signed off by Calvyn Gilfellan, former CEO of the ex-Cape Town Routes Unlimited. In the last quarter of last year 216000 international tourists arrived in Cape Town, a welcome increase of 15% over the same period a year before.  Domestic arrival growth was far lower in the same period, at 4%, with just under 1 million visitors.  A large part of the report contains statistics of visitor numbers to the province’s key tourism attractions, and to the RTO’s local tourism bureaus, a very unreliable tourism barometer, given that fewer visitors require the information or booking services of tourism bureaus, doing most of their bookings at home via the internet before their departure.

Organisationally, the integration between the ex-Cape Town Routes Unlimited staff is complete, section 197 of the Labour Relations Act having been followed, in that all staff (also the Wesgro staff) were offered staff benefits at the higher level of those offered by Wesgro and Cape Town Routes Unlimited, so that all Wesgro staff now receive the same benefits.  A Memorandum of Understanding, a Memorandum of Agreement, and a budget have been signed by the Joint Working Committee guiding the integration. The Annual Performance Plan of Cape Town Routes Unlimited has been transferred to Wesgro.   For the financial year April 2012/March 2013, Wesgro now has a total budget of just more than R51 million, 45% being for Cape Town Routes Unlimited funding.  All ex-Cape Town Routes Unlimited staff now have Wesgro contracts, e-mail addresses, and business cards.  Staff have been grouped by functionality and accommodated on the 7th and 12th floors of the Waldorf building.  Provincial Tourism Minister Alan Winde’s department is working on repealing the Tourism Act of 2004, which will close down the Board of the ex-Cape Town Routes Unlimited, which currently has to remain operative as long as the current Act is in place.

Wesgro needs to start from the beginning in gaining the confidence of its Western Cape tourism constituency, which had little faith in its predecessor Cape Town Routes Unlimited. The outcome of the 5 July SAA meeting will be a crucial test of its negotiating skills. In addition, it will be judged on its ability to communicate with the tourism industry on a regular basis, via traditional media channels as well as Social Media marketing.

Wesgro, Waldorf Arcade, 80 St George’s Mall, Cape Town.  Tel (021) 487-8600. www.wesgro.co.za Twitter: @Wesgro

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