Tag Archives: J&B Met

J&B Met 2015: Made for the Mix!

J&B MetThe J&B Met is a Cape Town institution, celebrating its 38th anniversary this year, but having been run for more than 135 years.   Taking place at Kenilworth Race Course today with the theme ‘Made for the Mix’, the race is expected to attract 50000 punters and fashionistas.

The Mix slogan describes that the J&B Met is a mix of the ‘fashionable and the famous‘.  It invites attendees to mix with different people at the event, to combine different fashion styles, Continue reading →

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J&B Met 2014: Cape Town ‘Made to Conquer’, ‘victorious dress’!

J&B Met 2014The 37th J&B Met will be held at the Kenilworth Racecourse today, the longest standing sport event in the country.  More than 50000 fashionistas, socialites, and horse racing fans are expected to attend the event which has a jackpot of R2,5 million generates about R68 million for Cape Town and the Western Cape, and creates an income of R14 million for fashion design alone.

The theme this year is ‘Made to Conquer – Dress Victoriously’, and will inspire the J&B Met attendees in buying their outfits for the most prestigious society event.  The J&B Most Elegant Couple Competition will acknowledge the most creative interpretation of the theme.  Shop windows of fashion outlets in top Cape Town shopping malls will be dressed to match the theme.

Western Cape Tourism Minister Alan Winde lauded the economic impact of the event: ‘The J&B Met illustrates the importance to our economy of events tourism. It’s one of 19 events which contribute more than R1.3 billion to our regional GDP. In the previous financial year, these major events attracted close to 200 000 tourists to the Western Cape. Over the next few weeks several signature events will be taking place including the Mining Indaba, the Design Indaba and the Old Mutual Two Oceans Marathon. With its R2.5 million main prize, the J & B Met is a premier fixture on the Western Cape’s events calendar. I believe the Western Cape economy is the real winner of the Met, as the event attracts over 50 000 visitors and generates an estimated R68 million for the province. It’s a key economic driver and plays an important role in job creation, most notably in the events tourism space‘.

Entrance to the J&B Lifestyle Village ‘powered by 5FM’ costs R495 (includes entrance, parking, entertainment such as Goldfish Continue reading →

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Events generated more than R1 billion for the Western Cape!

Bastille Festival WinetimesEvents hosted in the Western Cape generated R1,3 billion for its economy in the last financial year, said Alan Winde, Minister of Finance, Economic Development, and Tourism at the Wesgro AGM last month.

Close to 200 000 tourists were attracted to the province by the 19 events, which included the Cape Argus Pick ‘n Pay Cycle Tour, the ABSA Cape Epic, the Vodacom Funny Festival, and the Knysna Oyster Festival. The largest money spinners by far for the province in terms of their economic impact are the Cycle Tour (R450 million), Design Indaba (R326 million), and the ABSA Cape Epic (R218 million).

The Minister said that the events list is diverse, reflecting the diversity of the province.  Some events are held in the ‘traditional off-peak season, which is in line with the efforts to ensure the Western Cape is an all-year round destination’.  Unfortunately few of these winter events benefit the tourism industry of the Western Cape, with the exception of the Franschhoek Bastille Continue reading →

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Banning alcohol marketing will cost jobs, unlikely to reduce drinking! What about Social Media?

Amstel deliveryThe government appears determined to proceed with the ban on alcohol advertising, something it has threatened for some years now, in a bid to reduce the drinking of alcohol, the target being a 20% reduction within the next seven years, reports The Times.  The proposal to ban such advertising was approved by a committee on substance abuse, consisting of a number of Ministers, earlier this week, and now the Minister of Health wants to present it to a Cabinet committee and then to Cabinet itself for approval.

The first step in the alcohol marketing ban, as contained in a draft ‘Control of Marketing of Alcohol Beverages Bill’ was the approval granted by a committee of Ministers of Sports (Fikile Mbalula), Trade and Industry (Rob Davies), Transport (Dipuo Peters), and Social Development (Bathabile Dlamini).  The public, the wine and other alcoholic beverages industries, and the Continue reading →

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Fabulous February boost to tourism in Cape Town and the Winelands!

February has become the Cape’s best tourism month, with a mix of German, British and South African tourists in the main.  Cape Town is so busy this week, that it is almost impossible for visitors to the city, who had not pre-booked, to be accommodated.

Cape Town Tourism and Wesgro, who are doing no visible marketing for Cape Town and the Western Cape anymore, cannot claim to be responsible for the tourism bonanza.  The Mining Indaba is the single largest ‘event’ for Cape Town annually, and started on Monday and finishes tomorrow, with 7500 mining executives from around the world attending the world’s largest mining investment conference and exhibition at the Cape Town International Convention Centre.   Restaurants, car rental companies, and taxis are benefiting too.

Last Saturday’s J&B Met did not show much impact on visitor numbers to Cape Town, as we saw happening last year already, and one wonders why it was moved to the first weekend in February instead of its usual timing of the last weekend in January. Given the build up to the Mining Indaba, not all J&B Met visitors from Johannesburg could be accommodated with flights and accommodation this past weekend.

The concert with Die Antwoord and the Red Hot Chilli Peppers caused absolute traffic chaos in Cape Town yesterday, with 40000 fans making their way to the Cape Town Stadium, a fabulous venue for such shows. Half of our Whale Cottage Camps Bay guests came to Cape Town yesterday to see the concert, one family travelling all the way from East London.

While the tourism pressure eases off towards this weekend, the following one is fully booked again, just following Valentine’s Day, visitors spending time in our city for a romantic get-away.

Events clearly are a major tourism boost for our city and province, but it would help if they did not fall in the same period, and could be spread out better.  Unfortunately the tourism authorities do not work with event organisers to ensure a better spread.   Western Cape Minister of Finance, Economic Development and Tourism Alan Winde said that the planned expansion of the Convention Centre, making it Africa’s best conference facility, will mean that an even larger Mining Indaba can be organised, and that other large events such as the tourism Indaba can be attracted away from Durban!

A disarmingly quiet March is lying ahead, the Argus Cycle Tour not appearing from accommodation bookings (or lack of) to benefit the Atlantic Seaboard.  Easter is early this year, at the end of March, which will make it a more than quiet April, given that the tourism summer ends at Easter in the Cape.

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

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Cape Town Tourism loses Destination Marketing role, vote of No Confidence by City of Cape Town! (First impressions)

Despite a warning e-mail sent to members of Cape Town Tourism the day before its AGM held at the Cape Town International Convention Centre last night, it appears that the news that the City of Cape Town has established a new Directorate of Tourism, Events and Marketing, and will be taking over ‘Destination Marketing’ from Cape Town Tourism, accompanied by a Budget cut, was confusing to most attending the AGM.  The new City of Cape Town T (Tourism) E (Events) A (Arts and Culture) M (Marketing) directorate, under the management of Executive Director Anton Groenewald, will take over the marketing of Cape Town, and therefore reduces the Budget of Cape Town Tourism, which will now focus on Visitor Information Services and ‘Tourism Marketing’!

This was not the only shock of the evening, which was preceded by the election of three new Board members, which according to the Cape Town Tourism constitution all had to be ‘Black’ (defined as Black African, Coloured and Indian) it was explained by the election auditor Achmat Toefy.  Nine nominations had been received for the three Board seats, and whilst the female quota of two has already been met by the incumbent Directors, there were no existing ‘Black’ Directors, and therefore members had to vote for 3 out of the 6 ‘Black’ nominees, despite excellent candidates such as ‘white’ Guy Lundy, now at Future Insight Consulting.  One wonders how many members refused to vote, or spoilt their ballot!  Ian Bartes, the diplomatic Chairman of Cape Town Tourism, has not made himself available for another term, probably realising how tough the year ahead will be, in negotiating a role for Cape Town Tourism and sufficient Budget to continue its work.  The interesting question is who of the ‘German Troika’ will be elected as the new Chairman: Sabine Lehmann, CEO of the Table Mountain Aerial Cableway Company has been the Deputy Chairman, and could be a tough Chairman for the City to negotiate with, although she may need to stay on the right side of the City for her business.  Nils Heckscher, GM of the Winchester Mansions, and ex-Chairman of FEDHASA, is a known Yes-man, and would be an ideal push-over for the City.  Susanne Faussner-Ringer, owner of Greenways, would be a very tough negotiator too but is disliked.  Existing Board members Pierre du Plessis, a ‘Friend’ of Cape Town Tourism and not from the tourism industry, and Sarah Struys of Kirstenbosch, as well as the three newly elected Board members marketing consultant Craig Kensley, Enver Mally of African Eagle Daytours, and Jonathan Jacobs of Tourism Enterprise Partnership would be less likely to be elected Chairman.

Then there was the oddity of a number of changes to be made to the Constitution, no copies of the resolutions being sent to members prior to the AGM.  Slide after slide of the resolutions, not readable to most the audience in the 1000 seater hall, were rushed through by Toefy.  He seemed to indicate that the resolutions only related to some typing errors in the Constitution, the re-appointment of the auditors, and the 14% increase in the Directors’ emolument from R350 to R400 (period not specified), all contained in one resolution, and not separated.  No one voted against the adoption of the resolution, most not knowing what was going on.

In his Chairman’s address, Ian Bartes spelt out the impact of the City’s decision on Cape Town Tourism, reminding the audience of the member resolution in 2008, giving Cape Town Tourism the mandate to add Destination Marketing to its portfolio, responsible for the full tourism destination management and marketing service, due to the City’s unhappiness with the marketing role of the then Cape Town Routes Unlimited, the City placing its 50% contribution into Cape Town Tourism, at around R40 million.  Anton Groenewald was appointed to head up the directorate of Mayoral Committee Member for Tourism, Events, and Marketing Grant Pascoe late last year.  He informed Cape Town Tourism in August that its role would change, and its Budget would reduce, the figures only supplied last month, a decrease in the budget to R 36 million, from R42 million the year before.  The Budget reduction means a loss of R2,1 million, due to commitments which had already been made with suppliers.  To prevent a qualified audit and any instability in the operation of Cape Town Tourism, Chairman Bartes had been mandated to sign the City’s Service Level Agreement ‘in good faith’ , he said (we read this as meaning ‘under duress’).  When asked, Bartes did not deny that the implication could be job losses at Cape Town Tourism.  He also ominously wished the new Board ‘good luck’ for the new journey with the City of Cape Town!  He did not present Financials, a fundamental part of an AGM!  A sign of the tough times was the very thin ‘goody bag’, only containing the list of Board nominees, and a packet of Europcar mints!

The CEO speech by Mariette du Toit-Helmbold was a short and sweet presentation without many gimmicks, only a few slides representing their broad categories of work, very understated compared to the normal glitz and glamour, and mainly focusing on their new ‘MyCapeTownHoliday.com’ Facebook competition.  She spoke in her usual ‘Digital Nomad’ speak, using the same concepts of previous talks, praising her organisation’s Facebook fan statistics and R45 million media coverage value, trying very hard to sound confident and unaffected by the City’s devastating news to her organisation.  She praised her staff, but did not call them up to the stage as she did in the past, only acknowledging the soon-to-depart Cathy Alberts, who has been at Cape Town Tourism for years and is leaving to head up St Helena Tourism (her role will be taken over by controversial Communications Manager Skye Grove, a first sign of money-saving).  She said that they have an ‘innovative marketing strategy, but uncertainty about the funding’.  The National Geographic campaign will be funded from their own income, she said. She could not talk about any future plans for the year ahead, which the AGM has been a platform for in the past, because she and her team have no idea where the City will be taking them. She did confidently state that Cape Town Tourism is ‘the best agency to deliver Tourism Marketing and Visitor Services’.

Mrs Helmbold was followed by Mr Groenewald, and he explained his new TEAM concept, having taken a top executive (Rory Viljoen) with international marketing experience at Distell and Coca Cola on board to market Cape Town. They will retain the focus on ‘established markets’ USA, the ‘European Union’, Scandinavia, the UK, and some African countries. Almost a third of their spend will be on new markets, mainly BRICS countries.  There will be an increased focus on Arts & Culture, with a Cape Town Carnival planned for 16 March, and to be held on the Fan Mile.  There will be greater co-operation with the private sector to gain greater revenue out of the City’s assets (the Cape Town Stadium, City Hall, and Grand Parade).  His justification of the Turkey trip did not really go down, calling Istanbul the ‘gateway to an untapped market of 40 million’, and making it sound as if their trip had led to an increased number of Turkish Airlines direct flights per week between Istanbul and Cape Town. Sport brand collaboration will increase, as per Manchester United’s visit, and information about the economic impact thereof will be released soon, and the soccer team is set to return.  The City wants to make money out of such events. An Arts Festival is to be established.  We have heard it so often, but it was said again: more events will be focused in the May – October period.  Talks are underway with Western Province Rugby about Newlands Stadium/Cape Town Stadium.  Revenue sharing in the acts coming to Cape Town (Lady Gaga, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Linkin Park), and sports events like Kaizer Chiefs, the J&B Met, Argus Pick ‘n Pay Cycle Tour, ABSA Cape Epic, and more will be the focus in using the Cape Town Stadium and in generating income for the City.  The naming rights for the Cape Town Stadium cost R20 – R40 million.  ‘Pouring rights’ per event will cost R1 – R1,5 million.  Advertising space will be sold to generate income.

When asked what the difference between Destination and Tourism marketing is, Mr Groenewald did not really clarify, only saying that Cape Town Tourism would still represent Cape Town at tourism exhibitions such as ITB and WTM, and that his organisation would be negotiating with soccer teams!  The McGrath Collection GM Tony Romer-Lee quite rightly asked why this decision had been made mid-year.  Mr Groenewald said that the City had given Cape Town Tourism the marketing role four years ago, due to the poor execution by Cape Town Routes Unlimited.  As Wesgro has taken over this duty now at a provincial level, the City has decided to take back the marketing role, in using its assets to promote Cape Town. Whereas the City and Cape Town had one year Service Level Agreements renewed annually, the City plans to make it a three year one ahead, allowing both parties ‘to work collaboratively’.

The new heads of the City of Cape Town TEAM directorate are Rory Viljoen (Marketing), Events (Teral Cullen), Zaid Minty (Arts and Culture), Lesley de Reuck (Cape Town Stadium), and Freddie Prins (Strategic Assets), while the Research and Strategy position is still vacant.

The City’s shock moves were not discussed, as promised by Mrs Helmbold in the e-mail she sent to her members the day before the AGM, even though ten questions were allowed:

“We look forward to seeing many of Cape Town Tourism’s members and stakeholders at Thursday’s Annual General Meeting. We felt it would be expedient to send out an important communication prior to the event so that you are fully informed on the status of Cape Town Tourism’s mandate and funding from the City of Cape Town.

At the end of 2011, the City of Cape Town established a new directorate called Tourism, Events and Marketing. The Directorate consists of the following Departments: Tourism, Place Marketing, Events, Arts and Culture and Strategic Assets.

A delay in the implementation of the City of Cape Town’s new directorate and budget finalisation subsequently resulted in a delay in the confirmation of Cape Town Tourism’s funding and mandate for 2012/2013. The Board was informed at the end of May 2012 that the new directorate would have an impact on Cape Town Tourism’s mandate, in particular its destination marketing mandate, which would be limited to tourism marketing.

Subsequent to this notification, the Board of Cape Town Tourism has been in discussion with the City to clarify the impact on the organisation’s budget and programmes delivered. In the meantime, the organisation, as agreed with the City, continued delivery of visitor and tourism marketing programmes as outlined in its original 2012/2013 business plan and budget in good faith.

Confirmation of the City’s grant funding allocation for the year was finally received in mid-September 2012 (Cape Town Tourism’s financial year is aligned with the City’s, i.e. July -June), which were reduced from the budgeted grant funding of R42 million to R36 million. In effect, this means a reduced operating budget from R48million to R39million for 2012/2013.

A new Service Level Agreement was received from the City of Cape Town on 12 October 2012. It specified that Cape Town Tourism would now be responsible for tourism marketing in conjunction with the City and no longer destination marketing – a role that will now be managed internally by the City of Cape Town as part of its Place Marketing directorate.

Due to the delay in confirmation of the City’s grant funding for the year, revising operating budgets and concluding a new SLA, Cape Town Tourism will be unable to deliver on its full marketing plan and is at risk of a qualified audit due to its going concern status. Due to the budget and mandate changes some of our future plans will also be affected. The City will address the industry on its new structure, proposed place marketing activities and future partnership with Cape Town Tourism at the AGM.

Cape Town Tourism is committed to a continued positive partnership with the City of Cape Town and the Board is working with the City leadership to resolve the impact of these changes on the organisation and the tourism industry in the short term whilst negotiating a new long term agreement between the City and Cape Town Tourism. We wish to remind you that all guests are required to register for the AGM to ensure an enjoyable experience for all attendees. If you are unsure of the status of your registration for the AGM, this can be confirmed via e-mail to agm@capetown.travel.

The AGM will be an opportunity for Cape Town Tourism to share successes of the past year, unpack the revised budget, discuss the implications thereof and share the best strategy to mitigate the risks associated with the reduction in funding. Please send through any questions or comments that you might have on the matter to elana@capetown.travel in order for us to address it.”

Poor marketing of Cape Town by Cape Town Tourism, which we have criticised over the past two years, will soon be something of the past, the City clearly agreeing that it has not been good enough, and that Tweeting and ‘100 Women 100 Wines’ competitions alone will not bring tourists to Cape Town.  We have experienced Anton Groenewald in a ‘previous life’, as a Board member of the previous section 21 Cape Town Tourism, which was bled dry financially at the end of 2003, when we as a Board resisted the call to amalgamate into a united Cape Town Tourism consisting of all Visitor Information Centres in the Cape Town metropole, thus forced to do what the City demanded.  This may be the case again if Cape Town Tourism were to resist.

The tourism industry should be concerned about this turn of events.  For seven months we have been waiting to see action from Wesgro, the new provincial Tourism marketing body, without a Tourism head and not having done anything for tourism other than a provincial stand at Indaba in May!  Of greater concern is that it was stated that it will take the next six months for the City and Cape Town Tourism to thrash out the detail of who does what in terms of their new split roles of Destination Marketing and Tourism Marketing, respectively.  Surprising was how poor the understanding was amongst Cape Town Tourism members at the AGM, those that I spoke to referring to Wesgro as the new body doing the marketing for Cape Town.  Mr Groenewald did not appear to be impressed with his provincial colleagues’ performance to date either!

Speaking to Mr Groenewald after the AGM, one senses an energy and a determination, and a charming and welcome honesty in acknowledging that there is a lot to fix at Cape Town Tourism.   He welcomes critical feedback from the industry, because that helps to reinforce his observations (he supported our criticism of the Blogger Tweet-Up impression count, proudly PR-ed by Cape Town Tourism).  He wants to move Cape Town Tourism back into its predominant role of Visitor Information Services, and specifically to make money for itself from commissions on bookings, seeing a role for the organisation of being the official accommodation supplier for all major events in Cape Town, and even to official City of Cape Town accommodation requirements, but then at a reduced commission. He blatantly shared: ‘The more they make (from accommodation booking commissions), the more we can take from them’!

The months ahead will be most interesting as we observe this development, and we will report back what we see and know.  There will be follow-up blogposts about the AGM, as we are awaiting further information, and we will meet with Mr Groenewald, and Rory Viljoen, the new Director of ‘Place Marketing’ in the new City of Cape Town TEAM, shortly.’

POSTSCRIPT 20/10: News24 has a similar take on the events at the AGM last night, its implication for the marketing of Cape Town, and in its interpretation of it being a vote of no confidence in Cape Town Tourism!

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

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‘Clifton Shores’ reality TV show of Cape Town: beauty on the beach!

Last night the new 13-series reality TV show ‘Clifton Shores‘ premiered on Vuzu to mixed reaction, locals slamming the production on Twitter, yet the beautiful shots of Clifton were praised from a tourism perspective.

‘Clifton Shores’ documents the ability of a bevy of beautiful American lasses to adapt to ‘survive’ in Cape Town, said executive producer Quinton van der Burgh, reports the Cape Argus. He explained that they cast the girls in America, on the basis of not only their beauty but also their brains.  Katy, Kathy, Destiny, and Jamillette were selected and came to Cape Town last year for the filming, being joined by local lasses Raquel, Rikki, and Claire, as well as local lads Quinton, Brett, Toby, and Steven.  The unique idea for the series came when Van den Burgh, billed as a ‘coal mining magnate’,  was driving between Johannesburg and the coal mines, looking to get away from the ‘black’ in his life, he explained!

They were accommodated in a Clifton mansion, and had to work for Van den Burgh, playing the role of a billionaire businessman.  They had to use their social skills to raise funds for a charity, and to host parties. No script was used. ‘We just started rolling and the drama comes as we go along. It is as real as we get’.  For example, one of the girls is fired. He said about filming locally in Cape Town: “It is a brilliant idea because everything happens in Cape Town, one of the most beautiful destinations in the country. So we see them work and play in a city that allows both all year round” .

Van den Burgh explained that he has made the series to be successful amongst American viewers first and foremost, to make it financially viable, having had to make this choice early on in his production.  Two American networks have expressed interest in the show.  He proudly praised the marketing role of the series: “Also, there is a need to show Cape Town as a tourist destination and, judging by the way the ladies have fun, we are doing a good job in marketing the place” .  The stars of the series were filmed around Cape Town, at the beaches, and even attending the J&B Met earlier this year.  The video for the series shows some clips, including lots of footage of the Twelve Apostles and Camps Bay in the background to Clifton Beach, abseiling down Table Mountain, paragliding down Lion’s Head, flying over the Cape Town Stadium and V&A Waterfront, and also moves to the Palace of the Lost City, where they do game viewing, and ride elephants.

The Cape Town tourism industry should be grateful for Van den Burgh’s decision to shoot the series in Cape Town, and choosing Clifton (one of the top ten beaches in the world, he motivated).  One hopes that it will be sold to American networks with good audiences, to encourage them to visit Cape Town and its ‘Clifton Shores‘!  The reality TV series (see trailer) comes one month after the Bollywood movie ‘Cocktail’ was released internationally, having been predominantly shot in Cape Town too.

POSTSCRIPT 4/9: Last night we watched the series for the first time, being the third episode.  It showed the Bay Hotel in Camps Bay, at which a meeting was held, paragliding down Lion’s Head, beautiful Table Mountain, a township, and a show at the now ex-Vaudeville. A surprise was that the episode was only 30 minutes long.

‘Clifton Shores’, Vuzu (DStv channel 123), Tuesdays at 21h00. www.cliftonshores.com

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

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Cape Town Tourism downscales its marketing campaign due to funding constraints!

Last week Cape Town Tourism invited its members to attend a Marketing feedback meeting, to share with them what the organisation has done in terms of marketing since it launched its Marketing Strategy with fanfare at its AGM six months ago.  It was also an opportunity for Cape Town Tourism CEO Mariette du Toit-Helmbold to reconnect with her members, still being on maternity leave, which is due to end next month.

The highlight of the meeting was the re-introduction to Cape Town Tourism of Anton Groenewald, the new Executive Director of Tourism, Events, and Marketing at the City of Cape Town, reporting to Mayoral Committee member for this portfolio Grant Pascoe. While Mr Pascoe has been an ineffective figure head of this department since he took over this portfolio, Mr Groenewald has a good track record of a tough no-nonsense approach to the management of public tourism monies.  He worked for the City of Cape Town ten years ago, and was instrumental in the closing down of the previous Cape Town Tourism, and the creation of the new amalgamated Cape Town Tourism.  Mr Groenewald left the City of Cape Town to take over the management of the Argus Cycle Tour, and thereafter the FNB Big Walk, and was most recently working in the office of the Premier of the Western Cape, giving him a good all-round management and public service experience. He mentioned that the Cape Town Stadium is one of the key assets he will manage for the city, and is the toughest one of all.  Since May 2011 the City has been supporting Cape Town Tourism, when Councillor Pascoe was elected to the Mayoral Committee. Mr Groenewald emphasised that his department is City-focused. His role will be to enhance the co-operation and collaboration between the City and Cape Town Tourism. He will also connect with the tourism industry directly, not explaining in which regard he will do this, but if it is to receive feedback, it would be most welcome. Cape Town Tourism receives the largest chunk of the City’s R426 billion budget, at R42 million per year currently, he said.

Enver Duminy, the acting-CEO in Mrs Helmbold’s absence, shared that the past six months have been tough in terms of budget, and that they had to ‘bite the bullet’, ‘put their money where their mouth is’, and ‘think out of the box’.

Mrs Helmbold provided the background, repeating what members had heard before in that Cape Town now is positioned as the ‘City of Inspiration’, going beyond its ‘Natural Beauty‘ positioning of the past. She reminded us that the new pay-off line for Cape Town is ‘You don’t need a holiday, you need Cape Town’, which was prominently displayed in the slides and banners on the stage of the beautifully renovated Fugard Theatre.  She acknowledged that the past six months were not easy, due to the funding shortage, but she did not explain the reason for the funding problem, having been very confident at the AGM last year, when the campaign was introduced to the industry. She recapped, stating that the main marketing goal is to increase the demand for Cape Town, not only in terms of tourism, but also its business and education sectors.  She said that Cape Town had ‘nothing to be ashamed of’, and in fact is on a par with or exceeds its competitors.  She mentioned that most of our business comes from the USA, the United Kingdom, and Germany, saying that these countries were all seriously affected by the recession, showing that she is misinformed, given how well Germany is doing, and what great numbers of German tourists have come to our country in this past summer.

The Cape Town Tourism marketing campaign was designed to attract the domestic travellers to take a short break in the city, as well as attract international visitors, offering them a broader economic and business tourism proposition.  The marketing approach is three-pronged:

· Increase demand

· Increase their spend when the tourists have arrived in the city

· Capitalise on the greater number of arrivals in benefiting the tourism industry.

The ‘Inspiration’ communication campaign presents Cape Town as a thriving and vibrant city against a ‘jaw-dropping backdrop’. Mrs Helmbold admitted publicly for the first time that ‘Inspiration’ is not a unique differentiator for Cape Town. The campaign ‘juxtaposes the usual with the unusual’, and is built on ‘stories of our own people’, she said, adding that Cape Town is packaged as ‘an unexpected city wanting to be discovered’. The New7Wonders of Nature and Cape Town winning the 2014 World Design Capital bid, as well as other impressive media accolades and awards, were good for Cape Town, and the past summer was better than expected.  But she added that they had not achieved the advertising budget to ‘spearhead the full campaign’, meaning that they had to re-prioritise, with hard work lying ahead.   Mrs Helmbold took credit for the media coverage for the New7Wonders of Nature and winning the 2014 World Design Capital bid, little of which was generated by Cape Town Tourism!  The organisation has redesigned its website, and achieves 500000 visits, especially from Brazil, she said.

Velma Corcoran has been the Marketing Manager for the past eight months, and she impressed with her professional and charming presentation of the marketing activities of the past six months, and those lying ahead, designed to counter seasonality and to grow tourism demand.  She showed the audience a video entitled ‘An Unexpected Cape Town’, which mixed footage of Cape Town with grainy out-of-focus unattractive stills shots of the city, which was launched to the travel trade and media at ITB in Berlin last month.  It has been put on You Tube, and has had 30000 hits to date.  An Events Calendar was compiled, and 20000 copies printed quarterly, but its print run has not been enough, and will be increased to 50000.  Cape Town Tourism has been involved with the Volvo Ocean Race, Design Indaba, Cape Town International Jazz Festival, the Beer Festival, and the Toffie Pop Festival, mainly having a stand at each event.  At the Design Indaba, for example, they had an interactive stand, with 1000 tiles which visitors had to attach to the wall.  They also hosted YFM during the J&B Met, and 30 international journalists during the Cape Epic, the media interest being greater for this event than for the Argus Cycle Tour and Two Oceans Marathons combined, Mrs Corcoran told the audience.

To counter the perception that Cape Town is expensive, events packages have been put together with Mango and Thompsons, providing an airline ticket, accommodation, and tickets to the event at very affordable prices. At the Cape Town International airport the new campaign message is visible in the Arrivals and Departures sections.  Cape Town Tourism has also just had the campaign erected on the exterior of its offices in Burg Street. The refreshed website has simplified navigation, and the content a website visitor will see is determined by the country from which one is visiting the site.  A Cape Town Tool Kit was also developed, allowing access to an ‘on-line hub of images and itinerary ideas’, which the trade, the media and Cape Town Tourism members can access. A Brand Ambassador campaign, to teach the Cape Town Tourism staff about marketing, has also been launched.

Mrs Corcoran said that they will be going to Indaba next month, sharing space on a new Western Cape Pavilion with thirteen product owners representing expected and unexpected aspects of Cape Town. A Three Cities Alliance has been established with Johannesburg Tourism and Durban Tourism, through which they share with SA Tourism what they have achieved, and to prevent duplication of activities. Mrs Corcoran had to admit that Johannesburg Tourism was not able to fund any planned joint marketing campaigns, and therefore it left Durban and Cape Town to jointly take on an amended National Geographic campaign, and to drop the Discovery campaign, which had been announced at the AGM as the most important marketing activity its Australian marketing consultant Ian Macfarlane had organised. Mr Duminy told me at the meeting that Mr Macfarlane has completed his contract with Cape Town Tourism, while Mrs Corcoran said he is still working with them! His name was not mentioned at all during the presentation! The National Geographic campaign has the potential of exposure in 173 countries in 37 languages, with 20,3 million online unique visits, as at February 2012. National Geographic will work with Cape Town and Durban, ‘the first urban tourism collaboration of its kind in South Africa’, said the Cape Town Tourism media release about the joint campaign, which for Cape Town will feature Boulders’ Beach, Robben Island, District Six, Woodstock, Bo Kaap, Table Mountain, the city’s wine routes, as well as its design, innovation, and inspirational strengths:

· Sending ‘Digital Nomad’ Andrew Evans to Cape Town (he has just arrived) for a two week period, and he will Tweet (@Wheres Andrew) to 14000 followers and blog (receiving 2,8 million unique visitors per month) about his visit.

· A TV crew will document Andrew’s visit

· 60 second ‘vignettes’ will focus on the ‘sounds of the city’, e.g. the Noon Gun, ghoema music, with exposure to 11,4 million viewers in the UK, 3,9 million in Germany, 7,4 million in the Netherlands, and 4 million in Africa.

· Advertorials will go into the National Geographic magazines, with a joint readership of 600000, in the USA, China, India and Australia

· On-line travel guides will gain exposure for 12 months, from July 2012 – May 2013.

· An one-hour documentary about Cape Town and Durban will be featured six times on the National Geographic channel between December 2012 – June 2013.

A domestic campaign ‘Discover why Cape Town warms up in winter’ will run in airline magazines, while ads with members’ special winter offers will run on Five FM, the Sunday Times, in-flight magazines, and on the Cape Town Tourism website.  Four top international Travel Bloggers have been invited to Cape Town, and will address a travel bloggers’ conference in August.

Comparing the Marketing presentation of last week with the promises made at the AGM in October – one should question why the joint venture with the Johannesburg and Durban Tourism bodies for the then planned Discovery and National Geographic campaigns was announced at the AGM before any agreement had been signed, the organisation losing face in the inability of Johannesburg Tourism to participate in what was planned as a R24 million campaign, each city to have contributed R8 million – the planned reduction in the number of Visitor Information Centres, the planned tiered membership program, the City Brand Ambassador campaign (which was to have included Archbishop Tutu and TV and radio presenter Liezel van der Westhuizen), and the Nightsbridge accommodation booking system were not addressed in the Marketing presentation last week.

POSTSCRIPT 1/6: Other than having attended Indaba, no marketing action is visible from Cape Town Tourism over the extremely poor winter period.  The organisation has only Tweeted once about the 8 Nation Under 20 soccer tournament taking place in Cape Town now, seemingly seeing it as a non-event, as do most Capetonians and the city’s news media.  Last night the Twitter account of Cape Town reported on a  dinner at Harbour House in the V&A Waterfront, and a few days before that the husband of Velma Corcoran, the Marketing Manager of Cape Town Tourism, wrote a blogpost for the Cape Town Tourism blog about the Gugulethu Wine Show, which took place last weekend! Cape Town Tourism’s Tweets are identical tot he Tweets by its Communications Manager Skye Grove.

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

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Cape Town hosts ‘the world’s most beautiful marathon’!

As far as Cape Town events go, the Old Mutual Two Oceans Marathon is the ‘stepsister’ of higher profile events such as the Cape Argus Cycle Tour, the Cape Town International Jazz Festival, and the J&B Met.  Today Cape Town hosts the 43rd Two Oceans Marathon, which carries the proud pay-off line of ‘The world’s most beautiful marathon’, says its website.

The pay-off line describes the picturesque route the 56 km ultra-marathon runners will cover, starting near SA Breweries at Main Road in Newlands, going through Chapman’s Peak, Hout Bay, and Constantia Nek, and ending at UCT.  One hopes for the runners that the rain will hold off until they complete the marathon.  The half-marathon of 21 km is run in Constantia.  The Two Oceans Marathon will result in a number of road closures in the Southern Suburbs, including Constantia, Claremont, Newlands, Bishopscourt, and Mowbray.

Interesting is that little information about the economic value of the Two Oceans Marathon could be found via Google, such information usually proudly presented by sponsors and organisers of the other mainstream Cape Town events. A Cape Business News article quoted Calvyn Gilfellan, the former CEO of the now defunct Cape Town Routes Unlimited, in providing the economic value of major Cape events, and the Two Oceans Marathon falls in fifth place, in having generated R80 million for the local economy.  This compares to the Cape Town International Jazz Festival economic impact of R500 million, that of the Cape Argus Cycle Tour of R450 million, the Cape Epic at R200 million, and the Klein Karoo Nasionale Kunstefees (KKNK) at R96 million.  The J&B Met and Wacky Wine Weekend in Robertson are far smaller in their economic impact.

The tourism impact of Cape events appears to be reducing, we found this year, with occupancy of Camps Bay guest houses having reduced for the Cape Argus Cycle Tour, the J&B Met, and the Cape Town International jazz Festival, compared to previous years, indicating that more locals and fewer out-of-town visitors may be participating in these events, and therefore the economic impact figures for this year may be lower than last year.  Odd therefore was to see a lightweight media interview by Mariette du Toit-Helmbold with Eye Witness News (the news service for Kfm), her first media appearance since she took maternity leave in December last year, even though she has not yet officially returned to work.  She states that the Easter weekend will be busy due to the Two Oceans Marathon and the KKNK (in Oudtshoorn), but this is contrary to our experience, with many Camps Bay guest houses not being fully-booked this weekend.  The rain forecast for the next three days would not encourage tourism to the city.  She also referred to ‘other events in the city’ over this weekend, but we are not aware of any event other than the Two Oceans Marathon.  She countered the petrol price increase, and its impact on tourism, saying that ‘we still expect a lot of people to come to Cape Town over the Easter weekend‘, without backing up her claim with quantitative information.  She appears to be very out of touch with the tourism industry due to her long maternity leave break.

We wish the 23000 Two Oceans Marathon runners, and visitors to Cape Town supporting them, a wonderful day in the most beautiful city in the world!

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

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‘Fabulous February’ Cape Tourism’s best month, but media report irresponsible!

February has drawn to a close, and has not disappointed the tourism industry in Cape Town in giving it a welcome confidence and income boost.  However, February occupancy in Camps Bay has been on a par with 2011, at just under 90%.  February is by far the most popular tourist month of the year now, which it previously shared with November.

February is attractive to the UK market specifically, and to the northern hemisphere generally, to have a break after a long and bitterly cold winter this year.  The UK had school half term in this period too, allowing families to travel.  The Mining Indaba earlier this month was a tremendous boost for the city.  Our statistics for Camps Bay show that the share of the UK market in February was at its lowest level in the past six years, at only 20%, with that of South African visitors having increased dramatically from 9 % in 2007 to 38% this month.  The German tourist share at 15 % this month is on a par with 2007 and 2008, a welcome improvement after a decline in the years between 2008 and 2012.

In January occupancy in Camps Bay improved significantly to 72%, from 58% the year before, but it was still below the occupancy achieved in January between 2007 and 2010.   A similar trend was evident in December 2011.  Hermanus showed a significant recovery in February, with a 40% occupancy, double that of February 2011, the best performance since 2008.  Sadly Franschhoek experienced by far its worst February ever in six years, largely due to the sharp decline in the number of weddings which have traditionally been held in the village in February, and German tourists being less interested in visiting Franschhoek, choosing Stellenbosch in preference.  The Franschhoek Wine Valley tourism association has done no visible marketing in the past year, other than the hosting of a few events, and its reduced marketing in using the services of a one-day-a-week consultant is not helping!

It was with concern that we read an article in the Weekend Argus last weekend, irresponsibly entitled ‘Tourists flock to Mother City in record numbers’. The article’s claim that ‘Cape Town’s extended summer has translated into the city’s best-ever holiday season, with tourism experts declaring that predictions for a much-improved season have been right on the money’, is misleading, and completely incorrect.  The problem probably lies with who the journalist interviewed as so-called ‘tourism experts’.

The article quoted a number of tourism players, and the statements of most would be shot down by the industry, given their own experiences of the past few months, and how these compare with previous years:

*   The biggest culprit is Cape Chamber of Commerce President Michael Bagraim, who has enjoyed using his position as President to make media statements about any possible topic, including tourism, about which he has little experience as a labour lawyer. He claimed that the tourism figures ‘were the best he had seen yet for the city’ (our underlining).  His statement implies that he may not have seen all potential past tourism information, and it shows in his subsequent quotes to the journalist, including the nonsensical statement that ‘This past summer has certainly been the best, and we hope the upcoming summer will be even better. At the current rate I think Cape Town could easily become the best tourist destination in the world’, not defining how he defines ‘best’!  He clearly does not understand the definition of ‘summer’, and that it still has another six weeks to go, with far lower occupancy expected in this period.

Mr Bagraim goes from bad to worse, by praising the World Cup for the good performance: “I believe that we are now experiencing the rewards from the World Cup, the reason being that so many tourists currently in the city were here during that period, and are now returning”. We cannot agree with Mr Bagraim at all, showing that he was completely out of his depth in this interview!   He added that word of mouth from those that had attended the World Cup 18 months ago, the resultant media coverage, Table Mountain’s New7Wonders of Nature (not yet confirmed for Cape Town), and being named 2014 World Design Capitalwould help ensure that Cape Town’s tourist enterprise would continue to thrive’ (our underlining).  Mr Bagraim clearly was not aware that the tourism industry experienced a crisis in 2011, and was nowhere near ‘thriving’!  He added:‘The one thing to remember about tourism is that it is foreign money which comes into the city, meaning it is new money that gets recycled throughout the economy’ (our underlining).  Once again Mr Bagraim has not been briefed about the visitor composition, and that the majority of tourists in the Cape are South African!  The rest of his statement would make economists shudder!  We can however agree with his declaration that ‘Tourism is certainly the biggest money-spinner for the city, and it will continue to be so for many years to come’!

*  Western Cape Minister of Tourism Alan Winde quoted improved visitor numbers for ‘Table Mountain National Park’ and Robben Island, but the time period was not stated.

*   Calvyn Gilfellan, CEO of Cape Town Routes Unlimited, issued a media statement a week ago, along similar lines of the Weekend Argus article, and the journalist must have sought inspiration for his headline from this irresponsible media statement about the ‘interim summer’ period.  Mr Gilfellan is quoted as saying that Table Mountain had seen a 25 % increase in visitor numbers between November – January relative to the same period a year ago.  His conclusion is that it proves ‘the impact an international accolade has on the popularity of the attraction’. What Gilfellan neglected to mention was that the improved weather (i.e. reduced number of days on which the Cableway did not operate due to rain and gale force wind) in the past three months relative to a year ago played a huge role in the tourism numbers achieved for Cape Town’s icon.

*   Cape Town Tourism’s Communication Manager Skye Grove was also quoted, in a nonsensical linkage made between tour guides and the increased use of technology, ‘which should spur tour guides to up their game’, she is quoted as saying.  Further she is quoted as saying that tour guides should maintain high standards of quality and content ‘to keep up both with the challenge of technology, but also with the high tourist numbers’, a statement that does not make sense!  Ms Grove sent out a media release last week, sharing informal ‘research’ Cape Town Tourism had conducted amongst its members about their performance in December and January. With the exception of the accommodation members, the sample sizes were not mentioned, yet detailed analyses were provided, and one can assume that the subsample sizes were tiny (only 106 accommodation establishments responded, representing by far their largest member segment).  Ms Grove quotes passenger arrival figures at Cape Town International, up on the year before, which was a particularly poor period of arrivals.  She quoted Ravi Nadasen, GM of The Cullinan, who stated that accommodation establishments had not experienced the same good performance as had tourism products, due to the oversupply of accommodation in the city, as well as a trend to visitors staying with family and friends.

*   Mayoral Committee Member for Tourism, Events and Marketing, Grant Pascoe, is receiving a lot of coverage via Cape Town Tourism’s media releases, in the few that they issue, and his statements in the Cape Town Tourism media release were included in the Weekend Argus article, once again demonstrating how out of touch the Councillor is with tourism in the city.  He is quoted as saying that ‘the boost in the number of visitors to the city was a trend that was expected to continue into 2012’, given a number of events in March and April, including the Argus Cycle Tour, the Cape Town International Jazz Festival, Design Indaba, and the Two Oceans Marathon.  Our experience is that events (e.g. J&B Met) have attracted fewer non-Cape Town visitors to Cape Town this year, and even the Argus Cycle Tour has not yet filled Camps Bay, as it has in the past years.

We have previously pleaded for greater honesty and reliability in the reporting of the performance of the tourism industry.  The summer season is not yet over, and the past twelve months should not be the only benchmark of tourism performance, given that 2011 was the worst tourism year ever experienced in the Cape. It is no achievement to see tourism improvements relative to 2011!

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

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