South Africa can expect a Tourist boom from Germany this year, with another film about our country to be launched in Germany on 25 February. The documentary about our country is called ‘Südafrika: der Kinofilm‘ (South Continue reading →
* The inaugural Cape Town Cup 2015 football challenge will be held at the Cape Town Stadium on 24 and 26 July. Local team Ajax Cape Town will play Sporting Clube de Portugal, Crystal Palace FC, and Super Sport United, the City of Cape Town has announced.
* Ethiopia is the best tourist destination, according to the European Continue reading →
* The Department of Home Affairs has ‘rubbished‘ the claim of SATSA (SA Tourism Service Association) that it is seeing a decline in airline ticket sales to our country of 30%, saying that the association is only trying to ‘cause confusion‘. SATSA CEO David Frost has described the Department’s reaction to the decline as ‘insulting’. The Department has stated that its priority is the safety of children, and not tourism!
* Qatar Airways will be increasing the frequency of its flights to Cape Town, offering daily flights to Cape Town in summer and in winter. Cape Town Tourism CEO Enver Duminy welcomed the larger number of travelers Continue reading →
Last night’s episode 12 of ‘Hayden Quinn: South Africa‘ showed many South Africans an area of the country they have little exposure to, being Shakaland, a Zulu Cultural Centre, where Quinn was exposed to Zulu stick fighting, dancing, and traditional food and beer. The link to Woolworths in rhino spotting and to Shakaland is not clear, other than that Woolworths sells Rhino-themed shopper bags.
The Wildlife ACT (African Conservation Trust) Rhino monitor guide Zama Ncube took Quinn and Justin Smith, Head of Sustainability at Woolworths, to track black and white rhino, finding fresh dung and tracks of the rhino in the thick grass, and they were able to spot them too. Woolworths’ shopper bags with rhino visuals were plugged, as was the My Planet shopper card, proceeds of which go to the Wildlife ACT program. The link between Woolworths’ Sustainability focus and Wildlife ACT was not explained. Quinn then took to the skies in a helicopter, flown by pilot Etienne Gerber of the Zululand Anti-Poaching Wing of Project Rhino KZN, making it far easier to see the rhinos from above, and to control their movement and protection. Quinn was spoilt with sightings of zebra, giraffe, and buck. He was told that there are 20000 rhinos now. Continue reading →
It was ironic that episode 11 of ‘Hayden Quinn: South Africa‘ last night focused on the Natal Midlands, and that a large part of the half-hour episode focused on farmer Kevin Lang’s Fairfield Dairy Ayrshire farm, given our Blogpost yesterday about the new defensive Woolworths ‘Good Food News’ supplement in the Sunday Times.
The episode started off with Hayden having a cooling swim near the Howick Falls, which have a 105 meter drop. Once refreshed, he met Chef Jackie Cameron, then Executive Chef of Eat Out Top 10 restaurant at Hartford House, but who has left to establish her Jackie Cameron School of Food and Wine, which opens in Hilton in January. Chef Jackie was identified as a WWF-SASSI Trailblazer Chef. They met at the Karkloof Market, which is just outside Howick, and here Jackie introduced Hayden to farmer Rob Symons of Broadleaze Organics, offering unusual herbs such as Vietnamese coriander. Dutch cheesemaker MJ Mook of Just Cheese introduced Hayden to and allowed him to taste her special cheeses. The market seemed a jolly space, with fresh vegetables, herbs, meat, flowers, cheeses, and more. Continue reading →
Last night’s episode 10 of ‘Hayden Quinn: South Africa‘ showed Hayden Quinn leaving South Africa, and visiting the beautiful Lesotho, ‘Kingdom in the Sky‘, southernmost land-locked country in Africa, and completely surrounded by South Africa. The content of the episode was motivated by the Katse Fish Farms, which grows trout in Lesotho, a supplier to Woolworths in a production process which is linked to the company’s sister operation Three-Streams Smokehouse in Franschhoek. Content-wise it was the thinnest episode, both in terms of little meaningful information provided, and even in terms of the few TV commercials flighted!
Hayden was seen on a horse in a traditional BaSotho outfit, with a blanket wrapped around him and wearing a BaSotho hat. It was explained to him that Lesotho is 3800 meters above sealevel, its lowest regions still being higher than South Africa, and therefore the locals keep warm by wrapping the blankets around them. About three-quarters of the country is rural.
In a village near the Katse Dam, Hayden met Rose Lekhoakhoa, a teacher and cook, who grows vegetables Continue reading →
* South Africa, and the Cape specifically, has two The World’s 50 Best Restaurants on the top 100 list: The Test Kitchen at 48th position, and The Tasting Room at 72nd position.
* A Schengen-type visa may be introduced for the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) countries, to make travelling easier for tourists. This suggestion is on the agenda of the WTTC Global Summit, and it is planned to increase the tourism market share of the continent to a double-digit one by 2020, from the current 4%. Our country is pushing for such a visa, but only a handful of the other SADC countries Angola, Botswana, Congo, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia, and Zimbabwe is expected to sign the visa agreement initially.
* Surprising is to read that Distell ad agency The Bester Burke Slingers Group is closing its doors in July, the partners saying that they have had enough of the advertising industry, and that they are no longer able to guide clients in their marketing.
Jordan Estate and Graham Beck wines will be served at the Sentebale Gala Dinner at Summer Place in Johannesburg next Wednesday, launching a fundraising programme to build the Mamohato Centre for children and young persons in Lesotho. Guest of honour will be Prince Harry.
The new Mamohato Centre is named after Lesotho’s late Queen Mamohato Bereng Seeiso, and will be built on what is said to be the birthplace of the Lesotho people. The Centre will care for young persons whose lives have been affected by HIV, to build their self-confidence and improve their quality of life.
Prince Harry set up the Sentebale charity in 2006, in honour of his late mother Princess Diana and Lesotho’s Prince Seeiso’s mother, the late Queen Mamohato. Princess Diana was well-known for her charity work, especially for AIDS/HIV awareness and prevention.
Graham Beck Wines is the official Cap Classique sponsor for the Sentebale Gala Dinner, while Jordan will sponsor their Barrel Fermented Chardonnay 2011, the Cobblers Hill 2009, and the Mellifera Noble Late Harvest 2011.
POSTSCRIPT 24/2: The Sunday Times reports today that Prince Harry’s girlfriend Cressida Bonas has accompanied the Prince on his visit, and may attend the dinner with him. ‘Top Billing’ presenter Bonang Matheba, wearing a Gavin Rajah creation encrusted with Swarovski crystals, will be the hostess for the evening, and singer Yvonne Chaka Chaka will entertain the 250 guests. ‘A five-course feast with an African feel’ will be served by caterer Vicky Crease, and will include crocodile, Karoo rack of lamb, and pistachio mousse. Prince Harry may stay on to attend the South African wedding of Sir Richard Branson’s son Sam to the half-sister of Prince Harry’s girlfriend, Isabella Anstruther-Gough-Calthorpe, in two weeks time.
Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com Twitter: @WhaleCottage
Colin Bell deserves a tourism award for bravery and persistence, in delving into Tourism Minister Marthinus van Schalkwyk’s tourism arrival statistics, and writing what we have been saying for a long time – the statistics do not reflect what we are experiencing at the coalface. Bell has confirmed that the Tourism Arrival figures are over-inflated, and do not accurately represent our country’s tourism picture, given that 16% of tourism arrivals in the January – June 2012 period were transit passengers, flying via Johannesburg to another country in Africa!
Writing a Letter to the Editor of Southern African Tourism Update, Bell describes his quest to find out why the tourism picture experienced in the rural areas in particular does not reflect the Minister’s glowing arrival information, having written about this dichotomy previously. Taking Department of Statistics information, the source of the Minister’s announcements, he found that the Department breaks down tourist arrivals by type, being Leisure, Business, Study, Work, and Transit. When Bell compared the first six month arrivals of 2008 and 2012, excluding the Transit passengers, he found that tourism arrivals had decreased by 11,6%, instead of being up by 4,6% according to the Minister’s Arrivals information! The percentage of Transit passengers was as high as 21% in July this year, and 37% and and 48% of the China and Brazil arrivals were in fact transit passengers, respectively!
Bell also found that in July 146000 arrivals from Lesotho were recorded, of which 45 were here on business, and the balance on holiday, commenting: “Surely Minister and SA Tourism, these numbers should strike you as irregular?” He added that the inaccuracy of the Lesotho figures should make one question all tourism arrival figures and the method of data collection.
The Minister of Tourism’s previous reaction to Bell’s criticism is that he and his department stand by them! They make the Minister look good, and President Zuma even congratulated the Minister in Parliament for his Department’s sterling January – June 2012 tourism arrival performance! One trusts that industry bodies such as FEDHASA and SATSA will tackle the Minister and his department to get them to more accurately reflect the true tourism performance of our country.
Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com Twitter: @WhaleCottage