Entries tagged with “MICE”.


OOLSG TV screen Whale CottageThe One&Only Le Saint Géran celebrated its 40th anniversary in Johannesburg, Bloemfontein, and in Cape Town two weeks ago.   The hotel’s GM and Head of Sales thanked invited guests for attending and joining in the celebration of the important milestone.

In Cape Town the celebration was held at the Cook’s Playground, Giggling Gourmet Chef Jenny Morris having traveled around the country with the Le Saint Géran team.  On arrival, we received a garland of flowers to wear, the frangipani in it transporting one to Mauritius immediately.  Long tables had been set up for us to eat at, beautifully decorated with (more…)

WTM AfricaI returned to my guest house all charged up after a full day spent at the Cape Town International Convention Centre yesterday, to attend World Travel Market (WTM) Africa, the first time ever that a travel and tourism exhibition of such a stature has been held in Cape Town.

World Travel Market has been held in London for years, and is the second largest travel and tourism exhibition in the world, after ITB in Berlin, and larger than Indaba, which is held in Durban.  At the press conference yesterday afternoon it was said that Reed Exhibitions must have had tremendous confidence in Africa generally and in Cape Town specifically,  to have brought the exhibition to our city, partnering with Thebe in hosting it.  One was surprised at the many stands that had been sold, not only to Cape Town and Western Cape tourism players, but also to national brands (including Durban Tourism, which was interesting, especially as it was not manned on Saturday!) as well as a host of international brands such as Lufthansa, Singapore, Berlin Tourismus & Kongress GmbH, Dubai, Malaysia Tourism Promotion Board, Turkey, Reunion Island, Seychelles, ZambiaWTM Africa Turkey Whale Cottage Portfolio Tourism Board, Namibia WTM Africa WhaleCrier Whale Cottage PortfolioTourism Board and Airports Company, Mozambique, and many more brands, there being about 150 stands in total.  Even the Whale Crier from Hermanus paid a visit!

The communication with WTM Africa had been efficient, attendees being invited to register in advance, so that one could attend for free, which must have led to the good attendance yesterday.  While the service at the registration desk could have been friendlier, it was efficient in general.  Other than visiting many of the exhibitors, and bumping into numerous tourism players on the floor, an important benefit was the interesting programme  of talks over the two days of the exhibition.   By the time I could get to the exhibition, at about 11h15, the talk on Mobile Apps was fully ‘occupied‘ with 100 attendees,  as one of the WTM Africa staff said, which meant that we were not let inside initially, for ‘health and safety reasons‘!  After calling for a senior (more…)

WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*   The International Air Transport Association (IATA)  has recorded a 6% increase in air travel in June, relative to the same month a year ago.  The increase is mainly coming from Asia and Europe.

*   The MICE industry (Meetings, Incentives, Conferencing, and Exhibitions) will see its growth curtailed in future due to staff shortages, and the new Generation Z’s lack of interpersonal skills!

*   Preference should be given to tourist accommodation offering free wifi, so that the tourists can become ambassadors for our country in posting their experiences and photographs, becoming spokespersons for our country, says SA Tourism’s William Price.

*   Haute Cabrière has released its Chardonnay Pinot Noir 2013 vintage, which Cellarmaster Takuan von Arnim describes as ‘one of the most balanced and elegant blends (more…)

WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*   Kulula has won the right to maintain its advertising claim ‘The most South African Airways’ at the Advertising Standards Authority, which rejected SAA’s objection, reports Southern African Tourism Update!

*   Thirty-five Western Cape restaurants were awarded Diamond Awards for their top winelists at a function at the Vineyard Hotel today, with MasterChef SA Judge and Chef Benny Masekwameng as MC: La Colombe, Indochine at Delaire Graff, The Atlantic Grill, Bosman’s, JennaVIVA,  Dash, Karibu, Meloncino, Greek Fisherman, City Grill, Pierneef â La Motte, Rust en Vrede, Signal, Wild Fig, (more…)

Jonty Rhodes, former South African cricketer and now coach for the Indian Premier League, has been appointed as a tourism ambassador for South Africa in India, reports Business Line. The announcement comes as part of a high level tourism delegation currently visiting five Indian cities to bat for tourism business.   Tourism from India to South Africa grew by 18% to 85000 in 2011, and the target is 100000 Indian tourists in 2014, reports Southern African Tourism Update.

SA Tourism Country Head for SA Tourism in India, Hanneli Slabber, is largely responsible for the great success achieved in the Indian market, with her enthusiastic marketing programmes, having got to know this market well in the short time that she has been based in India.  Market research has shown that Indian tourists to our country are more likely to come from Mumbai and Delhi, but visitors from cities such as Chennai, Ahmedabad, and Bangalore are above average holiday spenders.  The SA Tourism advertising budget in India grew by 50 % last year, and is expected to grow by another 50 % this year.

Cape Town Routes Unlimited appears to be one of only few Cape representative attending the India road show, with Cape Town Tourism visible by its absence.  The 132 South African tourism product and service representatives of 62 products has doubled in one year, and includes Spier, Pepper Club Luxury Hotel & Spa, Cape Royale Luxury Hotel, Montagu Country Hotel, Grootbos Nature Reserve, hotel and safari lodge groups, and tour operators, visiting Mumbai, New Dehli, Bangalore, Pune, and Chennai. Indian tour operators representing MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions) as well as leisure tourism product owners and managers are attending the road show events. ‘Learn South Africa’ training programs have been hosted for 1500 travel agents throughout India in the past two years, and top operators have been flown to South Africa to show them the country.

Even national Minister of Tourism, Marthinus van Schalkwyk, is attending the India road show.  Given the size of the Indian population, and that it is expected to be one of the three largest global economies by 2050, this emerging tourism market is of great importance for South Africa, the Minister said.  For our country, India is the 7th largest source market, and marketing in India focuses on fashion, food, sport, film, and wine.  Nine direct flights from Johannesburg to India are available per week. In November 1000 delegates will attend the Travel Agents Federation of India Convention in Durban, a huge boost for the city and country to win this bid.

Provincial Tourism Minister Alan Winde said he is confident that the Western Cape and Cape Town would be top of mind in the presentations about South African in India, one of the BRICS markets being targeted by Cape Town Routes Unlimited. Ms Slabber added that South Africa has become a popular tourism destination for the Indian market. Not only do the road shows expose the diversity of the tourism products of our country, but they also help to attain “market insights for future product development.  With the burgeoning development, increasing purchasing power and flourishing travel aspirations of Indians, we wish to expand our reach in these promising markets through our road shows and advertising and marketing campaigns. We will continue to invest strongly in our marketing efforts and initiatives to promote South Africa across various consumer segments”, she said. Cape Town Routes Unlimited CEO Calvyn Gilfellan praised the friendly reception to the Western Cape representatives from the Indian travel agents, who are ‘really selling Cape Town and the Western Cape vigorously’.

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

Cape Town Tourism has been conducting a series of ‘Brand Cape Town’ workshops since late last year, to share with its members as well as bloggers and other stakeholders what the outcome has been of a brainstorming session to find a positioning for Cape Town and what it can/should be, and to focus its marketing activities, not only from a Tourism perspective, but also from a general Business approach. 

Scanning the external environment, it identified threats such as the economic crisis, global urbanisation, and a greater consciousness about the impact of flying on the environment and climate change.  It also faced the reality that the seasonality in Cape Town’s tourism industry, unique to our city compared to others in the country, reflects that Cape Town does not have enough business tourism, being the result perhaps of too large a focus on Leisure Tourism in the past, and too little on attracting businesspersons to have their meetings, events and conferences in Cape Town.  Comparing the positioning of major world cities, e.g. Paris is Romance, New York is Energy, London is Tradition, it has historically been Beauty for Cape Town. Through its analysis, it was identified that the positioning of Inspiration is an overarching one that can position Cape Town beyond its more narrow tourism focus, to a broader one, reflecting the strengths of the City in respect of beauty, freedom, innovation, hope, creativity, diversity, dreams, ideas, and solutions to problems.

We have been critical about what we have seen in print about the Brand Cape Town workshops, but a completely different picture emerged in the presentation, which I was invited to attend last week, the last in the process of sharing the outcome of the brainstorm, and in obtaining input to the content of the branding and marketing debate.  To justify the positioning of Inspiration, Cape Town Tourism CEO Mariette du Toit-Helmbold took the attendees through the various ways in which Cape Town inspires its citizens, its local visitors, and its international tourists.  It was an inspiring presentation, and afterwards I felt proudly Capetonian in having learnt a lot more about the achievements of our city and its people.  The following were some of the Inspiration highlights identified for Cape Town in the presentation:

*   Nelson Mandela took his first steps of freedom in Cape Town, and Cape Town should own this historic moment

*   quality education facilities, with four top class universities in Cape Town and Stellenbosch.  Stanford has set up a satellite campus in the city, and Harvard is said to follow suit.   UCT had been voted top university in Africa, and best value for Money MBA in world in a Financial Times survey

*   safe CBD

*   excellent and modern infrastructure, including the airport, the IRT bus system, the station, highways, and the Cape Town Stadium

*   ‘cosmopolitan entry point into South Africa and Africa’

*   Focus on Biodiversity, with the smallest but most bountiful floral kingdom.  Kirstenbosch has won gold or silver for the past 33 years at the Chelsea Flower Show in London

*   Excellent healthcare facilities, with pioneering medical leadership, including Dr Christiaan Barnard’s heart transplant world first

*   One of best value guest house and B&B cities, offering not only 5-star accommodation

*   An historic port city

*   The V&A is South Africa’s leading tourist destination, and has further development plans

*   The Green Point Urban Park

*   A living heritage in the Castle, the oldest building in South Africa

*   A historic showcase of creativity at the Iziko museums and galleries

*   Living contemporary culture with African and European roots, which is not gumboot dancing!

*   Rich music tradition, in goema and Cape Minstrel music, but also current, with Goldfish, Jack Parow, Freshly Ground, Kyle Shepherd, Locnville, Die Antwoord, and Abdullah Ibrahim.  The Cape Town International Jazz Festival has become a world event.

*   Sporting tradition, in hosting the world’s largest timed Argus Cycle race, and the Volvo Ocean Race includes Cape Town, and sportspersons such as Para-Olympic star Natalie du Toit, and the development of the paddleyak

*   A theatre tradition, with Athol Fugard receiving a Lifetime Achievement award at the Tony’s for his plays

*   Africa’s first billionaire and space traveller Mark Shuttleworth, and his Shuttleworth Foundation, supporting IT development.  Development of Silicon Cape.

*   Sustainability Institute of the University of Stellenbosch

*   The Cape Town International Convention Centre is the leading convention centre in Africa

*   The leading builder of twin-hull catamarans

*  The favourite film and photography location, because of the beauty of and good light in the city, and the potential of a James Bond movie being shot in the city

*  Nobel Peace Prize winners such as Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Past President FW de Klerk

*   Table Mountain, which is a finalist for the New7Wonders of the World

*   Visits by magnificent Southern Right whales, home to penguins

*   Environmentally-friendly Green Cabs, and the opening up of cycle and pedestrian routes in the city 

*   Leading environmental and sustainable city, with all new low-cost housing built with solar geyser panels, and wind-farming in Darling.  ‘Smart Living Handbook’ for sustainability written by City of Cape Town 

*   Three wine routes within Cape Town and 16 on the city’s doorstep, with many boutique wine farms

*   Beer tourism is a new segment, with 40 micro breweries within a 2-hour drive of Cape Town.  Inspiring new BOS ice-tea 

*   Fresh produce markets, with organic foods, outstanding restaurants such as The Test Kitchen and Mzoli’s Meat define Cape Town, and the plan is to develop a Master Chefs Cape Town series.   Having Justin Bonello showcase South African food is a boost for the city.  Charly’s Bakery is a passionate, all-women team, who baked a cake representing Cape Town for the Design Indaba.

*   Cape Town is one of three finalists for World Design Capital 2014, with Bilbao and Dublin, spearheaded by the Cape Town Partnership.  The judges will be in Cape Town from 24 – 27 July, and the winning city will be announced on 26 October. The Design Indaba is a design highlight for the country, with its annual conference and exhibition.  At the last exhibition, attendees were asked to write in support of the city’s bid – this comment summarised what Cape Town stands for: “Cape Town’s people are her most beautiful landscape”.

*    Cape Town has a vibrant fashion scene, designer Dion Chang saying that “The tip of Africa is the tipping point”.

*   Cape Town is at the center of the magazine publishing industry.

*   The city has excellent furniture designers

*   The Joule electric car is being built in Cape Town, the first in Africa.

*   Cape Town has more Social Media users than any other part of the country 

 During her presentation, Mrs Helmbold made a number of statements about our city:

*   Economy based on tourism, finance, infrastructure, food and wine, logistics, and creative industries.

*   Cape Town is at the tipping point, either sinking into oblivion, or living up to the accolades it is reaping

*   Cape Town has been in a brand vacuum since the World Cup – not spending money on marketing the city will lead us to the example of Sydney, which is seeing a steady decline in visitors as it decided to not market the city after the 2000 Olympics

*   A destination is not just a slogan or a logo

*   Cape Town is a city of contrasts, of haves and have-nots

*   Brand Cape Town’s strength is Tourism (Visit), it is neutral on its education and residential facilities (Live and Learn), and weak on its potential as a centre of employment and investment (Work and Invest).

*   Cape Town underperforms in domestic tourism, mainly relative to Durban

*   Conversion of holidaymakers into business tourists is needed for Cape Town, and business visitors must be encouraged to return as holidaymakers, as Cape Town is weak as a Business Brand

*   Cape Town is a ‘challenger brand’ which does not have a long-established history, and stands for freedom, freshness and transformation, attractive to a world that has got tired of visiting boring places. “Challenger brands harness the power of authenticity, locals first, emotional pull, storytelling (Word of Mouse)”.

*   The pillars of Cape Town are Robben Island; its cultural diversity; the food and wine industry; Biodiversity; Table Mountain; Cape of Good Hope; hubs of innovation, creativity, enterprise and government; higher education and skills training; Sports and MICE; and Colour and Light.  

Cape Town Tourism is to assist business-related bodies in the city to market the city with a ‘brand box’.   It has worked with Accelerate, Cape Town Routes Unlimited, Wesgro, Cape Town Partnership, and the City of Cape Town in developing the new positioning for Cape Town, to establish it as ‘one of the top world cities to live, work, invest, learn and visit, in order to drive inclusive economic growth and social transformation in Cape Town’.  The presentation we attended was the last, and the implementation phase will now commence, Mrs Helmbold said.  In question time, FEDHASA Cape chairman Dirk Elzinga stated that great things are happening in Cape Town, but ‘we are not telling the world’, he said.

Mel Miller, former ad agency owner and creative director, and ex Cape Town Tourism Board member, is very critical of Cape Town’s new ‘Inspirational’ positioning, saying that it has been used by Edinburgh (‘Inspiring Capital’) already.  Miller points out that a previous tourism strategy consultant to Cape Town Tourism comes from Edinburgh! 

Mrs Helmbold showed a video presentation by Silver Bullet meant to represent Cape Town.  It was certainly not one of a beautiful Cape Town, but one of a very cloudy looking Cape Town, with a lot of focus on clouds billowing over Table Mountain and the Twelve Apostles, and what appeared as a fast-speed race through Cape Town.  I was NOT inspired by it, and it did not represent any of the Inspiration that Mrs Helmbold had presented to the audience.

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

The global economic crisis may not be such a bad thing for South African tourism after all, given its effect on the Rand exchange rates, and resultant greater affordability as a destination for international tourists.  Domestic tourism too should benefit from the exchange rate volatility, in that locals may switch to local holidays over the festive season, instead of going overseas.

The outlook for 2009 and 2010 is favourable, given the Confederations Cup and British Lions Tour taking place in winter 2009, and the soccer World Cup taking place in winter 2010.  Winter traditionally is a very low income period for the Western Cape in particular.

The past week has seen the US dollar exceed R 10, its weakest ever,  and exchange rates of R 18 to the pound sterling and R 14 to the Euro.   It is the dollar exchange rate volatility that may cost the country a petrol price decrease next month, and also may see an interest rate increase instead of the hoped-for decrease.

The tourism industry appears to be optimistic to date about the effect of the international credit crunch.   Tourism Business Africa quotes Joop Demes of Pam Golding Hospitality as saying that the hotel market grew by 19% in the first six months of this year compared to the same period last year.  Growth is in Gauteng, and particlurly for hotels at OR Thambo airport in Johannesburg.   Revenue per available room has increased by 16 %, and by 19 % for 5-star hotels, and by 25% in Johannesburg.  Demes says that about three-quarters of the country’s 57 000 hotel rooms are booked by locals, driven in particular by the MICE market of conferences and meetings, as well as budget holidays.  

Travel agents are seeing a switch to domestic products. Their international clients are booking accommodation inclusive of meals, as a result of the exchange rate weakening, and are paying more promptly, to avoid further price increases, reports Travel News Weekly.

The credit crunch is also driving locals to game reserves, instead of overseas, says FEDHASA KwaZulu-Natal, as well as to beach hotels in the province.

Southern Sun Hotels is confidently predicting that 2009 will be busier than 2010, not only because of the Confederations Cup and British Lions Tour, but also due to the elections and inauguration of the new President, Soccerex, the Australian and English cricket tours, and the FIFA World Cup Final Draw, which takes place in Cape Town in December 2009, reports Travel News Weekly.   Southern Sun has contracted about 10000 of its rooms to MATCH, the FIFA accommodation agency, and is the single largest accommodation provider for the World Cup 2010.