I was aware of a new Nomad restaurant opening in Cape Town via Social Media, confusing it with the one which I knew was opening in Stellenbosch. The two new Nomad restaurants are unrelated, the Stellenbosch one having opened in March. At the end of April Nomad Fusion Bistro opened on Waterkant Street in Cape Town. Continue reading →
* New draft legislation calls for zero alcohol consumption before driving, with input sought by 27 February. Alcohol in medicines and fruit could lead to wrongful arrests.
* SAA has announced that its direct flights between Johannesburg and Mumbai in India will come to an end on 1 April. It will fly to Abu Dhabi, from where passengers will fly with Etihad or Jet Airways to Delhi, Hyderabad, Bangalore, and Madras in India on a codeshare basis. This route cut, combined with the one to Beijing, will help reduce costs for SAA. Ironic is that SA Tourism as well as local tourism players is in India at the moment, on a marketing trip for our country!
* SA Tourism is going on another India Road Show this year, visiting Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, and New Dehli in February. Franschhoek Wine Valley and Paarl & Wellington Tourism are some of the local Road Show participants. India Country Manager for SA Tourism Hanneli Slabber said that some 24000 tourists from India visited our country between January and March last year.
* ‘Rear seat kickers’ are the worst type of passengers on an airplane, an Expedia Airplane Etiquette Study has found! Other annoying passengers are inattentive parents, ‘aromatic passenger’, ‘audio insensitive’, and ‘boozer’!
* Tim Harris has been appointed as the new CEO of Wesgro, the trade, investment and tourism promotion agency for the Western Cape, for three year period Minister Alan Winde announced today. Harris currently is the Investment Officer of the City of Cape Town, and will replace Nils Flaatten from 1 January. (received via media release from Minister Winde’s office)
* Despite doom and gloom, South Africans enjoy eating out at restaurants and buying food at take-away outlets, according to a survey by Statistics SA. October was the third best month in respect of food and beverage expenditure in the past four years, with a total expenditure of almost R4 billion. R1,8 billion was spent at restaurants and coffee shops, and R1,5 billion at take-away and fast food outlets. Catering made up the balance. The food and beverage industry grew by 11,5% year on year, with the take-away/fast food side growing at 15%. Total expenditure on the food and drink industry was R43 billion in the past year.
* Minister of Public Enterprises Lynne Brown has requested Eskom to communicate its loadshedding schedules more Continue reading →
Last night Cape Town Tourism held what many say is the best AGM ever, with a dynamic and funny keynote speaker Vusi Thembekwayo, and a very entertaining Anton Groenewald from the City of Cape Town Tourism, Events, and Marketing Directorate, being the highlight of the event held at the Tsogo Sun Cape Sun, which celebrated the 10th anniversary of Cape Town Tourism since its re-invention in 2004.
I arrived late, returning from Franschhoek, as Groenewald was speaking. He kindly gave me his notes, for use for writing this blogpost. His Mayoral Committee member for Tourism, Events, and Marketing, Councillor Garreth Bloor, was present, and many a joke was at his expense. Groenewald started his talk by reflecting on the past three years in which he has headed up the Tourism Directorate of the City, and has spent R1,5 billion. He confirmed the three-year agreement signed with Cape Town Tourism, which came with a promise of R120 million over the next three years. Reflecting on the successes of the past year, Groenewald presented its highlights as being World Travel Market Africa, a collaboration with Thebe Reed, which attracted 4500 trade visitors and 220 media, and for which the city has signed for another two Continue reading →
* The announcement by Virgin Atlantic that it will drop Cape Town from its London route from 26 April 2015, at the start of the local winter, comes as a shock to the Tourism industry. The new Immigration Regulations are said to be to blame in part, but the London-Johannesburg route has not been axed, therefore not making this reason credible. It would appear that it is an unprofitable route in winter, due to Cape Town’s terrible Seasonality problem in winter, but word received says that this is a permanent route axing! Tokyo, Vancouver, and Mumbai will also be chopped!
* Better news is that Qatar Airways is changing its three times a week via Johannesburg flights between Doha and Cape Town to five direct flights between the two cities from 3 November onwards. The change is justified on the basis of Cape Town’s popularity as a destination in Africa.
* Minister Derek Hanekom addressed the e-Tourism Africa Summit 2014 in Cape Town today, highlighting how technology has changed tourism information provision and bookings. In 2011 150000 tourists booked via SA Tourism’s online travel agency partners. Two years later this doubled to 285000. He encouraged tourist product owners to offer tourists free wifi, so that they can share their local tourist experiences via Social Media.
* South Africa welcomed close to 10 million international tourists in 2013, a 5% increase between 2012 and 2013. The following paragraph from eTurboNews makes no sense at all, appearing to be copy and pasted directly from a SA Tourism media release: ‘The latest release from Statistics South Africa (StatsSA) indicates that international foreign arrivals to South Africa reached its highest levels ever, namely 14,860,216 in 2013. This 10.5% increase in international foreign arrivals (over 13,451,565 in 2012) translated to 9.6 million international tourist arrivals. All international tourist arrivals combined increased by 4.7%, while the overseas tourist arrivals sub-category increased by 7.1%‘! Minister of Tourism Marthinus van Schalkwyk said: ‘South Africa’s tourism industry continues to show good growth and we remain confident in the ongoing performance and sustainability of the sector‘. Visitors from Europe grew by 7%, especially from Germany (14% growth), France (10%), and Italy (10%). The growth from the UK was a mere 1%, while the USA grew by 7%, and China by 15%, now our 4th largest source market. Tourist growth from Brazil was 6%, while that from Africa was 12%. The growth in Tourism’s contribution to the GDP was 3% in the past year. The Tourism industry accounted for 5% of the country’s employment. The Minister announced the development of a ‘dashboard‘, enhancing our country’s collection of ‘insights and market intelligence’, which is to be launched in September.
* SA Tourism has criticised the restricted visa issuing service by our embassies in India and China, Continue reading →
* South Africa only has one visa official in India, in Mumbai, to process visa applications for travel to South Africa. The backlog is as large as 850 applications, taking about a month for a visa to be processed. The travel and tour operator industry is saying that the situations is causing a very damaging image for South Africa, and that business could be lost to other countries!
* Sean Penn was sighted in the pedestrian Dias Tavern in Cape Town yesterday. Making media mileage of the sighting was Cape Town Design NPC CEO Alayne Reesberg, managing World Design Capital 2014. Reesberg is reported to have said that Penn is charming, having waved back at her when she waved at him, when lunching at the same restaurant! Last week Penn and Charlize Theron were seen at the Augrabies Falls. Penn is said to be in Cape Town to look for locations for a new movie.
* Bo-Kaap featured in the New York Times yesterday, with the headline ‘In Cape Town, Local Color comes in Bright Shades’, mentioning Luvey ‘n Rose, Atlas Trading Company, Bo-Kaap Food and Craft Market, and Agua Dreamz. Continue reading →
* Angola and Nigeria will be the two African countries on which Wines of South Africa (WOSA) will focus its attention, says new CEO Siobhan Thompson
* Jancis Robinson chose two South African cultivars, out of a total of seven, at a New York tasting of ‘unusual grape varieties that typify an ongoing trend in wine to re-visit traditional grapes in their historical homes around the world‘, being Chenin Blanc and Cabernet Franc.
* The price of petrol has decreased by 28 cents a liter.
* Huffington Post Travel recommends ten wine destinations around the world, and includes ‘Cape Town’, but elaborates that the Cape Winelands is meant, and Stellenbosch, Paarl, and Franschhoek in particular. Groot Constantia is recommended for a visit. The other destinations are the Yarra Valley in Australia, Napa and Sonoma in the USA, Okanagan in Canada, Bordeaux in France, Finger Lakes in the USA, Mendoza in Argentina, Willamette Valley in the USA, Tuscany in Italy, and Barcelona in Spain.
* New World wines from New Zealand, Australia, Chile, Argentina and South Africa make up 30% of world wine exports, states the Morgan Stanley report.