Entries tagged with “recession”.


imageTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*   Good news from ratings agency Moody’s is that our country is unlikely to go into recession this year, and is not likely to be downgraded until the end of 2016! It did warn however that our economy is slowed down by a number of factors, and that our country would average 2% growth in the same period.

*.  The six Finalists in the WORLD CLASS Bartender of the Year (more…)

Cape Town Stadium and Table MountainThe DA-run Western Cape government appears to becoming embroiled in a political battle with the ANC government about the Immigration Regulations.  Earlier this week the Minister of Home Affairs Malusi Gigaba demonstrated his arrogance when he was called to appear before a Western Cape Provincial Parliament’s Economic Opportunities, Tourism and Agriculture Standing Committee.

After having failed to appear before the Standing Committee in September, Minister Gigaba was sent a summons to appear earlier this week.  The Minister dismissed the Standing Committee’s request to delay the implementation of the Immigration Regulations, particularly the requirement that tourists have to apply for the visa in person, saying that he had not been given any (more…)

WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*  Michelin star Chef Heston Blumenthal’s The Perfectionists Café has opened at the new Heathrow Terminal 2, serving burgers, fish and chips, and pizzas prepared in the first ever wood-burning oven in an airport, as well as molecular liquid nitrogen ice cream.

*   American travellers are booking last-minute, something that became a habit in 2008 during the economic crisis, but has remained and is now a booking trend, despite the recession being something of the past.

*   Tourists often are better informed about the tourism attractions and highlights of a city than are the local residents of the city, given their ability to use technology to garner information about and make bookings for the destination that they are visiting.  Nick Hall, Head of the Digital Tourism Think Tank, says: ‘So, what we have witnessed so far will accelerate. We can expect far more change, far faster. In this light the rise of mobile technologies is poised to change the industry as much as it has already. Visitors will be innately digital. They will be hyper-informed and seamlessly connected throughout their travel. The challenge this poses to existing tourist businesses is immense, as is the opportunity it holds out‘.  While technology is important, tourists still want the ‘reality of the experience, not the virtual reality’.

*   Three Ships Premium Select 5 Year Old won gold at the 2014 International Spirits Challenge in London.  The whisky is blended (more…)

WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*   British Airways is offering Winter’s Drift Shiraz 2011 in Business Class on its South African routes in June and July.  The wine spent 11 months in French oak.  Grapes came from Glen Elgin, and the wine was made by Kobie Viljoen at the Gabriëlskloof Cellar.  The 2011 vintage is sold out, but the 2012 is freely available. (received via media release from Hazell Public Relations and Wine Consultants)

*   Intoxication of passengers is the biggest cause of unruly behaviour on board airlines, and 8000 incidents were recorded in 2013.  The International Air Transportation Association (IATA) wants airport ground staff and bar staff to help prevent excessive drinking by passengers before flights, it being the right of crew and other passengers to travel without disturbance.

*  An economist has disputed that South Africa is heading for a recession, the macro economy doing better than the GDP data suggests.  A growth rate of 4% is estimated for the next two years, coming from Tourism, a revision of labour legislation, and electricity supply improving.  Strikes and salary demands are contrary to foreign investments.

*   South Africa has no cruise liners, and this is a disadvantage for the local economy, says the South African Maritime (more…)

WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*   The economy contracted in the first quarter of this year, and a further contraction is expected in the second quarter, putting the economy into recession, speculates The New Age.   The mining sector is the biggest culprit, with a 25% decline in the first quarter of 2014.

*   The Nederburg Auction will be held on 12 and 13 September, and will be celebrating its 40th anniversary this year.   Three Nederburg Edelkeur dessert wines (1979, 1993, and 2006 vintages) will be on offer, as will be Nederburg’s 12-year-old partially wood-fermented Chenin Blanc Reserve, a ten-year-old Riesling Private Bin S316, a five-year-old II Centuries Sauvignon Blanc, a Private Bin Semillon Noble Late Harvest 2000, Private Bin Gewűrztraminer Special Late Harvest 2000, and the 1989 and 1990 Eminence.  A number of other Nederburg wines will go under the hammer. (received via De Kock Communications)

*   The ANC has served papers on the City of Cape Town, requesting ‘a review of the decision of the council‘ about its new logo, in not having followed a process of public participation and its estimated cost of R8 million, reports The New Age. (more…)

WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*   UK hotels are concerned that they may have spoilt tourists by offering discounts to counter the recession of the past few years, and that this is a standard expectation of their customers now.

*   The Minister of Finance Pravin Ghordan has announced stringent cost-cutting measures in respect of travel and entertainment, including a ban on first-class air travel (Business Class allowed for Ministers, Directors General and their deputies), B group car rental only,  withdrawal of official credit cards, restricting the size of travel delegations, and banning hotel accommodation, rental accommodation to be used; and banning the purchase of alcohol for state events.

*   Confidence in the Tourism industry is at its highest ever since the Tourism Business Council of South Africa and FNB introduced their Tourism Business Index in 2010,  reaching 116 in the third quarter of this year.  However, (more…)

Looking back at 2012 on the last day of the year, every business will be grateful that it is still around, given that the international world is still in recession, and the impact thereof has made itself felt in South Africa too.   It is heartening that fewer hospitality businesses closed their doors this year, but it is clear that fewer restaurants have opened, and few top-end ones in particular.   So what stood out in 2012?:

*   The worst winter season ever for the hospitality industry, following a poor winter 2011, not just related to the poor economy and traditional Seasonality, but also to the exceptionally wet winter, which deterred Johannesburgers from coming to the Cape, and prevented Capetonians from taking weekends off in Western Cape towns and villages.

*   No marketing of Cape Town and the Western Cape. Cape Town Routes Unlimited was amalgamated into Wesgro in April, yet no visible marketing has been done for the (more…)

It was appropriate for Western Cape Minister of Finance, Economic Development, and Tourism Alan Winde to speak to the Cape Town Press Club about Tourism yesterday, and to announce that his department is working on a plan to establish Cape Town as a hub for the Southern Hemisphere wine industry, in creating a platform for the wines of Chile, Argentina, New Zealand, South Africa, and Australia, given that it was the opening day of CapeWine 2012, probably one of the most significant wine-related tourism events ever held in Cape Town.

Speaking at a Cape Town Press Club lunch at 6 Spin Street yesterday, Minister Winde highlighted that events are an important driver of tourism in the Western Cape, and he highlighted how important wine tourism is for our province, it being a unique tourism product for the Western Cape.  The CapeWine 2012 and Vindaba exhibitions are therefore vital in focusing attention on our highly regarded wine industry, and in attracting local visitors to the Cape.  The Minister related that 41 % of the Western Cape tourists are locals, of which close to 90% are from other parts of the Western Cape, and only 10% are from Gauteng. The Minister would like to see the domestic tourism proportion increase to 50%, to make the Western Cape less susceptible to the impact of the international economy, the effect of the international recession having been felt since 2008.

The Minister welcomed the delegates attending CapeWine 2012 to Cape Town, and invited the public to visit Vindaba on World Tourism Day on Thursday. He said: “Wine tourism in the Western Cape generates income in excess of R5 billion per annum and creates thousands of jobs. We will continue to support the sector to ensure that it grows even bigger and employs even more people. It is also important that liquor and wine traders in our Province operate responsibly. We want traders that are successful and consumers that are healthy”.

Minister Winde also announced a number of other tourism related initiatives he and his department are working on:

*   direct flights between Cape Town and Miami, feeding into the USA as well as South America.

*  a Tourism Business School, to raise the ‘level of competence’ of tourism staff

*  the reduction of the abuse of liquor by implementing stricter rules for the restaurant industry and liquor trade

*   spend more money on tourism marketing, and less on computers in tourism bureaus. He emphasised the importance of spending marketing monies in attracting more of the Gauteng market to the Cape.

*   ensure that SAA has enough capacity to bring more Gauteng tourists to Cape Town – over the past long weekend the flights between Johannesburg and Cape Town were fully booked, which kept potential tourists away from the Western Cape.  He will also address the feedback received from the important wine media, wine trade, sommeliers, and wine lovers attending CapeWine 2012, the German contingent having been on a SAA flight with unfriendly staff, poor food, and very poor wines, the latter running out in Economy class within two hours of the commencement of the flight. The water on board had run out the next morning.  The connecting flight to Cape Town from Johannesburg was missed due to the simultaneous arrival of a number of flights, causing congestion at Passport Control and the baggage retrieval, which meant a three hour (unscheduled) wait at OR Thambo airport.   Minister Winde emphasised that Brand South Africa commences when tourists get onto the plane to South Africa, and not when they set foot in our country or province.  A shock statistic is that there are 36 flights between Cape Town and Johannesburg daily, the 9th busiest route in the world!  It is also equivalent to the number of flights between the USA and Africa.

*   the legislation to allow the incorporation of the previous Cape Town Routes Unlimited into Wesgro is being written

*   Cape Agulhas is being upgraded, with the addition of new benches, the renovation of the lighthouse, and the addition of new signage on the N2.

*  the Outeniqua Choo Tjoe is a cause for concern, and the Minister has received representation from the three Mayors of the towns on the route, as well as a petition with 6000 signatures, calling for the reinstatement of this historic rail route.

*   in the Cape events are vital, and the Minister mentioned the success of the Loeries which had been held in Cape Town over the long weekend, the annual Design Indaba, the Design Capital 2014, the effect of the planned doubling of the Convention Centre which could attract a conference with 16000 delegates being bid for currently, the International Jazz Festival, The Pick ‘n Pay Cape Argus Cycle Tour, the Wacky Wine Weekend, and the ABSA Epic Cycle Tour.  Ravi Naidoo has achieved such a good international reputation for his work on Design Indaba, that he has been invited to set up Design Shanghai, the Minister shared.

Overall, the Minister wants to see the contribution of Tourism to the economy of the Western Cape increase from the current 10% to 15%.  The success of CapeWine 2012, and its large international contingent attending this prestigious event, must be a sign to the Minister and the local wine and tourism industry what value there is in investing in the marketing of our province’s liquid gold, and its Wine Routes linked to it!

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

Cape Town is likely to see more German and Dutch tourists this summer, reported the Weekend Argus recently, as the visitors from the UK continue to stay away due to that country’s recession. The UK was our city’s largest source of international tourism business until 2010, but its proportion of tourism business has dropped significantly. South African visitors will dominate over the forthcoming summer season.

German tourists increased by 9% and Dutch visitors by 4% last year relative to 2010. Cape Town Tourism CEO Mariette du Toit-Helmbold said: “We will continue to work with our industry partners, as well as trade and media from that region, to further strengthen these tourism ties”. Cape Town Tourism hosted a group of 100 German travel agents from Gebeco, a tour operator specialising in China and the Far East, in June.  Western Cape Minister of Tourism Alan Winde said the growth was due to the “great work being done by the provincial government, its tourism destination marketing agency Wesgro, Cape Town Tourism, and other roleplayers, ensuring that our city is an attractive place to visit for tourists from around the world”. Wesgro took over the marketing of the Western Cape in April, so cannot be lauded for any marketing success to date, nor for any success in 2011, very little marketing activity being evident.

According to Barbara Zieme, Cape Town Tourism’s representative in Germany, German tourists are attracted to the city’s natural beauty, ‘wildlife’ and culture.  Germany is the world’s fourth strongest economy, and currently is keeping the Eurozone afloat. It is one of the most travel-happy nations in the world. More than 1 million Dutch residents are expected to travel internationally.

A local study has shown that more locals will travel to Cape Town than last year, and they are planning a beach holiday specifically.  The survey was conducted before the punitive petrol price increase earlier this month, so one hopes that this intention remains.

A geographic region that Cape Town Tourism and Wesgro appear to pay little, if any, attention to but that is showing good tourism interest and bookings for the Whale Cottage Portfolio is Scandinavia, especially from Sweden.

Summer bookings generally still are very slow for Cape Town, but the festive season period is showing healthy enquiry numbers and bookings.  Cape Town and the Western Cape is coming out of its worst winter season ever, so any increase in tourism activity is most welcome.

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

Dear Charmaine

Your walk-out from our employment at Whale Cottage Camps Bay twelve days ago without resignation, on the day that you saw the salary in your bank account, is the worst blow to any employer, especially given the good relationship we enjoyed in the eight months in which you worked for us.  We appointed you when your previous employment at the White Lodge Guest House in Constantia had run out (they are shocked at your claim that they reneged on a contract, as there was none) due to the severity of the recession last winter.  We took a chance on you, despite the financial pressure on our business at that time, and you were an excellent receptionist, with the potential to grow into the rest of your job description of Manager.

As you left without notice, despite our meeting appointment for the day of your sudden departure, we have chosen to communicate to you via this blogpost how we view your behaviour, not deserved given how well we looked after you, with a salary increase after six months, giving you three days off to attend a family wedding in Queenstown when we were fully booked and couldn’t spare you but found a locum for you, and regular invitations to you, your family, and your boyfriend to the theatre and restaurants. You regularly expressed to us and to others how much you enjoyed your job. In retrospect, little signs of a recent change in your behaviour – your breaking of our rules, taking an afternoon off when we had guests checking in, wanting to delegate your duties to two unreliable housekeepers while you went to the wedding, and more – were evident.

You can imagine our shock when a guest house colleague in Camps Bay called a week prior to your walk-out to tell us that he had received your application for a job, as must have most hotels in Cape Town, and in which you dishonestly called yourself our ‘General Manager’. When you sent out your CV to more than 100 hotels last winter, no one except ourselves responded. We appointed you immediately.  At no time did you express any dissatisfaction or desire to grow your spectrum of tasks, which we would have happily delegated to you. On the day before your departure you asked me for copies of your salary slips, and lied as to the reason why you needed them.  We had thought that you were the most honest staff member until that day, and given the information from our guest house colleague, this request was a further confirmation about your job search.  We asked someone to call you on the pretense of inviting you to a job interview, and you announced that you had accepted a job that day at a hotel in Claremont.

Given this information, we met with you at the end of that day, and read through the employment contract with you, specifically the clause relating to the calendar month’s notice that you had agreed to, and we confirmed by additional contract in the meeting, which you signed, that your last day of employment would be 30 April, as per the contract.  Under pressure and in tears you told us that you were starting at your new employer three days later.  We discussed that you had made a mistake in accepting the new job on this date, and that you would have to tell them that you could only start on 1 May, and we even offered to try and find a replacement for you at the end of March to assist you, at our own expense.  We highlighted to you your dishonesty in lying to us, and your secretiveness in sending out the application for all hotels to see (not sending the application by blind copy), and in not honouring your employment contract.  You told us that the reason for the job search was the pressure from your boyfriend Ian Little, who had to drive you to and back from work every day as you do not drive, due to the increasing cost of the petrol between Plumstead and Camps Bay.  We promised to discuss with you the next day how we could enlarge your range of duties, for more pay, to cover the increased petrol costs.  You did not even have a letter of resignation to give us, and you promised to contact the new employer about the delay in starting with them.  The next morning you saw the salary payment, and dropped to the level of a housekeeper by sending us a text message saying that you had dropped your keys at the guest house and had left our employment (we were fully booked and you left the guest house management to the housekeepers, without even saying goodbye to them), giving yourself the weekend off, and causing chaos at the guest house, the staff bursting into tears when we had to tell them that you had absconded from our employment without notice, resignation, and farewell.  Only later that morning you sent an e-mail with a letter of immediate resignation, in breach of your employment contract.

Your parents in Queenstown were devastated to hear about your dishonesty, having seen you as a trustworthy and honest daughter, even though they had seen the negative influence on your behaviour since you moved to Cape Town with your boyfriend. Your father was ready to drive to Cape Town to come and fetch you, but didn’t have enough money for the petrol.  Your new boss and co-owner Nicolene Barrow at the 5-star The Andros Boutique Hotel in Claremont was speechless when we called her and told her about your breach of our employment contract, given that you had lied to her in saying that we had given your leaving us our blessing! We are surprised that you moved for a lesser position at the same salary that we were paying, to save a few Rands in petrol. It is shocking that a colleague in the hospitality industry could be so naive and opportunistic to expect the appointment of a new member of staff with two days notice to the previous employer.  For a person who moved to Cape Town from Queenstown last year, job hopping after 3 months and then 8 months for two jobs does not look good on your CV.

At 25 years you are relatively young, but we could not believe that you are so naive as to :

*  blatantly breach our employment contract and the additional contract which you signed about your date of departure, clearly showing that you have no respect for the law of contract, and have no business ethics and honesty at all, not being trustworthy for any future employer

*   expect our co-operation for paperwork from us

*   expect any positive future references for any prospective employer, given that we are one of your four hospitality employers

*   think that we would not have warned your new employer

*   think that we have not shared our experiences with your previous employers White Lodge Guest House, and the Heritage Guest House in Queenstown.

Any prospective employer should know that they are not only appointing you but also your boyfriend, manipulating you in the background. His invitation to connect on Linked-In, to ‘coffee dates’ and dinners, and his other attempts to become my ‘friend’ were totally inappropriate and unwelcome.  Even since your departure he is communicating with us, as if he is your manager or representative.  We did not appoint him.

Wanting to share the outcome of our subsequent negotiations, in which you admitted the breach of your contract, I called The Andros Boutique Hotel yesterday, and asked to speak to Ms Barrow.  Your new colleague Steyn Venter called back aggressively on behalf of Ms Barrow, threatening legal action should your hotel’s name be mentioned in this blogpost.  What a shame that we cannot share with her the final outcome of our negotiations with you, which should be of interest to her as your current employer.

You will pay the price of your dishonesty for many years to come, and you probably already regret your selfish and short-sighted action, which has cost you your reputation and a lot of money in paying out our contract, money which could have got you to Camps Bay for a number of years yet!

We are sharing this letter with the hospitality industry, not only as a warning about any potential future employment of you, but also to share with hospitality employers the rights that they have to have their employment contract honoured, even if it is financially after a departure, which we are happy to share with them privately.  It is also a reminder to hospitality employers that all staff are legally obliged to give and work out their notice, and there is a moral obligation to do so too, given that no business can operate with a sudden departure of a staff member without a hand-over and the replacement of that staff member, as we all know!

We salute our labour advisor Gerald Jacobs for his excellent advice, and the luck of finding locum Lily Lello, who came to our rescue two days later, allowing us to honour our guest bookings in Franschhoek, and to continue operating our Whale Cottage Camps Bay, both operations which could have been jeopardised by your walk-out.

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