The local JHP Gourmet Guide once again tried to link itself to the Michelin star rating of our local restaurants, by awarding top local restaurants one, two, and three plate accolades, as if they are equivalent to Michelin one, two, and three stars. I have been critical of this exaggerated and dishonest link by Jenny Handley and her Gourmet Guide Awards, especially as I know how the restaurant visits are done by her. (See the Blogpost link at the end of this article). A recent Forbes article ‘The Secret Life of an Anonymous Michelin Restaurant Inspector’ therefore attracted my attention, and I summarise it below, so that I could double check my view on this. Continue reading →
Before arriving in Buenos Aires on this my second visit to the city, I had not prepared for my visit from a wine perspective, my main goal in spending a month in Argentina being to learn to dance the Tango. I have planned to visit Mendoza, renowned for its Malbec, have attended a wine tasting and food pairing evening at COWI in Buenos Aires, drunk three wines at the dinner at Buenos Aires’ Tegui, 86th Best Restaurant in the World, one wine at Don Julio, the 34th Best Restaurant in the World and Best in Argentina, and two wines at dinner at 1884 Restaurant in Mendoza. I have summarised my initial knowledge about the wine industry of Argentina, the fifth largest in the world, to which I have added some research information too. Continue reading →
* 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 Continue reading →
In my search for the top restaurant in KwaZulu-Natal, Katie Friedman, Lisa Woodhouse, and I had dinner at 9th Avenue Bistro, one of Durban’s best-known fine-dining restaurants, and a regular on the Eat Out Top 10 Restaurant list six years and longer ago. Despite the warnings one had read about the restaurant’s unfortunate location in a shopping centre car park, it was the interior decor and poor Continue reading →
Cape Town has a new new-generation BMW Motorrad Cape Town lifestyle showroom on Buitengracht Street, a pilot 2600 m² hub for motorcyclists, and home to a smart Tribe restaurant. The German BMW Motorrad CEO is extremely happy with how the Donford BMW Motorrad Cape Town has turned out, the first of a new-generation of lifestyle stores they will open up around the world. The centre is an extension of Donford Motors in Stellenbosch, which sells BMW vehicles as well as motorcycles. The design was done by Kalla Smit of TV3 Architects and Planners.
The red carpet was literally rolled out on the steps of the building which once housed the Bloomberg antique car showroom, and we felt quite out, male bikers dominating the guest list. The showroom had been standing empty for some time, and Donford Motors’ Mark Continue reading →
* At the International Wine & Spirits Awards, South Africa did very well, with 632 awards in total, and 7 Gold Outstanding awards, of which three went to Nederburg. KWV won 22 medals. Chile won 375 awards, with one Gold Outstanding, and Argentina won 234 medals. The results were announced at The Beautiful South South Africa/South America showcase in London.
* A meeting earlier today between airline and travel agent representatives and Minister of Home Affairs Malusi Gigaba may lead to good news about the Immigration Regulations next week.
* A number of top Cape Town designers will be showcasing their work and the collective creativity of South Africa at 100% Design in London from 17 – 20 September, attended by 30000 architects, interior designers, and retailers, representing a collective buying power of £2,7 billion. Designers include Mervyn Gers Ceramics, Martin Doller, Meyer von Wielligh, and furniture designer Pierre Cronje, and the trip is sponsored by the Department of Trade & Industry. (received via media release from Wesgro)
* Opulent Living raised R2,5 million at its ‘Chefs who Share’ Gala Dinner and Auction in the City Hall last night, due to Continue reading →
* Cape Town Tourism CEO Enver Duminy’s response to the axing of Virgin Atlantic’s London – Cape Town flights is embarrassing and appears unprepared, with poor wording, likely to have been a telephonic interview: ‘The slight (sic) cuts will definitely impact on tourism to the destination, especially if you look at Summer where the demand for Cape Town is quite great (sic), especially from the UK market’ !
* ‘Chefs who Share’ is adding two further Auction lots for its charity Gala Dinner on Thursday 11 September, the culinary highlight of the year in Cape Town. The proceeds go to the MAD (Make a Difference) Charity and Laureus Sport for Good Foundation. The additional Auction lots are attendance at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix at pit lane level, and VIP tickets to attend the Laureus World Sports Awards in Shanghai. (received via media release from Amplicon PR)
* Col’Cacchio is again giving back to the Red Cross Children’s Hospital this year, in donating R 5 of sales per pizza in its Continue reading →
* Cape Town will host the 14th World Summit of the Noble Peace Prize Laureates from 13 – 15 October, the first time that it will be held in Africa, report the Cape Times and Weekend Argus. A total of 1500 delegates is expected to meet at the Cape Town International Convention Centre, with the topic ‘Peace: living it’. Previous Noble Peace Prize recipients such as Mikhail Gorbachev and Lech Walesa will join FW de Klerk and Archbishop Desmond Tutu.
* The largest number of international visitors to Cape Town in the third quarter of last year, ranked by figures just released by Wesgro, were from Germany, the USA, the UK, and Italy. Gauteng was the largest source of local visitors, followed by those from other parts of the Western Cape.
* Rio de Janeiro received close to 900000 visitors during the Soccer World Cup, spending $4,4 million, with more than half of the visitors planning to return in two years to attend the 2016 Olympic Games. The city hosted the closing Final, which was viewed by 3 billion TV viewers, and its iconic statue of Christ the Redeemer against a sunset was shown during the broadcast, as Continue reading →
* Ticket sales for Opulent Living’s black-tie event ‘Chefs who Share’ 2014, to be held on 11 September in the City Hall, open from tomorrow. A total of 14 local chefs, 7 international chefs, and 7 local sommeliers will be in attendance. Tickets cost R3000, and the proceeds go to the MADD Charity and to Laureus Sport for Good Foundation. (received via media release from Opulent Living).
* SA National Parks (SANParks) is to invest R50 million in enhancing the tourism infrastructure of Table Mountain National Park, including Cape Point (receiving 860000 visitors per year) and Boulders’ Beach (receiving 680000 visitors every year), making them important tourism assets for Cape Town. The announcement comes as the Park celebrates its 16th anniversary. Improved roads and services can be expected at Cape Point.
* The latest Reserve Bank’s Quarterly Bulletin reflects household consumption growing at a mere 1,8%, the slowest growth rate since the global economic crisis commenced in 2009. Growth in food and drink expenditure in particular declined for the first time in the past five years.
One welcome advantage of the tough tourism times is that Cape Town Routes Unlimited is proactively sharing what it is doing for the Cape tourism industry, via almost daily media releases. Cape Town Tourism, by comparison, is Tweeting torrentially, and does little for its media coverage and member communication.
A Special Edition of the Cape Town Routes Unlimited CEO Update provides interesting information about a recent trip to South America by its CEO Calvyn Gilfellan, who visited Buenos Aires in Argentina, and Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro in Brazil, earlier this month. The 2010 Soccer World Cup got the ball rolling in developing relationships with the two countries. Two events took Gilfellan to South America:
* SAA São Paulo Workshop, which was attended by 33 Brazilian tour operators, wholesalers, and incentive houses. At the workshop a ‘speed-dating’ approach was used, whereby the Cape exhibitors and the Brazilian tour operators were each given 15 minutes to represent their tourism products, resulting in 841 business connections
. Visit SA Expo in Buenos Aires: Organised by the South African Embassy (headed by ex-DA leader Tony Leon), the Expo invited free participation by South African tourism players, including those involved in language schools, sports tourism, business tourism, and luxury travel.
Only one day was spent in Buenos Aires, and here Cape Town Routes Unlimited was encouraged to get involved in a special rugby match in honour of Nelson Mandela on 2 November, identified an opportunity for the creation of a West Coast Rooibos Tea Route on the initiative of the South American offices of South African Rooibos Tea, and the opportunity for tourism players to provide information via the South African Embassy offices in Chile, Uruguay and Buenos Aires. The number of tourists from Argentina doubled in one year to reach 22000 in 2010, albeit off a low base and many of the tourists coming for the Soccer World Cup.
More time was spent in Brazil, and here Cape Town Routes Unlimited picked up the positive perception that our country has ‘extraordinary tourism offerings, friendly people, a safe environment and top-class infrastructure’. Their economic growth at 5% per annum appears to have been more resilient to the world recession, and tourism to South Africa grew by 69 % in 2010 (no numbers provided). With its massive population of 200 million it has fantastic potential for Cape tourism marketing. Brazilians travel for language training, events, wildlife, golf, adventure, and surfing in the main. They are ‘habitual’ travellers, enjoying returning to destinations that they have had good experiences in. Marketing collateral is recommended to be provided in Portuguese, and SA Tourism is commended for having a website in Portuguese. The BRICS inclusion of South Africa will open a platform for tourism, investment, trade, sport and cultural exchanges, writes Gilfellan. Online Travel sells packages to Brazilians visiting South Africa, and 120000 brochures will be provided by the tourism body to the South African embassy. Media visits are on the cards, and host sponsors are sought. A group of 100 golfers is visiting our country next month, and one hopes that the Cape is on their agenda. Wine and golf workshops are planned for next year with Brazilian tour operators. A jazz exchange programme between the Cape Town International Jazz Festival and the Bourbon Street Jazz Festival in Brazil is being considered, allowing performers from each festival to perform at the other festival. A Memorandum of Understanding is to be signed between Cape Town and Rio de Janiero, and a twinning agreement to be established between Robben Island and Ilha Grande, a former political prison island in Brazil. An African Fan Village is being considered in Rio de Janiero for the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup, 2014 FIFA World Cup, and 2016 Olympic Games.
It is time for Cape tourism players to brush up on their Portuguese and Spanish language skills, to welcome tourists from Brazil and Argentina. With excellent flight connections via Air Malaysia from Buenos Aires and from Brazil via SAA, Cape Town and the Western Cape are sure to benefit from a new tourism market, sorely needed as the traditional tourism source markets are still depressed due to the global recession.
Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com Twitter: @WhaleCottage