Entries tagged with “Table Mountain Aerial Cableway”.

imageTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines 

*   The South African Reserve Bank announced today that it will increase the interest rate by 0,25 %!

*   The Table Mountain Aerial Cableway will close for its annual maintenance on Monday 27 July until 9 August. Maintenance work will be undertaken, and the cable car cabins will be upgraded too. The maintenance work is overseen by Swiss engineers, to meet the global cableway safety standards of the Swiss Governing Body for Cableways.

*   Uber is looking at introducing UberPool, allowing the sharing of (more…)

WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*   Chapman’s Peak has re-opened, while  the Franschhoek Pass remains closed, reports Kfm News. (update: The Franschhoek Pass was re-opened today)

*   Signal Hill in Cape Town may have a controlled access system between 22h00 and 5h00, to control crime during the evening.

*   The 2013 Sustainable Tourism Marketing Guide is about to be published, co-sponsored by Cape Town Tourism.

*   Travelers in the UK, USA, and Australia use a mix of e-mails (for reminders), mobile apps, and online (to make bookings) before, during, and after their holiday. Surprising is that 70% switch off whilst on holiday, especially the UK tourists.  Most of those sharing their holiday information and photographs do so when they return from their holiday.

*   BA is introducing more flights between Cape Town and London for the (more…)

Increasingly the tourism industry is seeing information that informs it about its successful performance, but this information does not tie in with actual business experience.

Yesterday on Twitter Guy Lundy, CEO of Accelerate Cape Town and Board member of Cape Town Tourism, created a PR gaffe (accommodation establishments make up a substantial proportion of Cape Town tourism members) by writing disparagingly:  ‘So if the airport & Table Mountain had a record December, why are the hotels crying? Because people want bargains & they’re too expensive’. When challenged on his statement, Lundy quoted the record 813000 arrivals at Cape Town International in December, and its best ever year in 2011, and the record Table Mountain Aerial Cableway 142000 ticket sales from mid-December – mid-January, attributing this success as follows: Positive legacy of 2010 World Cup; increased profile & awareness’. Few tourism businesses would agree with Lundy about the tourism benefit of the 2010 World Cup.

The Tourism Business Council of South Africa also described its 4th quarter Tourism Business Index of 87 as a ‘marked improvement in business performance for the last quarter of 2011’, correct relative to last year’s 3rd quarter (70), 2nd quarter (74,5), and 1st quarter (79) Index measurements.  What the Tourism Business Council media release neglected to point out is that the 4th quarter Index of 2011 is below that of the 4th quarter of 2010, which was at at 89.  The improved performance was attributed to the COP17 Climate Change Conference and the better than expected festive season.

The Tourism Business Index is sponsored by FNB, and compiled by Grant Thornton, the tourism consultancy that got the 2010 World Cup tourism estimates so badly wrong. Pieter de Bruin, Head of Industry Sales at FNB, said that the results showed that there are ‘different cycles in business, such is the importance of South Africa being an events destination and having a healthy domestic tourism market. We trust that this may be the first sign of the industry making a turn into positive territory’. Tourism Business Council CEO Mmatšatši Marobe commented: “When we launched the TBI (Tourism Business Index) project in 2010, one of the key objectives was to develop a business tool which would produce relevant information that will assist us to map out a clear picture of general ‘health’ our (sic) industry.  At this point the index is showing positive signs of progress; however it also highlights the important role that the domestic and regional markets can play in boosting tourism trade”.  The Tourism Business Index is a national measure of current and future performance of the tourism and travel industry, and sub-sectors within the sector. A score of 100 is the norm, reflecting that the tourism industry is still operating below par.  The industry has predicted an Index of 82 for the first quarter of 2012.

Durban bragged about its excellent performance over the past two years, claiming to have ‘outperformed other major SA cities’, reports The Mercury, due to the COP 17 Conference, achieving near 100 % occupancy for about a month, and the excellent local visitor numbers over the December school holidays, with hotel occupancy of around 80%, according to the local FEDHASA branch.

FEDHASA Cape Chairman Dirk Elzinga would not admit to a tourism crisis last winter, blaming the poor hospitality performance on the Cape scapegoat of Seasonality.  Eventually he had to admit that it was the worst season ever. Elzinga has deplored the cancellation of direct flights to Cape Town by Malaysia Airlines and Etihad Airways, stating that Cape Town’s tourism fortune is reliant on ‘direct access’.

Once again we would like to encourage the tourism authorities to be honest and realistic in reporting tourism successes, and to be correct in defining the summer season being from October, which showed poor performance with November too, and runs until April. The Cape is currently experiencing a ten-day dip, and yesterday’s J&B Met was the poorest ever for the hospitality industry.  Very encouraging is the almost fully-booked February, due to the Mining Conference taking place in Cape Town, as well as Valentine’s Day, with a welcome increase in British tourists too.

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

Cape Town Routes Unlimited has released statistics, comparing the tourism performance between June 2009 and 2010.  In general it would appear that tourism facilities fared better in June this year compared to last June, due to the World Cup, which kicked off on 11 June.

 The following statistics were provided in the Cape Town Routes Unlimited “World Cup Impact” report:

1.  The Table Mountain Aerial Cableway received 63861 visitors in June, an increase of 69 %

2.   Boulders Beach in Simonstown had just less than 20 000 visitors from 1-20 June this year, compared to 21 314 for the whole of June 2009

3.   Kirstenbosch received 7 % more visitors in June, at 25 469, compared to last year

4.   The V&A Waterfront received 1,6 million visitors in June, up 7 % compared to last year.

5.   Robben Island doubled its visitor numbers between June this year and last year.

6.   International arrivals at Cape Town International airport increased by 18 % in June relative to a year ago, (and by 24 % for the period 11 June – 16 July, according to Cape Town Tourism’s World Cup Impact report, released yesterday).

7.   Domestic arrivals at Cape Town International airport increased by 10 %, at 261260 in June 

8.   The Cape Town “Lodging Statistics Summary” (where did they get that name from?) seems very wrong, from own experience and discussions with other industry colleagues, given the exceptionally poor May 2010 accommodation bookings.  We publish the information with a warning (the Cape Town Routes Unlimited report does not identify the source of its statistics):

             Occupancy:                 2010                                              2009

             April                             59%                                                 62%

             May                              55%                                                 46%

             June                              68%                                                 41%

9.  The FIFA Fan Fest at the Grand Parade had its best day on 11 June, the Opening Match between Bafana Bafana and Mexico, with 41000 visitors, and had to be closed at that number due to overcrowding. The second busiest day was the Bafana Bafana match against France on 16 June, with 39000 visitors.  The quietest day was 21 June, with just less than 8000 soccer fans.

10.   In June the busiest Fan Walk day was when Holland played Cameroon, with an estimated 72000 walkers between the City centre and the Cape Town Stadium.  The Portugal/Korea DPR match attracted only 25 000 – 30 000 walkers, a day with heavy rain.

11.   Public Viewing set up in provincial towns was highest on 11 June in all such towns, and highest overall in Worcester (8000), followed by George (more than 7000).  Attendance dropped strongly on other days, and night matches were not well supported where public transport had not been organised.

12.   The V&A Waterfront Gateway (one assumes the one at the Clocktower) attracted 23911 visitors in June, up by 8 %, but the value of bookings increased by 55%.   Only 94 bookings were made last month, a disappointing number, given the traffic in the V&A Waterfront in this period.

13.   The Cape Town Tourism International airport office served 6841 visitors, the City branch 1206, the Table Mountain Cableway branch 849, and Kirstenbosch 803 visitors.  No comparable 2009 figures are provided, which is a surprise and disappointment.  (Cape Town Tourism’s World Cup Impact report states that 71 % more international visitors and 15 % more domestic tourists visited a Cape Town Tourism branch during the World Cup period – even though I have never seen information about the origin of the tourist asked) 

14.   Franschhoek claims to have received more than 4000 visitors (no 2009 comparative figures) in its Information office in June, which did not translate into much business as far as accommodation and restaurant bookings are concerned.  Paarl claims to have served 1 961 visitors (no 2009 comparative figures), and Knysna Tourism received 1433 visitors, double the number of last June.   Ceres received 1173 visitors, treble the 2009 figure, but this may have been due to the heavy snowfalls last month.

It is a pity that 2009 figures are not available across the board for the statistics provided, and that the 11 days of the World Cup are not reflected either, as Cape Town and the towns close to it were fuller in July, given the round of 16, quarter-final and semi-final matches played in Cape Town in this period.  Yet it is commendable that statistics were made available at all, no matter how questionable some of them appear to be!

Cape Town Tourism’s World Cup Impact report, presented to the media yesterday, claims that 200000 of the 350000 international visitors that came to South Africa for the World Cup came to Cape Town (even though its earlier pre-World Cup surveys showed that the majority of such soccer fans planned to visit Cape Town!).   One wonders how this estimate was made.  Cape Town Tourism CEO Mariette du Toit-Helmbold said that the World Cup was never about the short term, but about long-term benefits for Cape Town, turning soccer fans into fans of Cape Town.  City of Cape Town Mayco Member of Economic Development and Tourism Felicity Purchase noted that events hosted in winter months are needed to counter the seasonality of Cape Town’s tourism industry.   The 750 journalists that were shown around Cape Town loved the city, describing it as “photogenic”, and falling in love with it.   The Report also addresses accommodation occupancy during the World Cup, but its “research” was so poorly conducted that their misleading results will not be reported here (read our criticism of their intital results, mid-way through the World Cup).

What all the reports lose sight off is the extremely poor May that the tourism and hospitality industry experienced, a vacuum having been created due to the World Cup, which wiped out any gains made between 11 June – 11 July!

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

In the past two days newspapers have been quoting from a Cape Town Routes Unlimited media release about the status of the festive season, creating a confusing picture as to whether the season has been a good or bad one.

What is surprising is that the festive season is not yet over, and already Cape Town Routes Unlimited (CTRU) is trying to draw comparisons between this season and that of last year, before it has come to an end, with many visitors only returning to start work on Monday 12 January.

The Cape Times report quotes CTRU as stating:”…they (Tourism Managers) had experienced a festive season that was “similar or better” than those in previous years”    However, the article does not state which Managers CTRU refers to.   Further reference is made to tourism having improved on the West Coast, the Winelands, and Central Karoo, with a decline in the Garden Route, Klein Karroo and Robertson and Montagu, two towns which were affected by floods in November.   The basis of the trend information is not specified.   Surprisingly, no mention is made of Cape Town’s festive season success, which has been exceptional and continues until the end of this week.

The Cape Times artcle also states that the Airports Company serviced more passengers in December 2008 compared to a year ago.   This trend was also experienced by the V & A Waterfront, and in Kirstenbosch, while the Table Mountain Aerial Cableway Company had its worst performance in 10 years in December, due to the weather.

Business Report quotes FEDHASA CEO Brett Dungan as saying that “tourists were spending less, but Cape Town and Durban were still busy”.  One wonders where he sourced his information, and how it is quantified, as the FEDHASA Cape office is still closed, and the FEDHASA offices in KwaZulu-Natal having stated that the area had experienced a very poor season a week ago, according to media reports.

The future looks good, with February predicted to be an excellent tourism month.   Whale Cottage Camps Bay, for example, already has an occupancy of 90 % for February, more than three weeks before the start of the month.  This used to be the case in November too, but the booking pattern was extremely last minute in November 2008, yet resulted in the same occupancy rate as in the year before.

Rented cars were hard to find over the festive season.  One of the most popular companies, Value Car Hire, had no stock over the New Year, with availability from this week onwards for the first time.

The decrease in the price of petrol yesterday, by more than R 1,30 a litre, is an excellent note on which to start 2009, which many say will be a challenging one, due to the global credit crunch.