Tag Archives: Tourism Month

Tourism Month 2015: foundation for Western Cape Tourism development in next five years!

Cape Town fogYesterday Tourism Month 2015 was launched by Western Cape Minister of Economic Opportunities Alan Winde, who spoke at a media briefing about the province’s plans to grow employment in the tourism sector by 100000 by the year 2020.

The Western Cape Khulisa Project focuses on growth-generating sectors of our province’s economy, and Tourism is one of the most important to meet this goal! Minister Winde mentioned the investment of R 179 million by the V & A Waterfront to build a cruise liner terminal, as well as the doubling in size of the Cape Town International Convention Centre, the new R680 million Tsogo Sun Hotel in the city centre, and the new Continue reading →

WhaleTales Tourism, Food, and Wine news headlines: 3 September

WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*   Cape Town Tourism has launched a campaign focused on Capetonians, to celebrate Tourism Month this month, encouraging locals to experience their own city.  Based on the view that locals may not always appreciate the beauty of the city, they have been invited to photograph the yellow frames giving a different perspective on Table Mountain, erected to celebrate World Design Capital 2014 throughout Cape Town (in the V&A Waterfront, at Look Out Hill in Khayelitsha, as well as in Blaauwberg), with their friends and family. The winning photograph will win a Cape Town experience valued at R30000. (received via media release from Cape Town Tourism)

*   Western Cape Tourism Minister Alan Winde hopes that the forthcoming tourism season will be the best yet, despite the damage that the Immigration Regulations can do to families wishing to visit our province.  He will be hosting a ‘Tourism Plenary‘ later this month, to draft a Western Cape Cycling Tourism Strategy, in how to attract 100000 cyclists to the province annually.   New tourism routes in rural areas of the province are on the cards. (received via media release from Minster Winde’s office)

*   Global air travel increased by 5% in July relative to the twelve months prior, says the International Air Transport Continue reading →

WhaleTales Tourism, Food, and Wine news headlines: 1 September

WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*  It’s the start of Tourism Month, and Tourism Minister Derek Hanekom has advised South Africans to visit the sites that pay homage to the late Nelson Mandela at the launch of the month long focus on tourism, culminating in World Tourism Day on 27 September.  The theme this month is ‘Tourism Transforming Lives’.  Domestic Tourism is an important focus for our country, especially given the decrease in international tourists which can be expected due to the new Immigration Regulations.  A target of 18 million domestic tourists has been set for 2020.  The theme of World Tourism Day is ‘Tourism and Development in the Community’.

*   Coca Cola has won Grand Prix Awards for Overall Favourite Brand as well as Community Upliftment at the Sunday Times Top Brands Awards, as well as Favourite Soft-Drink Award.  Eskom received the ‘Green’ Grand Prix for preserving the environment, and Shoprite was named the top Grocery Store Award.  Other winning brands are Nokia, Tastic, KOO, Nike, KFC, and Ricoffy.

*   MasterChef SA Season 3 Finalist Sipho Mdlankomo has made headlines in the UK Telegraph, for her Continue reading →

WhaleTales Tourism, Food, and Wine news headlines: 30/31 August

WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines 

*   The price of petrol will drop by 67 cents a litre from Wednesday, good news for Tourism generally, and domestic tourism specifically.

*   Minister Alan Winde will petition Parliament tomorrow to suspend the new Immigration Regulations, coinciding with the start of Tourism Month.  The new regulations are already leading to booking cancellations or reduced business, with a number of international tour operators no longer marketing our country as a result of the regulation requirements.  The Western Cape economy will be badly affected due to the drop in tourism, Minister Winde says. A 12 month delay in implementing the Regulations will be requested. (received via media release from Minister Winde’s office)

*   Cape Town is described as ‘one of the world’s newest filming hot spots, given its favourable crew cost, locations, Continue reading →

WhaleTales Tourism, Food, and Wine news headlines: 10 September

WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*   The Earth’s magnetic pole is slowly shifting, from North to South, and vice versa, and may mean that the Northern Lights will no loner be seen in the Northern Hemisphere, and that mammals such as whales which navigate via the magnetic poles may change their migration pattern.

*   Western Cape Tourism Minister Alan Winde dived with gentle cow-sharks off Simonstown yesterday, to showcase a little known experience, and to create awareness for the province’s ‘Water Connects us’ theme for Tourism Month. The Minister said that the province’s water-themed experiences enhanced its position as one of the country’s most popular destinations, more than 1 million tourists having visited the Western Cape last year.  Provincial marketing agency Wesgro will showcase a variety of the province’s unique and family fun water-based experiences, including its 20 (out of a total Continue reading →

Wesgro Chief Marketing Officer Judy Lain a breath of fresh air for Tourism!

Wesgro Judy Lain Whale Cottage PortfolioI was recently told that Wesgro had finally appointed a Marketing head after looking since April 2012.  I called Judy Lain, its new Chief Marketing Officer, and was able to set up an appointment to meet her after her trip to South America.  We agreed to meet last Friday at Café Paradiso, on Judy’s recommendation.

All I knew about Judy was that she was better known as Judy During, and had run an advertising agency called 34 Woman, focusing on generating information about women’s purchasing behaviour, being responsible for not only FMCG but also big ticket brand decisions in their households.  Prior to that she worked at Inviseo Media, at Bester Burke Underground, and at draftfcb, therefore having a practical marketing and advertising background.   Our telephonic interaction in setting up the meeting was very different to the bureaucracy I experienced when I arranged to meet with Wesgro CEO Nils Flaatten.  Judy answered the phone herself, sounded friendly and bubbly, and decided that we should meet over lunch.

We had forgotten to describe one another over the phone, but we both Continue reading →

WhaleTales Tourism, Food, and Wine news headlines: 2 September

WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*  The petrol attendants’ strike, threatened to have started today, has been averted for the time being.

*   The World Travel Awards Europe winners have been announced: Yorkshire Best Region, Portugal Best Golf destination, Waldorf Astoria Hotel Berlin Best New Hotel, Zurich Airport Best Airport, Lufthansa Best Airline, easyJet Best Low Cost Airline, and Hilton Leading Hotel group.

*   The harvest in Bordeaux is down by 20% this year, the lowest in just more than twenty years.

*   The Western Cape focus for September as Tourism Month follows the international theme of water, Tourism Minister Alan Winde has announced.  Mr Winde said Continue reading →

SA Tourism Sho’t Left domestic tourism campaign off-beat, not going anywhere!

Sho't LeftRather belatedly the Minister of Tourism Marthinus van Schalkwyk launched a new update of the Sho’t Left campaign last week to coincide with Tourism Month, this time with the theme ‘Nothing’s more fun than a Sho’t Left’, which may leave many local non-taxi using tourists uninspired about discovering new parts of our country. Whilst the campaign may be well timed given the cost of overseas travel as a result of the exchange rate, it is too late to help the tourism industry in surviving what has been one with the worst winter occupancy ever.

The meaningless Domestic Tourism campaign name is derived from ‘everyday South African “taxi lingo”.  A commuter wanting a ride to a destination close by will say “Sho’t left, driva” – meaning, I want to jump off just around the corner‘, explains the previous website for the campaign, which was first launched in 2007.  The Tourism Minister and his department want to emphasise the fun of a local getaway and to encourage locals to take Continue reading →

Whale of a Two Oceans Hermanus Whale Festival pairs foods and wines

For the 20th year the Two Oceans Hermanus Whale Festival will be paying tribute to the Southern Right whales, who visit Walker Bay in Hermanus from May – December to mate and give birth, giving Hermanus the enviable reputation of offering the best land-based whale watching in the world.  Food and wine pairing forms a strong foundation of the Festival this year, sponsored by Two Oceans for the first time, the brand also supporting the SASSI (Southern African Sustainable Seafood Initiative) responsible eating of fish.

Billed as an ‘enviro-arts’ festival, the Two Oceans Whale Festival starts tomorrow and runs until Tuesday 4 October. On the environmental side, the focus will be educational, incorporating whales, sharks, dolphins, penguins and seals, the ‘Big 5′ for the Cape Whale Coast.  A strong focus is on education for children.  Saving the endangered rhinos has been incorporated into the Festival too.

On the arts side, the Festival is mainly music-focused, with concerts by well-known performers such as Chris Chameleon, Dr Victor and the Rasta Rebels, Steve Hofmeyer, and Prime Circle spread over six music venues. Many concerts are free of charge.  A Classical concert by the Odeion Quartet takes place at Bouchard Finlayson in the Hemel en Aarde Valley on Friday evening, while the Fidelio Trio will perform in the Municipal Auditorium on Saturday evening.  A Quilters’ exhibition can be viewed at the Dutch Reformed Church, and there is a craft marquee too.   In addition, a vintage car show, a Mardi Gras, as well as a number of sport activities such as a mountain bike race, a half marathon, and a Harbour to Harbour swim will take place.  The sport events run from 4 – 9 October.  Kfm will be broadcasting live from Hermanus.

It is the food and wine pairing that is of particular interest, and has far more focus than in past years.  At the Two Oceans Food Court at Market Square, a number of food vendors will focus on seafood, and other marine-themed and speciality dishes. In addition, local produce, artisanal cheeses, bakery items, charcuterie, as well as chocolates will be available to taste and buy.  Two Oceans’ wines will be sold at R45 a bottle. Giggling Gourmet Jenny Morris, entertainer and Checkers cheese spokesperson Nataniel, and actresses Shaleen Surtie-Richards and Brumilda van Rensburg will be doing cooking demonstrations, and allowing visitors to taste their food as well as wine for free at the Checkers’ Living Table, at different time slots.  A new Mountie Fisherman’s Market will be held in Mount Pleasant, offering fresh fish, snoek, fishcakes, and Cape Malay delicacies for sale. Throughout September twenty members of the Hermanus Restaurant Owners’ Forum, under the chairmanship of restaurateur Fabio Lenci, have been offering a special on Two Ocean’s wines, at R55 per bottle and R15 per glass, and this will continue throughout the Festival. Each of the participants will offer a combination food item with a bottle of Two Oceans’ wine at a special price.

Festival visitors are advised to leave home early, and to expect a traffic build-up coming into Hermanus. Last year 133000 whale lovers visited Hermanus, and this year 150000 are expected to attend the Whale Festival. Tomorrow Tourism Month will be officially concluded with the opening of the Two Oceans Hermanus Whale Festival by Minister of Tourism Marthinus van Schalkwyk, with Western Cape Minister of Tourism Alan Winde also attending.  The Whale Festival, and the Southern Right whales with it, have received fantastic coverage, on the front page of the Sunday Times last week, and daily on Kfm this week.   SABC2 is broadcasting about Hermanus and the Whale Festival from 6h00 – 8h00 tomorrow morning, and its camera crews have been in Hermanus, filming the beautiful assets of the region, including whales and the Hermanus Wine Route, for most of September.

Two Oceans Hermanus Whale Festival, 30 September – 4 October.  Tel (028) 313-0928.  www.whalefestival.co.za. Music tickets can be booked via www.computicket.com

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

Cape Town Routes Unlimited does not spend enough on Marketing

A heavyweight delegation from the Western Cape Department of Finance, Economic Development and Tourism, members of the Board of Cape Town Routes Unlimited, and ‘stakeholders’ of the organisation attended a presentation at the Table Bay Hotel last week, to receive feedback about Cape Town Routes Unlimited’s performance in the past twelve months, and its way forward.  Attendees also received a copy of the 2009/2010 Annual Report, a detailed document of the activities of the body which states that its “core business is marketing communications”.  It is a shame that so little of the organisation’s budget is spent on beneficial marketing on behalf of the tourism industry in the Western Cape.

The problem with handing out the Annual Report is that it reveals information which is not always to the benefit of the organisation, even though its “honesty” is commendable and meets accounting procedures.  A greater part (52%) of the R 38,5 million annual budget which Cape Town Routes Unlimited received from the Western Cape province in the past year, supplemented by R 15 million from additional special project income generated, was spent on administrative expenses rather than on marketing, which is bad news for the tourism industry in the Western Cape, which has seen the worst year ever, with most provincial tourism businesses having been detrimentally affected by the World Cup, by the strong Rand, and therefore by a reduced number of bookings. 

The importance of Marketing to the organisation is highlighted by the fact that the CEO, Calvyn Gilfellan, is also the Chief Marketing Officer.   He has three Marketing Executives reporting to him:

David Frandsen: Executive Manager – International Marketing: Europe and the Americas and the Convention Bureau 

Itumeleng Pooe: Executive Manager – International and Domestic Marketing: Africa, Asia, and the Middle East

Romeo Adams: Executive Manager – Marketing and Organisational Support 

In the Annual Report, each of these executives feeds back what their performance has been relative to targets set at the beginning of the financial year.   It is a shame to see how much of their time and action was directed at meeting administrative requirements in the preparation of the Annual Report as well as the financial reporting.   Many of the targets they set themselves seemed rather low, so that it looks good on paper when many are exceeded.   I was shocked to see the declaration of salaries of the Executive Management, and how some of these have increased in the past twelve months.   Gilfellan’s annual income is listed in the financial statements at just under R1 million (up by 6,6 % on the year before).  The Marketing Executives earned between R692000 – R839000 in the past year (close to R58000 – R70000 per month), salaries which seem way above the norm, especially when the industry cannot see much benefit of the work done by Cape Town Routes Unlimited!  Even the directors are paid emoluments, some as high as R26000.

In summary, Cape Town Routes Unlimited lists as its tourism marketing achievements in the past year the following: R20 billion of tourism business generated through international trade shows; organising the ’67 minutes for Nelson Mandela’ birthday celebration; close to 400 media mentions valued at R162 million, reaching 107 million persons – these are very bold claims!; Summer Welcome campaign; regional tourism road shows; organising Tourism Month; hosting VIP delegations; a green tourism initiative; SMME Marketing Support programme; receiving bookings at its Visitor Information Centers (set up in the Waterfront in opposition to Cape Town Tourism) to the value  of R2,4 million; a Google Adword campaign; a campaign with CNN; and an e-mail campaign in the Benelux countries.   Conventions are lucrative for tourism business in the Western Cape, and for Cape Town in particular, nine conferences having been secured for the next three years, to be attended by 5650 delegates, with R55 million in economic impact.

The recent upheaval caused by provincial Minister Alan Winde’s announcement that he wants to amalgamate Cape Town Tourism and Cape Town Routes Unlimited was not addressed by the Minister when he spoke at the meeting.   Cape Town Routes Unlimited Chairman Peter Bacon was critical of the separation between the two tourism bodies in his ‘Chairperson’s Review’: “… following the City of Cape Town’s withdrawal of its financial support and decision to mandate Cape Town Tourism to market the City and provide visitor support services on the ground. This effectively gave rise to the creation of a second Destination Marketing Organisation with the resultant confusion, duplication of effort and wasteful expenditure.”   Bacon does praise the closer co-operation between the Western Cape province, the City of Cape Town (which steadfastly is supporting Cape Town Tourism for the marketing of the Mother City) and municipalities in the province.   Cape Town Tourism is not mentioned by Bacon in this context.  Bacon states that the province is working on:

*  a clear vision for the development of the tourism industry

*  a single strategy with clearly defined roles, responsibilities and deliverables.

*   business plans for Cape Town Routes Unlimited,  Cape Town Tourism and other regional tourist organisations aligned to the goals and strategy of the province,

and this will lead to a Memorandum of Agreement to be signed between the Province and the City in the next twelve months, he writes.     

In his Chief Executive Officer’s Review, Gilfellan writes: “One of our organisation’s greatest achievements during this challenging year was that it established itself as a credible and authoritative voice in tourism”, on the basis of media comments requested from the organisation.   Many will question his claim.  He states that industry challenges are the following:

*   “overcoming the effects of the worse (sic) economic crisis to hit the the industry in 60 years

*   The slow pace of transformation and diversification of the industry

*   Stunted growth in our traditional core markets of the UK, Germany, Netherlands and France

*   Limited marketing resources compromising our global competitiveness, and

*   Institutional disarray leading to the current role confusion, duplication and possible fruitless expenditure.”

Gilfellan also looks to the future in his review, and calls for “a speedy resolution to the protracted institutional calamity”, referring to the problem between his organisation and Cape Town Tourism; Events, Sports and Business Tourism will capitalise on the World Cup; new target markets like Brazil, India, China, Russia, the Middle East and Africa must be targeted; a tourism community in which business, labour, government and the communities unify around a common vision and partnership;  embracing technological advances in marketing; promoting the principle of a ‘quadruple bottom line’, encouraging the tourism industry to pay attention to social responsibility, environmental sensitivity, economic imperative, and climate change.

In providing such detail to the industry, one can request Cape Town Routes Unlimited to connect with its stakeholders more frequently than once a year at a function; to allow stakeholders to ask questions so that a dialogue can be created at such functions; to inform stakeholders about achievements as frequently as possible, so that they can help spread the word about the work of the organisation (Cape Town Tourism is excellent at this);  to address the imbalance in “employment equity” by gender, occupation and population group; to improve its market research techniques, a weakness it shares with Cape Town Tourism; to contain any duplication in its marketing activities relating to Cape Town that is already managed by Cape Town Tourism; to address the non-sensical brand “Cape Town & Western Cape”;  and to speak to tourism leaders about how it can more effectively direct its marketing budget to the benefit of the industry, being Events, Events and more Events in the seasonal winter months. 

I am very impressed with Minister Winde, and how approachable he is – he has no airs and graces, picks up a phone to make a call to a tourism player with an opinion, is embracing social media with a Twitter account (@AlanWinde), and reads and comments on blogs related to tourism.  As an outcome to the presentation, hearing stakeholders reinforce how poor business is, he promised to set up a meeting to address the poor bookings issue, especially given the feedback from World Travel Market held in London last week that our country has priced itself out of the market.

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