Tag Archives: Western Cape province

Cape Town International Jazz Festival positions Cape Town as Jazz Capital of Africa!

Jazz Festival Banner Whale Cottage PortfolioAt the media launch yesterday of the 15th Cape Town International Jazz Festival at the Cape Town International Convention Centre Mayor Patricia de Lille said that the goal of Cape Town is to become the Events Capital of Africa, and with it the Capital of Jazz in Africa, attracting 37000 Festival goers.  An exciting line-up of international and local jazz artists was announced at the launch.

The launch was addressed by a number of speakers. Billy Domingo, the Chief Operating Officer of espAfrika, the events company organising the Jazz Festival, was a witty MC for the event.  Rashid Lombard organises the musical side of things, and announced that since ticket sales opened last month, all two-day passes have been sold,.  There are about 500 day tickets available for each of the two days.  The event is a team effort, within their company (of mainly ladies he joked) and also with the City of Cape Town.  They want to create a legacy through the event, which includes a training and development Jazz FEstival Rashid Lombard Whale Cottage Portfolioprogramme which has already seen six students study at the Berklee College of Music in Boston in the USA.  Job creation is another goal.  Lombard proudly shared their Social Media statistics, having more than 14000 Twitter followers, close to 9000 Likes on Facebook, and 140000 YouTube views.

Lombard also presented the eagerly awaited line up for the Cape Town International Jazz Festival, which includes top international jazz artists Level 42, Shakatak, Eryka Badu (but not mentioned in the media release), and Abdullah Ibrahim and Ekaya.  Other international artists are Andreya Continue reading →

Tough new cycling legislation rolled in for the Western Cape!

Cyclist SA VenuesThe Western Cape province introduced tough new cycling legislation earlier this week, aimed at better behaviour by both cyclists and motorists on the roads of Cape Town and the province.  Other than newspaper coverage this week, there has been no communication to Western Cape residents, nor to tourists arriving from other provinces and from overseas.

The Western Cape Provincial Road Traffic Administration Act 2012 (Act 6 of 2012): Safety of Cyclists Regulations, 2013, places the following duties on motorists:

*   keep a distance of 1 meter from a cyclist (no longer 1,5 meters as initially recommended)

*   must pass a cyclist carefully, and are allowed to drive over a solid line into an oncoming lane to keep the specified distance from the cyclists, but only if there is no oncoming traffic (this sounds like a dangerous relaxation of the law, which in essence means that the motorist must give way, and that Continue reading →

’67 Minutes for Mandela’ Sweet Service and World Cup construction contractors Sour Service Awards!

Mandela birthdayThe Sweet Service Award goes to all the South Africans who honoured former President Nelson Mandela on his 95th birthday yesterday, by giving 67 minutes of their time to help others, including operating soup kitchens, giving talks at schools, making sandwiches for learners at disadvantaged schools, collecting clothing and blankets, volunteering at the Oranjezicht City Farm, reading at a retirement home or hospice, donating blood, volunteering at an animal shelter, serving tea and cake at old age homes, painted school exteriors, offered TB and HIV screening,  provided free horseriding lessons for disabled children, brought joy to sick children at the Red Cross Children’s Hospital, and did many more good deeds in honour of the father of the nation. Continue reading →

Cape Town to be developed into 24-hour world class city

Many would say that Cape Town already is regarded as a world class city. However, the Western Cape province and the City of Cape Town, in association with the Cape Town Partnership,  believe that there is more work to be done to turn Cape Town into one of the top cities in the world, and to rezone the city into “mixed-use-zones that are lively, inviting, open and operate 24 hours a day” by 2014/2015, reports the Weekend Argus.

Driven by the MEC for Public Works and Transport, Robin Carlisle, Cape Town is to be divided into six ‘precincts’:

*   the Artscape precinct will connect Artscape with the new to-be-extended Cape Town International Convention Centre, to be doubled in size, to operate 24 hours a day, and to be completed by 2014, via the Artscape Gardens, to be developed as part of the extension.  The Gardens are to be raised to the height of the freeway, and parking developed beneath it.  Two buildings, one an hotel and another an office block with 30000 square meters of retail space, will be designed to act as ‘wind buffers’ against the south-easter, which affects the area close to the harbour badly.   The Artscape Gardens is planned to contain an amphitheatre seating 25000 visitors.  The Convention Centre expansion will include the proposed move of the Netcare Christiaan Barnard Memorial Hospital to the precinct too. 

*   the Somerset precinct plans have not been finalised, but include the Somerset Hospital, a part of the building having historical value.  A new casino is planned for this area, an attractive location for it, being adjacent to the V&A Waterfront.   One of the options is that the Gold Reef’s Mykonos Langebaan casino may move to this precinct.  This area is also planned for mixed-use zoning.

*   the Prestwich precinct will see high-rise buildings and another pedestrian bridge and Fan Mile, to ‘allow the city and the Waterfront to better complement each other’, and connecting these two popular areas.  Prestwich Street runs parallel to Somerset Road, and is the street in which The Foundry/Beluga can be found. 

*   the provincial government precinct around Dorp, Wale and Keerom Streets will see glass walls erected to block the wind from blowing through the arches of the provincial building.  A new high-rise building is to be built on the corner of Loop and Leeuwen Streets, to accommodate the office requirements of government departments.

*   the Government Garage precinct in the Roeland/Hope/Mill Streets area is to get a facelift, with retail, residential and urban spaces to be developed.   Entry-level housing is to be developed, to allow residents to work and live in the city without having to use cars to get to work.  “This precinct will focus on turning Roeland Street into a ‘boulevard’ leading down to the gates of Parliament, with shops and cafés at street level, and accommodation on the first floor, built around squares.  The Government Garage and ambulance depot are to be moved to the ex-abattoir in Maitland.

*   the Two Rivers Urban Park, including Oude Molen, Alexandra, Valkenberg and other government property, will focus on medical facilities, including the expansion of psychiatric hospital Valkenberg, an office park for ‘bio-medical engineering companies’, ‘compact hospitals at Alexandra’, and will expand the residential arm of Oude Molen.   A ‘water taxi’ is to connect Oude Molen and Athlone via the Black River.

Linked to the province’s bold city regeneration plans is the planned development of a second international airport near Saldanha Bay.  It is also planned to introduce ‘130 new, quieter and graffiti-repellent trains, which could comfortably transport 550000 people a day…’.

The plans for the regeneration of the Cape Town city center sound exciting, and will lead other businesses to invest in the city centre.  For example, the section of Bree Street near Buitensingel Street is seeing a revival, with interesting restaurants and decor shops opening. One hopes that the DA will win the municipal election in May, so that these grand plans can be realised.

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

Cape Town International Convention Centre to add growth to city centre

The announcement by the City of Cape Town and the Western Cape province earlier this week that R 4,5 billion is to be invested in the expansion of the Cape Town International Convention Centre is welcome news for Cape Town, and its tourism industry, not just for leisure tourism, but for business tourism too.  This investment reflects the City’s recognition of the importance of Events as an important part of its economic development strategy, reports the Cape Times.

Commenting on the planned investment Cape Town Tourism CEO Mariette du Toit-Helmbold wrote that “Cape Town’s brand position must encompass business, study and our contemporary, gritty and creative urbanism, amongst other things, in addition to simply leisure and beauty, which adds to our significant seasonality problem” (somehow this sentence from the Cape Town Tourism media release seems jumbled, and communicates exactly the opposite to what is intended, in my opinion).  Mrs Helmbold added that Cape Town’s 2014 Design Capital bid and the completion of the planned expansion of the Convention Centre in 2014 are ‘perfectly aligned’.

The expansion of the Convention Centre will include 10000 square meters of retail space, a new Netcare Chris Barnard Memorial hospital, an office tower, parking, and  a Founder’s Garden, which will stretch towards Artscape via a skywalk.  Custom’s House, which was previously rumoured to be part of the expansion of the Convention Centre, will not be part of the expansion.   The expansion of the Convention Centre is seen to ‘regenerate’ this city area closest to the harbour.   

The Cape Town International Convention Centre, a city and provincial funded project in a partnership with business backers, has proven to be a success, and its operating and capital costs have been recovered.   It is financially independent of its original funders.  It has created more than 4000 jobs, and this will double by 2018.   Its contribution to the GDP is R 2,3 billion, and this is forecast to more than double to R5,1 billion after completion of the expansion.

Mrs Helmbold predicted that the Convention Centre expansion would “enhance Cape Town’s liveability (sic), workability and walkability – encouraging 24 hour utilisation of public spaces and buildings, and linking the IRT public transport system directly with the new convention centre and the arts and culture precinct around the Artscape Theatre Complex”.    

The Cape Town International Convention Centre is ranked 35th in the world, and top in Africa.   Cape Town is the leading convention and meetings destination in Africa.   The expansion program is aimed at establishing the Cape Town International Convention Centre as the best long-haul convention centre in the world.   Any increase in business tourism resulting from the expansion of the Convention Centre will be warmly applauded by the tourism industry of Cape Town and the Western Cape!

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

Overhex Balance wines are good balance between quality and price!

On Friday I was fortunate to experience a tasting of some of the wines in the Overhex Wines International range, and specifically their new additions to the two year old Balance range, which was held at one of the most popular restaurants in Cape Town, namely Luke Dale-Roberts’  The Test Kitchen.

The Test Kitchen in the Old Biscuit Mill premises in Woodstock is a small space, and we must have been about thirty journalists and bloggers who were lucky enough to be invited by charming PR consultant Nicolette Waterford.  The stature of the event was reflected by the attendance of Sunday Times wine writer Neil Pendock, Cape Wine Master Christine Rudman, Cape Times wine writer Cathy Marston, Christian Eedes, Wade Bales, Spit or Swallow’s Anel Grobler, Joanne Gibson, Greg Landman, and more, and the restaurant venue must have been an important attendance drawcard.   Spread over the two tables were staff of Overhex, including the co-owner Gerhard van der Wath, who manages the company, in close co-operation with JC (for Jean Claude) Martin, who is the Production Director, and is responsible for the wine styles and blends, assisted by Jandre Human, the cellar master.  Being private-owned means that Gerhard and JC can make quick decisions.   They are not restricted to only the grapes of their region, but can buy in the best grapes to suit their requirements, including from the Swartland, West Coast, Franschhoek, and Stellenbosch, allowing them to make wines at different price points.  The Overhex farm in the Breede River Valley outside Worcester produces about 10 000 tons of grapes, and about 5 million litres are bought in, JC told us.

JC (on the right, chatting to Greg Landman) has a Swiss German lilt when he speaks, and arrived in South Africa six years ago, having met his wife Carolyn (daughter of Walter Finlayson) on the wine estate in Switzerland on which he worked at the time, where she came to present label designs on behalf of the London design agency she worked for.  His association with Overhex started in 2005.  Alongside the Overhex wine involvement, JC makes his own Creation wines in the Hemel en Aarde valley outside Hermanus.   While this was not a Creation function at all, we did discuss the wines and the marketing of them, which JC does on the side when he represents Overhex wines overseas.  His wife does the marketing of Creation wines locally, and they had an average of 300 visitors per day in their tasting room over the festive season, he said.  They are very excited about the fact that the Western Cape province has placed the Caledon – Hermanus gravel road going through their valley as number one priority on the list of roads to be tarred in the province, and they see this as being of huge future benefit to themselves and their colleagues on the recently created Hemel en Aarde Valley wine route.   I sat opposite JC, and asked him questions abouit Creation – he did not talk about Creation when he addressed the guests.  JC told me he studied winemaking in the French part of Switzerland. Switzerland is not generally known as a wine producer, but JC told me that the Swiss drink all the wine produced in the total area of 25000 ha, and therefore it is not exported.  Whalepod is a new Creation brand, and we have started stocking it in our Whale Cottages.  JC told me that they are launching a new Syrah/Malbec Whalepod blend. Tasting rooms on wine farms are unique to South Africa, in that one can visit most wine farms without making an appointment, making this wine tourism valuable to wine farms selling their wines from the cellar door – for Creation it represents 30 % of their sales. 

In 2003 Overhex was started as a co-operative, and was bought by Gerhard and a partner in 2005.  Initially their focus was on the international market, and they now export to 25 countries.  JC told us that they export to supermarket and liquor groups such as Marks & Spencer, CO-OP UK, and Fosters, making own label wines for them.   Most of the wine is made to the specific requirements of each of these chains, and exported in bulk, and bottled in the UK and in Germany.     Ten Overhex brands are exported, being 3,5 million bottles in total. 

The reason for the launch function was to introduce the new additions to the Balance range, being the Winemaker’s Selection Shiraz 2010 and Winemaker’s Selection Sauvignon Blanc 2010.  They complement the existing Balance range of Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 (won a gold medal at Michelangelo 2010),  Shiraz Merlot 2010, Pinotage Shiraz 2009, Sauvignon Blanc Semillon 2010, Chenin Blanc Colombar, Reserve Unwooded Chardonnay, Sparkling Vin Sec, Sparkling Vin Doux, Shiraz Rosé and a sweet Rosé, aiming them at the domestic market for the first time.  Balance has been shaped for local wine drinkers, and the range is designed to be easy drinking wines with a shorter life span.   We were asked to evaluate the wines relative to their price point, the Winemaker’s Selection Sauvignon Blanc costing R40 and the Winemaker’s Selection Shiraz costing R45, representing incredible value, as none of the white and red Balance wines are more expensive than these two prices.  JC said that the Balance wines should not be judged on price alone, in that a cheaper wine does not mean that it is a bad wine.   Overhex operates ethically and cares about its supplier farmers, in that they offer them a price for their grapes that allows the farmers to survive.  The Balance wines are available at ULTRA intitally, and they are working on expanding the distribution at local outlets.   I asked about the elephant on the label, and the designer was at the function, but she could not explain it, other than that it was on the first Balance labels.  The Balance pay-off line is “for life’s lighter moments”.  The Overhex cellar now has a tasting room and Bistro, and locals are invited to visit the wine estate.  “Our goal with Balance is to get the wine lover to celebrate everyday wine culture, making it easy to enjoy delicious wines from a varied range at an affordable price point”, said Gerhard.

The Test Kitchen food was outstanding, and deep fried sushi was served before we started.  I chose a Trout tartar starter, which was light and perfect for the hot summer’s day.  As I had the kingklip when I had dinner at the restaurant in December, I ordered the beef fillet, and it is the softest I remember ever having, simply presented with green beans.   For dessert the choice was a cheese platter and lemon tart. 

The launch and tasting of the Overhex Wines International Balance range of wines, ‘paired’ with the wonderful food by Chef Luke-Dale Roberts of The Test Kitchen, and the gift pack of Balance wines, was the start to an exceptional day, which ended with the attendance at the U2 360° concert at the Cape Town Stadium for many attending the function.

Overhex Wines International, 71 Stockenström Street, Worcester. Tel (023) 347-6838.  www.overhex.com  Tuesday – Thursday 10h00 – 17h00, Friday and Saturday 10h00 – 16h00.

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

New Cape Tourism Marketing conflict between province and city

One could see it coming!   The marketing of Cape Town and the Western Cape province has been a problem for the last number of years, in that the province and the city were run by the Democratic Alliance and ANC parties, respectively.  That is, until last year, when the Democratic Alliance won the city and the provincial elections.   The new MEC for Economic Affairs, Finance and Tourism, Alan Winde, vowed from the word go that he would address the strained relationship between Cape Town Tourism and Cape Town Routes Unlimited, as far as each body’s marketing of Cape Town in particular, but also of the Western Cape province, is concerned.  Now the relationship is about to become more, rather than less, strained!

One needs to go back in history to paint a picture of continuous turmoil in the tourism industry.   Initially Cape Town Tourism was marketing Cape Town, and the Western Cape Tourism Board marketed the province, a harmonious relationship existing between the two tourism bodies, one funded by the City of Cape Town, and the other by the province.   As the political parties changed, new Ministers of Tourism at provincial level tried to reinvent the wheel, and the biggest change of all was the establishment of the Destination Marketing Organisation (DMO), taking over the old Western Cape Tourism Board, as well as the marketing role for Cape Town from Cape Town Tourism, about seven years ago.   Cape Town Tourism only retained its role as Tourism Information agency.

Numerous complaints from the tourism industry about the lack of marketing visibility of Cape Town, the “gateway” to the rest of the Western Cape, were aired, and the new DMO, which became known as Cape Town Routes Unlimited, was blamed for not knowing what it was doing.   Political differences between the province and the City of Cape Town, as well as the lack of Cape Town Routes Unlimited’s marketing performance, led the City to withdraw its 50 % contribution to the running of Cape Town Routes Unlimited two years ago, leaving that body vulnerable in terms of its funding, and crippling it in terms of its marketing role.   The City signed an agreement with Cape Town Tourism, whereby it allocated its previous Cape Town Routes Unlimited funds to Cape Town Tourism, with the responsibility for the agency to market Cape Town in addition to its tourism information role.   Due to its funding cuts, Cape Town Routes Unlimited was forced to cut its marketing projects dramatically, and to focus mainly on marketing the province.

However, Cape Town Routes Unlimited did not leave the marketing of Cape Town out of its marketing strategy, and once again the industry complained about the duplication in the marketing of Cape Town by both bodies, something that the new DMO had been created to avoid.   When Winde, and his counterpart in the City of Cape Town, Felicity Purchase, met last year, the two marketing partners agreed that they would encourage co-operation and that they would avoid duplication where possible.  Winde confirmed that there would be no consolidation of the two bodies.   The industry was told that a strategy of co-existence between the two bodies would be presented to it, but no such strategy has been forthcoming in the past year.   Cape Town Tourism was forced to appoint a Cape Town Routes Unlimited director on its Board (this is not reciprocated on the Cape Town Routes Unlimited board), to ensure that the two bodies were aligned.

This week the Minister changed his mind, and made the shock announcement that he is “pushing for the speedy implementation of a new efficient destination marketing model so that the region may benefit from the current window of opportunity created by the Soccer World Cup”, reports Southern African Tourism Update.  Now this sounds like a ludicrous statement as a start – another DMO in the making, when we have one already?   Did we not just host the most amazing World Cup without integration of the two bodies?   What window of opportunity is the Minister referring to?   Why did he not get his act together, and create a united body before the World Cup, when it was needed most?   Accommodation in Cape Town and the Western Cape was not well booked for the World Cup, and the city did not have a single soccer team setting up a base camp in it.

Reading the Southern African Tourism Update article, and having been closely involved with the setting up of the DMO whilst I was Deputy Chairman of Cape Town Tourism, it sounded like deja vu.  The Minister wants to set up a new DMO, with a new “trading name”, responsible for the “marketing of the province, regions and cities within the Western Cape – as well as single tourism brand for the destination.”  This is exactly what Cape Town Routes Unlimited is meant to be, currently having the schizophrenic brand name “Cape Town and Western Cape”, all of which was criticised by the industry when it was launched about 5 years ago!

The new DMO would be solely funded by the Western Cape province, according to the Minister, and all municipalities in the province must contribute to the DMO, including the City of Cape Town, endangering the marketing role which has been allocated to Cape Town Tourism.  Members of Cape Town voted by overwhelming majority to support the acceptance by Cape Town Tourism of the marketing of Cape Town at its AGM two years ago.    Municipalities must present their marketing plans to the new DMO, it is proposed, and define how they will support the marketing activities of the DMO.  The Minister also wants to move the head office of the DMO from Burg Street to the V&A Waterfront, in a building to be called “Tourism HQ”, to be “more visible and accessible to tourists”!   Now this is something I do not understand, given that Cape Town Tourism is responsible for tourism information and accommodation  bookings, via its network of tourism bureaus around the Cape Town metropole, including Somerset West and Strand.  The first problem one saw was when Cape Town Routes Unlimited set up a “Gateway” tourism bureau at the V&A Waterfront, taking the “ownership” of it away from Cape Town Tourism, even though it is staffed by and carries the branding of Cape Town Tourism!

The municipalities were presented the new model by the Minister last week, and they have been given two months to table their response.  It is interesting to see how the new Cape Whale Coast DMO will deal with this news of the Minister, as it set itself up as a marketing agency for the coastal area stretching from Rooi Els to Gansbaai and including Hermanus.  This DMO is already making the fatal error of encouraging the members of the local tourism bureaus to become members of the DMO, in addition to being members of the bureaus.

Winde motivated his new strategy on the basis of “absolute duplication of national, provincial, and municipal marketing resulting in taxpayers’ money being spent three times in the same place”.   He stated that the Cape Town Tourism and Cape Town Routes Unlimited marketing of the city and the province caused confusion, and that the city and province did not have a clearly defined marketing strategy.

Not surprisingly Cape Town Tourism is not happy with the Minister’s announcement, and its Board announced last Friday that it will oppose the Minister’s move.  CEO Mariette du Toit-Helmbold’s words were carefully chosen when she wrote: “Cape Town Tourism has noted the proposal and embarked on a  comprehensive negotiation process with the City of Cape Town and the office of the MEC.   The Board of Cape Town Tourism has indicated that it is not in agreement with the proposal in its current format.”

She continued by stating the support of the City of Cape Town for the marketing role of Cape Town Tourism in marketing the city, exactly what the Minister proposes to change.  She wrote: “Cape Town Tourism is committed to protecting the interests of tourism in Cape Town and finding a workable solution that will most effectively realise the tourism opportunities in the city, whilst eliminating duplication and confusion. Cape Town Tourism has received reassurance from the City of Cape Town that we are and will remain the City’s tourism promotional and marketing body and that Cape Town Tourism’s structure will not change.”

It is disturbing to see that the same tourism marketing issues are being addressed again, and that tourism history is repeating itself, a waste of taxpayers’ funds in itself. It appears that every new provincial Minister of Tourism in the Western Cape sees it as his role to redesign the tourism bodies and their role, much like new Marketing and Brand Managers like to change their marketing strategies and advertising campaigns (and ad agencies at times too), just to make their mark.

This is likely to become another long drawn-out battle between the City and Province about the marketing of our precious brand “Cape Town”!

POSTSCRIPT 26/7:  Cape Town Tourism has sent out another e-mail to its members, reiterating its view about the Minister’s proposal, and has made the document available, inviting comment and input from its members:   “I informed you of the proposed centralised model for tourism marketing that was put forward by the MEC for Tourism and Economic Development, Minister Alan Winde. Cape Town Tourism has indicated to the office of the MEC and the City of Cape Town that the proposed model for a single, provincially centralised tourism destination marketing structure and brand for Cape Town and the Western Cape is patently misguided. If implemented, it will have negative consequences for tourism in Cape Town” , wrote Cape Town Tourism CEO today.

 

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

Beyond World Cup 2010: making SA a winning nation!

A media conference called by Dr Laurine Platzky, Western Cape Deputy Director-General Governance & Integration and 2010 FIFA World Cup Co-ordinator, and the World Future Society of South Africa, on Monday highlighted the way forward for South Africa in the next twenty years.   The positive ethos and energy generated by the World Cup will stand South Africa in good stead to maintain its level of excellence into the future, said the speakers.

Mike Lee, Founder of the World Future Society of South Africa, focused on the legacies of the World Cup.  The Rainbow Nation-building benefit is an “historic bridge”, connecting South Africans. It is a “moment in our destiny”, and paves the path to our country’s future, he said.  He highlighted five priorities for South Africa for the period until 2030 :   1. Improve the country’s ethics and standards   2. An economy growing at 7% per annum, to “meaningfully reduce poverty and unemployment”  3.The education system must be reformed   4. The ecosystem must be rescued   5. The country must undergo an energy revolution, moving away from coal-based energy to renewable and nuclear energy.   “The World Cup has renewed our licence to dream”, Lee said.

Dr Platzky focused on the legacy of the World Cup, and this was the infrastructure improvements, she said, Cape Town Stadium having become an iconic asset of the province.   She admonished local businesses for not having embraced the event well enough in bidding for the manufacture of memorabilia and clothing, rather than letting the contracts go to the Far East.   She said that the construction and hospitality industries had been the biggest winners of the World Cup, and stated that South Africa had been cushioned from the worst ravages of the recession because of hosting the World Cup.   The event has also led to “social cohesion”, creating an exceptional memory for school children, who will remember the event for their rest of their lifetime, and who also had the opportunity to learn about 31 other participating countries in their school projects, and also about other cities and towns in South Africa.   The legacy of the World Cup is also environmental, she said, with 41 “Green Goal” projects focusing on the long-term sustainability environmentally.   These projects will be taken to Brazil for the 2014 World Cup as well. She also mentioned that South Africans should proudly take recognition for their achievements in hosting the World Cup so successfully, rather than sitting back for the international media to tell us so.

Guy Lundy is the CEO of Accelerate Cape Town, and his first observation was the good winter weather during the World Cup – 5 sunny days and only 3 rainy days on match days – proving that Cape Town should not have tourism seasonality.   He also felt that ex-South Africans should no longer have to be apologetic about their country of origin, and should be proudly calling themselves “South Africans living abroad”.   He predicted an increase in wine sales due to the World Cup, and Cape Town’s marketability as a skills outsourcing centre.    He predicted that the World Cup would improve Cape Town’s chances of winning the 2014 World Design Capital bid.   The World Cup must lead to greater job creation, he said, and South Africans must become more positive, in not always waiting for the next disaster.   He said the country had an enormous potential to improve due to the World Cup.

Merle O’Brien is the Deputy President of the World Future Society, and spoke about the World Cup “gees” creating “social cohesion”, in making a collective “we” nation and society of South Africans.   The ethos of South Africans now would be Ubuntu and Ke Nako, the human spirit that will connect locals that are no longer commercially-driven but rather spirit-driven.

In question time, Dr Platzky was challenged about the duplicity of market research which is currently taking place in Cape Town (the Western Cape Province, Cape Town Routes Unlimited, the City of Cape Town, and Cape Town Tourism), all conducting unprofessional informal research and using these results to make media announcements on the basis thereof.  She agreed that the 50 interviews done by her department at the airport last week “was a bit of a joke” (even though the “9/10 rating” became the lead front-page story of the Cape Times).  She confirmed that professional research would be conducted to establish the benefits of the World Cup for Cape Town and the Western Cape.

More details about the World Future Society of South Africa can be found at www.wfs-sa.com.

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