Entries tagged with “world-class”.


About three weeks ago I visited Franschhoek for the day, and saw an amazing collection of brand new SA gin brands at Siegies on Huguenot, all being striking in being unknown to me, and each having very distinctive packaging. Autograph Gin was one of these, and it was one of the brands which I photographed and posted on Instagram and Facebook. On Monday I ‘met’ the brand and its Master Distiller Matt Beech, at the Autograph Distillery in Stellenbosch, a goosebump experience, the second of my day!  (more…)

imageTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*. Sun International has won the bid to run the Blue Train on behalf of Transnet, the two hospitality services sharing similar guest profiles. More trains and new routes are planned.

*   The occupancy of Cape Town hotels has declined by 6%, it was said at the Hospitality Investment Conference Africa 2015.  The decline in tourists (more…)

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*.  Ad agency J.Walter Thompson subsidiary Innovation Group has identified trends in the beverage industry. Consumers are supporting trends to regional and seasonal foods and beverages. In the USA cocktails have added Kobe beef fat and cheese liquor, for example, demonstrating that consumers are willing to experiment more. ‘Hybrid drinks’ are on trend too, wines being aged in whisky barrels, and a ‘Bourbon-infused (more…)

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*   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…)

World Class AnnaThe WORLD CLASS Bartender of the Year Global Finals is currently underway in Cape Town, bringing the world’s top Bartenders and Mixologist professionals to our city. It is the largest and most prestigious global Mixology event.

The largest number of female Bartender Finalists is competing for the title of the WORLD CLASS Bartender of the Year competition, six of the 55 finalists from fifty countries being women, and having won the national best bartender title in their respective countries. The female finalists are Anna Walsh from Dublin, Ireland; Fernanda Tejada of Mexico City; Tess Posthumus from the Netherlands (left); (more…)

imageIn my quest for finding the near-perfect restaurant in KwaZulu-Natal, Harvey’s Restaurant close to the Oyster Box in Umhlanga was recommended.  It was a massive disappointment in all respects, with an absent owner Chef Andrew Draper, and very expensive.

On Monday evening I was dropped off at the restaurant by the hotel’s limo service, not having made a reservation. The driver went in with me to check if there would be space, and it was no problem, only four tables in total being occupied in the time that I (more…)

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*   Despite the Rand reaching its lowest level ever to the Pound, at just over R20, and weakening further against the Dollar, no positive impact of the exchange rate is visible in terms of tourism enquiries from the UK and the USA!

*   SA Tourism CEO Thulani Nzimi has advised the tourism industry (more…)

WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*   The 2015 Global Finals of Diageo Reserve’s World Class Best Mixologist competition will be held in Cape Town next September, it has been announced in London, where the 2014 Global Finals have just ended, with 48 competitors.  Mayor Patricia de Lille expressed her delight at the announcement: ‘As the City of Cape Town we welcome the Global Finals as another addition to our events calendar as part of our efforts to secure Cape Town as the events capital of Africa. The Global Finals have been hosted by many major cities in the world and Cape Town is proud to be ranked among the best in the world. We look forward to hosting the many dynamic talents that will take part in the event’. Councillor Garreth Bloor, Mayoral Committee Member for Tourism, Events, and Marketing, accepted the announcement in London on behalf of Cape Town. Matteo Fantacchiotti,  Global Vice President Commercial of Diageo Reserve, said about the 2015 city choice: ‘WORLD CLASS™ is all about anticipating trends, being at the forefront of fine drinking culture and always looking for new and exciting innovations in our industry.  These are the key criteria we look at when we select the location of the Global Finals. Africa ticks all these boxes and more; it is a booming and ever-changing continent and we see it as a new frontier with huge potential.  When we bring the WORLD CLASS™ global final to a location, it has the ability to fundamentally step change the fine drinking scene and we strongly believe this will be the case in 2015‘. (received via media release from Communication Services Africa)

*   The most hard-hitting criticism we have read about the new Immigration Regulations is an editorial from (more…)

WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*   More than 7000 film permits were issued in 2013, demonstrating Cape Town’s popularity as a film destination. New City of Cape Town Mayoral Committee member for Tourism, Events, and Marketing Garreth Bloor says that the film industry contributes R 5 billion to our economy, and created 35000 jobs in the past three years.  The fourth season of the American TV series ‘Homeland‘ is being filmed in Cape Town at the moment, while Sean Penn’s ‘The Last Face’ will be filmed in the next few months, starring Charlize Theron and Javier Bardem.  In the past year 11500 locations and 12000 shooting sites were booked.  Some of the most popular locations for filming are the City’s Darling Street bank building, Artscape Theatre, and the Cape Town International Convention Centre.

*   Brent Perremore from Orphanage Cocktail Emporium has won the Diageo Reserve 2014 World Class National Final as best mixologist in South Africa, held at The Marly in Camps Bay yesterday. He will represent South Africa in the International Championships in Scotland.  Haroon Haffajee of Harry’s Bar in Durban came second and Marson Strydom of Buena Vista Social Café came third.

*   Fleur du Cap achieved good scores in the Tim Atkin 2014 South African Wine Report, released on (more…)

Given the near drought of UK accommodation bookings for the coming summer season, it is gratifying to see an above average number of bookings from German tourists.  A recent visit to South Africa, and to Cape Town specifically, of a group of German travel agents should see an even greater number of German tourists.

The 2010 Soccer World Cup led to the immediate benefit of German bookings, given the outstanding coverage our city and country received on each of the days that a German team played during the World Cup.  German TV station ZDF, using our ex-Miss South Africa Jo-Ann Strauss as its presenter, and directed by local resident Dagmar Schumacher, broadcast from a number of destinations around the country for an hour prior to each match.

Last week a group of 55 travel agents from Meier’s Weltreisen, a tourism company specialising in long-distance package tours for Germans and Austrians, including the rental of cars and campervans, as well as offering tailor-made tours, visited South Africa, and spent time in Cape Town too.   Meier’s Welreisen is one of the largest German tour operators, and is celebrating its 30th year of operation this year.

“Germany is a key and crucial tourism market for South Africa, and we invest significantly in encouraging Germans to visit here. While our arrivals from the country are already posting a strong recovery, more than 17.5% increase recorded for the first five months of 2011, we also recognise the need to continue strengthening trade relations as an avenue to long term sustainable growth”, said Fiona Buchner, Regional Director: Europe, of SA Tourism.

The itinerary of the Meier’s Weltreisen group visit, organised in conjunction with SA Tourism, SAA and Private Safaris, included Johannesburg, Sun City, the Garden Route, the Eastern Cape, Madikwe Game Reserve, and the Western Cape.  Buchner said that over and above showing the agents the tourist sites, they also wanted to show them the ‘welcoming people and enriching experiences‘ of the country, being the ‘typical encounter that the German traveller sees’. Meier’s Weltreisen Director of the Africa Division, Martina Beeken, said: “South Africa is one of our most important partners in terms of long-haul travel and we look forward to fully experiencing the fascinating cultural mix; warm, friendly and welcoming people and the beautiful scenery that South Africa offers.  South Africa is a world-class tourism destination with an outstanding hospitality offering of which service, accessibility, and value for money are the foundation”. Fantastic praise indeed!

In Cape Town the group was spoilt with a welcome dinner at which Cape Minstrels performed, an Amazing Race-style event through the V&A Waterfront, ‘champagne and oysters’ (one would hope that it was good Winelands MCC!) at Cape Point, and a transfer to the Winelands in vintage cars, reports The Event.

The Whale Cottage Portfolio has seen a marked increase in bookings from German guests, some being return visitors, and others booking at Whale Cottage Hermanus in particular, to see the whales, guests seeing listings about the guest house in a number of German travel guides.

It is surprising and disappointing that Cape Town Tourism and Cape Town Routes Unlimited appeared to not have been involved in the visit by the Meier’s Weltreisen travel agents, in that no welcome was accorded the group via Twitter or media presence!

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