* The French association of travel agents and tour operators has written to the Department of Home Affairs, the Department of Tourism, and the Department of Foreign Affairs, requesting an improvement regarding the new Immigration Regulations regarding children traveling to our country. The association points out that tourism to our country will be harmed, by up to 40% they warn!
* Wesgro, the Tourism, Trade, and Investment promotion agency for the Western Cape, has announced that it is sponsoring the inaugural African Responsible Tourism Awards in conjunction with World Travel Market Africa and the International Centre for Responsible Tourism. The Award winners will be announced during Africa Travel Week on 16 April. (received via media release from Wesgro).
* Cape Town has the most WORLD CLASS bars in South Africa, a total of 19 out of 46. Johannesburg has 15, and Durban 12. Achieving this status reflects their expertly made cocktails and their ‘charismatic mixology stars‘. Their bartenders automatically enter the WORLD CLASS Global Final, to be held in Cape Town later this year. The Cape Town bars include Orphanage, Umi, Asoka, Buena Vista, Bascule, Café Caprice, HQ, One & Only Vista Bar, Tjing Continue reading →
Last night Cape Town Tourism held what many say is the best AGM ever, with a dynamic and funny keynote speaker Vusi Thembekwayo, and a very entertaining Anton Groenewald from the City of Cape Town Tourism, Events, and Marketing Directorate, being the highlight of the event held at the Tsogo Sun Cape Sun, which celebrated the 10th anniversary of Cape Town Tourism since its re-invention in 2004.
I arrived late, returning from Franschhoek, as Groenewald was speaking. He kindly gave me his notes, for use for writing this blogpost. His Mayoral Committee member for Tourism, Events, and Marketing, Councillor Garreth Bloor, was present, and many a joke was at his expense. Groenewald started his talk by reflecting on the past three years in which he has headed up the Tourism Directorate of the City, and has spent R1,5 billion. He confirmed the three-year agreement signed with Cape Town Tourism, which came with a promise of R120 million over the next three years. Reflecting on the successes of the past year, Groenewald presented its highlights as being World Travel Market Africa, a collaboration with Thebe Reed, which attracted 4500 trade visitors and 220 media, and for which the city has signed for another two Continue reading →
* Distell has created a wine marketing subsidiary in the UK, called Distell Vineyards & Estates, which is also marketing its wines in Germany, Holland, and Finland. UK sales are £ 32 million. CEO Carina Gouws emphasised the importance of the UK market: ‘The UK remains the most important market globally in terms of positioning premium brands. Wines that perform well in there are noticed by the rest of the world’. The company is planning to aggressively increase its market share four fold, focusing more on independent retailers and the on-trade in the UK.
* A review of the MyCiTi Bus performance has shown that the service surpassed its target by over 2 million ‘passenger journeys‘, reaching 7,4 million in the past financial year. The recent introduction of the N2 Express to Khayelitsha and Mitchells Plain has boosted the passenger numbers to over 1 million per month. Changes to be made to routes include culling the Waterfront Silo extension from the Civic Centre on the Camps Bay route (which we criticised from the outset when launched a year ago). Route 113 along Ocean View Drive from Three Anchor Bay to Fresnaye will be cancelled on 6 October, due to low demand. One wonders why market research was not conducted to check demand for the service.
* The Pinot Noir producers in the Hemel-en-Aarde Valley are hosting their second Hemel-en-Aarde Pinot Noir Celebration at Bona Dea Estate on 30 and 31 January, with only 150 tickets available for the event. The key-note dinner speaker will be Norman Hardie, regarded as Canada’s best Pinot Noir producer. (received via e-mail from Hamilton Russell Vineyards)
* South Africa has the lowest transport costs compared to 50 other countries, according to GoEuro’s Transportation Price Index. For air travel our country ranked third cheapest, while our costs of train travel ranked cheapest of all countries.
* The Tourism Business Council of South Africa has welcomed the appointment of new Minister of Tourism Derek Hanekom, and has thanked the former Tourism Minister Marthinus van Schalkwyk for his contribution to growing the Tourism industry in his ten year tenure. Minister Hanekom previously served as Minister of Agriculture and Land Affairs, and most recently as Minister of Science and Technology. (received via media release from the Tourism Business Council of South Africa)
* South Africa is against an Africa Tourism Tax, the Ministry of Tourism has stated, deeming it to be an ‘unworkable plan’. Taxes are country-specific and cannot be levied across the continent, the department said. Last week the African Union called for a tourism levy on flights and accommodation, which has also been opposed by the United Nations World Tourism Organisation. IATA has added its voice, saying that the proposed taxes would make travel within Africa even more expensive.
* SA Tourism has admitted that the number of visitors to Indaba earlier this month had declined Continue reading →
On Thursday evening my friend Bettie Coetzee-Lambrecht and I attended Fine Brandy Fusion at the Cape Town International Convention Centre, having been invited by Manley Communications. Fine Brandy Fusion is a fine showcase for the local brandy industry, the Bisquit cognac with South African links being our highlight.
At the registration desk we received a goody bag, and a booklet of coupons, to allow us to taste brandy cocktails and taste some of the 50 fine brandies neat. Immediately on entering we passed a smallish restaurant, catered by the Convention Centre kitchen. The food quality of the Convention Centre has been poor at every exhibition attended in the past, but picked up when its new Chef Warwick Thomas arrived a year ago, reaching a new low at World Travel Market Africa last month. I was immediately sceptical, but the food options which were displayed in a refrigerated unit looked better (just from the plating) than I have ever seen there before. We received two food coupons each, which Bettie used for linefish and I ordered tasty calamari rings, Bettie saying that it would be important to line our tummies for the brandy tasting to come. We both ordered a cheese platter as well. The service was excellent and professional, and the prices very reasonable at about R50 each. We felt severely under-dressed when a fashionista wearing fur and her partner shared our table! Continue reading →
In a unique definition of ‘mobile marketing‘, Cape Town Tourism has invested in a Mercedes Benz panel van to become a truly mobile Visitors Information Centre, which travels to events, parks at Cape Town’s major attractions, and generally will be visible and available at the popular places where the tourists are in the city. The new vehicle is called Thando, being the isiXhosa name for love, and was launched at World Travel Market Africa last month as the first mobile Visitor Information Centre in Africa.
Cape Town Tourism CEO Enver Duminy said of the new mobile tourist information service: ‘We have tracked a rising trend of visitors and would-be visitors using our online portals to access information about Cape Town. It is this call for mobility and ease of access that has inspired our move to create a personal interface that will be able to assist Capetonians and visitors at gatherings or in spaces where there is sudden seasonal traffic’.
The mobile Visitor Information Centre allows bookings to be made for Cape Town Tourism member products and services, and for SANParks properties. Via Computicket and Webtickets one can buy tickets for shows, events, and bus transport. Free wifi is available, and crates covered with colourful African print material offer seating outside the panel van. A TV screen allows tourists to learn more about Cape Town, and is supported with Cape Town Tourism Visitors’ Guides, and brochures of some members’ products and services. Continue reading →
Durban and Cape Town have had a gentle rivalry when it comes to attracting tourists, which has never been overtly competitive and has been largely collegial, with a joint campaign on National Geographic to market the two cities, to save marketing monies. Now the relationship appears to have reached rock-bottom, with an angry Durban Tourism attack on Cape Town for its alleged ‘ambush marketing‘ of Indaba 2014, the tourism expo held in Durban, which drew to a close on Monday.
In the past other South African cities, but Durban in particular, have been annoyed that Cape Town attracts the bulk of international tourists, and that this is reflected by SA Tourism, in that it proudly features Table Mountain in much of its tourism communication, being a national icon for our country. SA Tourism and Durban were irked that World Travel Market Africa was held in Cape Town a mere week before the start of Indaba, funded in part by the City of Cape Town, and attracting a fair number of exhibitors and visitors, and receiving praise for the event. SA Tourism made a point of confirming that it would only support Indaba, there not being enough capacity for two tourism trade shows in our country, in its opinion.
Philip Sithole, head of Durban Tourism, appears to be paranoid about Cape Town, complaining to Southern African Tourism Continue reading →
* The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has seen only a minimal improvement in the growth in revenue passenger kilometers of 5,6% in the first quarter of this year, compared to 5,2 % for the same quarter in 2013. Global passenger growth in March 2014 was half that in February. Most regions showed minimal growth in March compared to February, with the exception of the Middle East, which had a 10% passenger growth and Latin America a 4,7% passenger growth in March relative to February. Africa was the only region with an outright passenger decline (2,6%), and South Africa’s passenger decline is said to be to blame due to poor economic conditions in our country.
* TripAdvisor is negotiating to buy lafourchette, an European restaurant booking platform representing 12000 restaurants in France, Switzerland, and Spain. At the World Travel Market Africa Conference held in Cape Town last week the audience was told that TripAdvisor would strongly focus on restaurants, this purchase being a reflection of the planned restaurant drive.
* De Grendel Merlot 2011 has won a Gold and its Shiraz 2012 a Silver Award at the SAKURA Awards held in Tokyo. Entries were received from 33 countries, and 1900 wines were evaluated on a 100 point scoring system. Continue reading →