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WESTERN CAPE VISITORS SUPPORT PROVINCE

Recent research commissioned by Cape Town Routes Unlimited and conducted in December and January, has provided an interesting marketing insight, namely that a greater number of visitors to Cape Town and other areas in the Western Cape are from the Western Cape. Traditionally hospitality industry marketers have seen the Gauteng market of Johannesburgers in particular as being the largest local source of business.

Whilst some of the research analyses leave much to be desired, the survey highlights the predominance of the UK market, following in second place. Gauteng is in third place, followed by Germany. More than half of all visitors to the region were South Africans.

The average spend per trip by the UK and Germans visitors was more than double that of their South African counterparts. The spend was mainly on accommodation, followed by food. The duration of the visit by visitors from the UK and Germany was double that of the domestic market, at eight nights on average for the latter. Locals tend to stay with relatives or friends, while the UK and Germans visitors almost equally stayed at guest houses/B&B's, at hotels, and with friends and relatives.

The Western Cape was judged by the majority of visitors to be less expensive than "other countries", but was equally seen to be on a par or more expensive than other provinces in South Africa.

The survey found that the welcome tourists received was the province's strongest tourism attribute, followed by the quality of its accommodation and customer service. The friendliness of locals, the scenery, the weather and beaches were liked. The least liked aspect of the region was the wind! The south easter winds have been particularly heavy this past summer, with windspeeds of up to 137 km/hr, and an average of 100 km/hr, measured in Camps Bay since December.



2010 SOCCER STADIUM SHOWDOWN!

The choice of Green Point stadium as the official FIFA World Soccer Cup stadium for Cape Town has kicked off a major controversy.

Whilst the choice should spell good news for the Atlantic Seaboard hospitality industry, the V & A Waterfront, and even the city centre businesses, many community groups are expressing their anger over the choice of venue, mainly because the proposed stadium development can threaten the long-existing Metropolitan Golf Club across the road from the stadium. Two options are being mooted for the development: the current stadium should be demolished and a new one built on the same site, or a new one will be built, partially on the golf course site, the lease of which terminates in 2009. The golf course is over a hundred years old. The latter option will give spectators a spectacular view onto Table Mountain.

It would appear that Athlone Stadium will be used for some first round matches, practice sessions and friendlies, and renovations to this stadium are continuing, at a price tag of R 165 million, according to the Cape Argus, to expand its capacity to 30 000 seats, while Newlands stadium could be used for quarter finals if it were upgraded.

The soccer stadium issue has reached the mayoral office as well. Newly elected Mayor Helen Zille placed a moratorium on any decision-making regarding the re-development of the stadium, as more than R 1 billion would be required to build the stadium, in excess of Cape Town's capital expenditure budget for 2006. Her decision was based on the spending priority of providing services to the poorer communities of Cape Town and she feels that the city cannot afford such an expenditure. She has been criticised by the Premier of the province as being uninformed and overhasty. Controversial trade union federation COSATU has surprisingly backed the Mayor's decision, on the rather questionable basis that "The poor can't continue subsiding the rich in Cape Town", reports the Cape Times. The trade union federation wants the stadium to be in the Cape Flats or township area, and has threatened strike action if its demands are not met. 'The Regional Director of the Department of Water Affairs has also welcomed the moratorium, and has called for an analysis of the area's capacity to deal with water and sewerage requirements.

The Green Point stadium, to be renamed the African Renaissance Stadium, has to be completed by 2008, according to the FIFA deadline. It is to cost R 1,2 billion to build the 68 000 seater stadium, and a further R 80 million to add a retractable roof. The winning bids for the contractors for the project are due to be announced this week.

The Cape Town Regional Chamber of Commerce and Industry has called for the use of a blueprint design of an already existing soccer stadium elsewhere in the world, according to the Cape Argus. The Chamber is also calling for a completion of the "unfinished" highway close to the Waterfront, to alleviate the anticipated traffic congestion.

More than 300 000 international visitors are expected to visit South Africa for the Soccer World Cup. Of these, 50 000 are expected to be based in Cape Town and the winelands areas for close to a month. In additional, a further 100 000 visitors from Africa are expected, reports the Cape Argus.

Soccer star Gary Bailey has urged South African businesses to capitalise on the vast opportunity the World Cup can hold for them, estimated to contribute R 21,3 billion to the country's GDP, reports the Cape Argus.

Local residents and businesses have been surprised at some of the FIFA demands made on South African cities in which matches will be played. According to the Cape Argus, these include having sufficient back-up power to prevent power failures; no building construction may occur in a city/town at the time of the World Cup; no advertising billboards within a 1 km radius of a World Cup soccer stadium or on major routes may feature advertising of any brand other than FIFA aligned brands up to six months prior to the start of the soccer showcase; free office space and communication services for FIFA officials must be made available; special traffic lanes for FIFA delegates and participating teams have to be assigned; and Budweiser, being one of the official sponsor brands, is the only beer to be served.

Coca Cola has signed a 16-year sponsorship agreement with FIFA, according to the Cape Argus, and in 2010 its sponsorship will include making discounted tickets available to disadvantaged communities.

The police dog unit is set to be doubled in preparation for 2010, and it has already put out calls to the public for suitable dogs to be made available for training.

Teral Cullen is a young thirty-something who has been appointed as director of the event in Cape Town. She has five years' experience as director of marketing for the S A Football Association. Cullen and Cape Town Routes Unlimited are to form part of a team that will unveil South Africa's logo for the 2010 World Cup event in Germany, when the 2006 event kicks off in two months' time.

The World Cup tournament will also impact on the Garden Route, with the national roads agency announcing that the N2 bypass around Knysna will be completed in time for the 2010 event. The municipality and residents of Knysna have long resisted the bypass, but traffic congestion has made this a necessity. Extensive upgrades to the N2 on the Garden Route have been in place for the last few months, and will help facilitate a better traffic flow once completed.

The South African Bafana Bafana soccer team is in dire straits, and has not qualified to participate in Germany later this year, and has lost a coach almost every year in the past 13 years, says Business Report. The team is currently ranked 48th, above Ghana, Togo and Angola, all of which have qualified for World Cup 2006.

At a celebration of the fifth anniversary of the Tourism Grading Council, Marthinus van Schalkwyk, Minister of Environmental Affairs and Tourism, stated that the country currently is up to 200 000 beds short for the 2010 event, reports the Cape Times.



WHALE COTTAGE FRANSCHHOEK NOVEL CELEBRATION

Shaun Johnson, head of the Mandela Rhodes Foundation and previous head of Independent Newspapers, recently celebrated the arrival of the first copy of his new book, hot off the press, at Whale Cottage Franschhoek. His first novel, "The Native Commissioner", has already reached the bestseller list in less than two months.


CAPE TOWN TOURISM DUPLICATES

When the idea for a Destination Marketing Organisation was first mooted for the Western Cape, one of the strongest justifications was that it would put to an end the duplication in marketing efforts by the then Western Cape Tourism Board and the then Cape Town Tourism.

It would appear that the duplication is about to start again, as Cape Town Tourism has sent its members information about a trade directory it wishes to publish about its members for Indaba 2006. Cape Town Tourism already has a Visitor's Guide publication, which its advertisers would hope will be distributed at Indaba, South Africa's premier tourism trade show, held in Durban every year. Cape Town Routes Unlimited, the statutory body that was re-created from the Western Cape Tourism Board, also publishes an official trade directory, for which advertising also currently is being sold.

A very long-winded and bureaucratic response, made up of stick-and-paste sections of the Service Level Agreement between Cape Town Tourism and Cape Town Routes Unlimited, and Cape Town Tourism Member's Handbook, was received from Cape Town Tourism when the apparent duplication was questioned. Whilst the Cape Town Tourism GM agreed ("your points are 100% valid..."), she justifies her publication on the basis of an "extensive survey" conducted amongst members, expressing the need for such a publication. Not all members appear to have been polled. Cape Town Routes Unlimited did not reply to the request for comment.



PENGUINS MARCH HOME!

An innovative marketing programme by Dyer Island Cruises is to sell nesting houses on Dyer Island. The island has more than 6 000 African penguins, of which one third are breeding pairs. The removal of guano from the island, off Gansbaai, the town best known for shark-cage diving, over the years has resulted in a problem for the penguins in being unable to burrow a protected nest. The cruise company and Cape Nature have come to the rescue of the penguins, and are selling 2 000 sponsored artificial nest penguin houses at R 350 each.


AFRIKA! AFRIKA!

The circus show Afrika! Afrika!, touring Germany, Switzerland and Austria for the next two years, is being used as a marketing tool by S A Tourism's Frankfurt office and by SAA to market South Africa, as reported in the January issue of WhaleTales.

In one of the March issues of Bunte, one of Germany's most popular magazines, the show is advertised in a stick-in booklet, and carries advertising by Amarula, SAA (including a photograph of Camps Bay beach) and Kaufhof, one of the largest departmental chain stores, which featured South African foods and wines in its stores during March. The photographs for the Kaufhof ad feature Table Mountain, and food presented on Carol Boyes' spoons.



HERMANUS WHALE CRIER HANGS UP HIS HORN

One of the most familiar sights in Hermanus is the Whale Crier, who blows his horn made from kelp whenever he spots a whale in Walker Bay, thereby alerting locals and tourists of a whale sighting. Hermanus is the only town in the world to have a Whale Crier.

Wilson Salukazana, the town's Whale Crier for the last eight years, is retiring, and his post has been advertised in the local newspaper. The highlight of his career was his participation in a town criers' competition in Chester in the UK.



PORTFOLIO PINCH

Advertisers in the new Portfolio Bed and Breakfast Collection 2006/2007 publication will not have to pay an increase in advertising rates for the first time in the approximately 15 years of the publication's existence.

While Portfolio justifies the rate freeze on being "...mindful that the past year has been a mixed bag by all accounts, some months up, some months down, some areas up, others down", Portfolio may in fact be feeling the pinch of its past policy of healthy advertising increases of around 20 %, even when the inflation rate was less than half this level, and its dictatorial and unsupportive relationship with its advertisers. The Portfolio Collection publications have steadily lost advertisers in the past years. The past season by all accounts has been a good one, and not as described by Portfolio in its justification at all!

Portfolio annually sets criteria for its advertisers to adhere to, and the latest list for the Bed and Breakfast publication contains a few oddities: the "maximum acceptable" number of rooms for a Guest House/B & B is 8 rooms, breakfast must be served, and an ..."establishment (is) to reflect a spirit of hospitality and acceptance of all cultures and creeds"! Portfolio previously set the room limit at 5 rooms, but when it introduced its booking website about five years ago, it dropped this restriction. It obviously is looking to force the larger establishments into its Retreat's publication, at a far higher advertising cost. Portfolio also expects parking to be secure - if it is on-street, a security guard has to be appointed. Telephonists and receptionists should be English-speaking! All communication about reservations must state the presence of children, stairs, traffic noise, and building activity in the neighbourhood. Breakfasts have to consist of a full cooked as well as an extensive Continental breakfast. Indoor smoking by guests is to be discouraged.


WhaleTales is a newsletter issued by the Whale Cottage Guest House Portfolio
and is edited by Chris von Ulmenstein. Past issues of WhaleTales can be read on the website
www.whalecottage.com



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