August 2002
Sterling summer season expected

Cape Town and the Western Cape can expect another bumper tourism season, with many accommodation establishments already fully booked for the Christmas and New Year period.

The very wet summer experienced in Europe, with widespread flooding in Germany and Austria, and one of the wettest summers ever in the United Kingdom, combined with the very favourable exchange rate, makes South Africa, and Cape Town and the Western Cape in particular, a desirable summer destination.

The number of Germans tourists to South Africa is not expected to increase this season, as Germans are postponing or curtailing their expenditure on travel, big ticket items and even basic consumer goods, as a result of the price increases they have experienced since the introduction of the Euro in January this year.

The Cricket World Cup, which takes place in cities around South Africa from 8 February until early March 2003, is expected to severely stretch accommodation resources during the already popular tourism period for Cape Town. Already almost half the tickets for the 54 matches to be played by 14 international cricket teams have been sold. A total of 850 000 cricket spectators can be hosted during the tournament. An international television audience of 1,25 billion is projected to watch the World Cup Cricket broadcasts. More than 2000 journalists from all over the world will cover the event. Tickets for the World Cup Cricket games can be purchased via www.cricketworldcup.com

Shopping for Africa

Retail tourism is a new source of revenue for South Africa, benefiting Johannesburg in particular. More than 4,2 million tourists to South Africa are from Africa, according to South African Tourism statistics.

Visitors from neighbouring African countries, particularly Lesotho, Swaziland, Botswana, Zimbabwe and Mozambique, visit casinos, theme parks and shopping centres on their weekend visits. Dubbed the New York of Africa, Johannesburg is seen to be the gateway to Africa.

While their average time spent in the country is shorter than that of German and British tourists, they tend to return more regularly. They also tend to outspend tourists from these two countries on their visits to South Africa, at R 1143 on average per day, mainly on shopping, gifts and entertainment. South Africa's value-for-money is also appreciated by tourists from African countries, and they delight in the one-stop shopping which the shopping malls in South African cities offer them.

Johannesburg has been rated as the world's cheapest city, according to a global lifestyle survey conducted by Mercer Human Resource Consulting. Measuring the comparative cost of more than 200 items such as housing, food, clothing, transport and entertainment in 144 cities around the world, and placing New York at the base of 100 points, Johannesburg's comparative costs were calculated at 34,4. Hong Kong, Moscow and Tokyo were calculated to be the most expensive cities in the world.

Germans most popular tourists

A survey conducted by online travel agency Expedia has ranked German tourists tops on their behaviour and efforts to speak the language of the country they are travelling in, and therefore they are the most welcomed tourists of all nations globally.

By contrast, British tourists were ranked at the bottom of the list, for being the worst behaved and the rudest, for not making an effort to speak the local language of the country they are visiting, and for being poor tippers, according to the survey.

American tourists ranked highest of all tourist nations on politeness when travelling internationally.

Cape Town calls the shots

Cape Town's media coverage popularity keeps growing.

The BBC will be broadcasting two programmes on Cape Town. "Holiday - You call the shots" will be featuring Cape Town, in one of an eight part series, for 30 minutes on 16 September. Viewers' recommendations received telephonically and from their website guide the BBC production team. A similar series last year attracted more than 8 million British viewers.

The BBC is also including Cape Town in a programme called "50 Places to See Before you Die". More than 25 000 viewers provided recommendations for the programme. The exact ranking of South Africa on the Top 50 list will only be announced in the hour long programme.

Cape Town Care Route launched

A new tourism route is to be launched by Cape Town Tourism, the City of Cape Town and Open Africa, to co-incide with the World Summit on Sustainable Tourism, which takes place in Johannesburg at the end of this month.

Based on the principle of and growing requirement from international visitors for tourism to be environmentally and socially responsible and to not negatively impact on local communities, the Cape Care Route will enable tourists to experience first hand how some communities build their own homes, grow food and transform waste materials into art. Projects which protect ecological systems are also included in the Route.

The Lwandle Migrant Labour Museum, Golden Flowers, Spier Wine Estate and Oude Molen Village are some of the projects included in the Cape Care Route.

Winging it to South Africa

South African Airways has announced that it has postponed its flights to Copenhagen, which were scheduled to have commenced in October.

British Airways has announced that it will be adding three flights per week between London and Cape Town, to grow to ten the number of flights between the cities between October and March. This allows a total of 4000 UK visitors to arrive in Cape Town every week.

Virgin Atlantic Airways will reinstate its flights between Cape Town and London in November, and will be offering five flights a week.

Cape Town plans public transport

An extensive public transportation system, incorporating buses, minibus taxis and metered taxis, with Cape Metropole branding, is to be introduced in Cape Town from January 2003. The route will link the V & A Waterfront, the city centre and lower Gardens area, and is to operate 18 hours a day, seven days a week.

A Whale of a Weekend in the Waterfront !

The whales have returned to the whale watching coastal areas of South Africa, and Cape Town Tourism is celebrating this wonderful asset with a WHALE OF A WEEKEND Whale promotion at the Clocktower Precinct in the V & A Waterfront from 23 - 25 August.

Whale tourism players from Cape Town, Hermanus, the Garden Route and West Coast will represent the best of the products on the Whale Route, which stretches around the South African coast on the Indian Ocean from Durban, right around to the Atlantic Ocean alongside the Cape West Coast.

Whale tourism is gaining greater attention, as is the concern for the preservation of whales. American research has shown that boat-based whale watching creates noise which makes it harder for certain whale species to use underwater sound waves to find food, thereby driving them closer to extinction.

The South African Navy has agreed to stop shooting exercises and underwater explosions during the peak whale season, to allow the southern right whales visiting South Africa's coastal waters to calve and mate in peace.

Cape Cycle Conference

Cape Town has won the bid to host the 2006 Velo Mondial cycle conference, which takes place every six years. More than 600 delegates are expected to attend the conference, to be held just prior to the 2006 Argus/Pick 'n Pay Cycle Tour, the largest cycling event in the world.

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WhaleTales is a newsletter issued by the Whale Cottage Guest House Portfolio and is edited by Chris von Ulmenstein.
Christiane von Ulmenstein
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