December 2001
SOUTH AFRICA CHEAPEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD

South Africa has just become the cheapest country in the world, as measured on the Big Mac index, an unofficial global barometer that uses the price of McDonald's products to measure the purchasing power of currencies around the world.

The fall in the Rand means that South Africa is the first country in the world in which a Big Mac costs less than $1.

Cape Town was recently nominated as the Best Value for Money Destination in the world by the distinguished Conde Nast Traveller.

Given the current fall of the Rand against other currencies, South Africa is set to experience a major international tourism boom.

CAPE TOWN TOURISM OPENS IN V & A WATERFRONT

The new Cape Town Tourism Waterfront Visitor Information Center has opened in the newly opened Clocktower Precinct in the V & A Waterfront in Cape Town.

Flanked by the new Nelson Mandela Gateway to Robben Island , and the new BOE corporate head office, the Cape Town Tourism Waterfront Visitor Information Center projects the same modern and stylish interior, and the same friendly and efficient service to visitors to Cape Town, as its sister branch in the Cape Town city center.

The Clocktower Precinct gets its name from the distinctive red Clocktower, a national monument dating back to 1882, which served then as the Port Captain's headquarters.

The Cape Town Tourism Waterfront Visitor Information Centre is a dream come true for Cape Town Tourism, which believed that a visitor information center in Africa's most popular tourist destination would suit tourists' needs the best. The result is a unique partnership between the V & A Waterfront and Cape Town Tourism, offering a one-stop tourist information and reservation service for flights, accommodation, tours, car hire, vaccinations, visa applications, souvenirs, and foreign exchange. More than 20 million tourists visit the V & A Waterfront per year.

The Robben Island ferries will now launch from the Nelson Mandela Gateway to Robben Island, which also houses the new Robben Island Museum.

A welcome addition to the city's range of cuisine options is the Paulaner Brauhaus, serving typical Bavarian specialities with Waterfront-brewed Paulaner draught and weissbier. Other restaurants which have just opened in the Clocktower Precinct are Docks (sister restaurant to Blues in Camps Bay) and the well-known Emily's, previously located in Woodstock, serving traditional South African cuisine.

During construction of the BOE building some of the oldest archeological remains in South Africa were discovered, and these have been incorporated as a feature of the new building. The Chavonne Battery is the second oldest military structure to have been built in Cape Town after the colonisation of the Cape by the Dutch East India Company.

TUI LAUNCHES TRAVEL CATALOGUE IN CAPE TOWN

TUI, one of Germany's leading tourism wholesalers, with close on 4000 travel agencies, 75 tour operators, 88 aircraft and 270 hotels, recently launched its 2002 summer travel catalogue in Cape Town, the first time this company has done so outside Germany.

The TUI launch was attended by 22 TUI staff as well as 120 German journalists. The launch could lead to a significantly greater number of Germans visitors to South Africa in the next few years.

South Africa is seen to be a trend destination in Germany, and has achieved a 15 % increase in visitors from Germany in 2001.

SOUTH AFRICA TAKEN FOR A RIDE IN THE U.K.!

South African Tourism has signed a new contract with 80 British cab drivers to sport the South African flag, as well as the South African Tourism website address, on their vehicles.
The cab drivers, from London, Manchester and Birmingham, were flown to South Africa for a first hand experience of the country. They all carry South African information brochures in their cabs, and are able to assist their passengers with information about South Africa.

HERMANUS HAS A WHALE OF A VISITOR POPULATION

More than 160 whales were recorded in the greater Hermanus area this year, up from the 110 recorded in 2000.

Whale watching has enhanced the revenue of the town, which has become internationally known to offer the best land-based whale watching in the world, to R 5 million per month in peak whale watching season, up from R 4 million per month last year.

CAPE TOWN IN THE MOVIES

Cape Town has regained its flavour of the season status as a favoured location for movie, music video and advertising productions, following a short slump after the American tragedy in September.

Cape Town is regarded as one of the friendliest cities in which to do productions, and also is attractive because it can double up for a diversity of international cities. The film industry represents a direct and indirect income to Cape Town of R 2 billion per year.

The Piano Player, starring Dennis Hopper and Christopher Lambert, is currently being filmed in Cape Town.

The Good Hope Centre is being considered as a permanent film studio, the lack of such a facility currently being a weakness for the city's film industry.

UNITED WE BRAND!

The Cape Town Unicity local authority and the Western Cape provincial government have jointly commissioned a multi-million Rand study to find a common brand name and corporate identity for a unification of the city and provincial tourism, export and trade, investment, film, and events sectors, it was announced at a summit in Cape Town last week.

The Joint Marketing Initiative (JMI) between the city and province is designed to eliminate duplication and fragmentation within and between these sectors, all having the marketing of the city and province in common.

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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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