FEBRUARY 2010

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Whale Cottage is excited about the benefits of Social Media Marketing, and experienced a six-fold increase in traffic to its website www.whalecottage.com during 2009. A mix of Blogging, Facebook, newsletters and Twitter have contributed to the rapid increase in web traffic, with a record monthly traffic of 30 000 unique visitors last month having been achieved. Read how we achieved this success. We are sharing our love for and knowledge of Social Media Marketing with restaurant and accommodation owners through informal workshops and welcome you to join us – e-mail us at info@whalecottage.com.
 
“Competitive co-operation” is what the guest houses in Camps Bay call their relationship. The Camps Bay Accommodation association members work together in passing on referrals to each other, and in assisting each other with advice. The association has a website www.campsbayinfo.com, which markets Camps Bay in general, and the members’ accommodation. We were excited to recently have been featured as a case study on the American Hotel Marketing Strategies website.

 

February is the month of love and romance, and we wish all our WhaleTales readers a romantic Valentine’s Day filled with love and happiness.


Speaking of love, we are delighted that Bernd and Britta Schurtakow got married at Whale Cottage Camps Bay in December. Wir gratulieren zur Hochzeit, und danken euch, dasz ihr unser Haus fuer diesen wichtigen Tag ausgesucht habt. February generally is wedding month in Franschhoek, and we welcome all our many guests attending weddings of their friends and family. For many of them it is their first visit to South Africa. I am sure that you will enjoy our lovely sunny weather after the bitterly cold winter in Europe, the UK and USA.

 

Chris von Ulmenstein
Owner, Whale Cottage Portfolio


IN THIS MONTH'S NEWSLETTER
World Cup expectations loose bounce
New Global Opportunity Forum could be World Cup highlight
Restaurant cons and congratulations!
Real “Whale War” Blows up in Antarctic

Sweet & Sour Service Awards




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Article1
 

WORLD CUP EXPECTATIONS LOOSE BOUNCE

 

  

Sentiment towards the World Cup amongst the tourism industry, in Cape Town in particular, has been deflated since the FIFA accommodation agency MATCH has announced that it has already axed more than 400 000 room nights nationally, and about 65 000 room nights in the Western Cape, due to a lack of demand. MATCH says that it has released accommodation that falls outside the 11 June – 11 July World Cup dates, and accommodation that is further than 70 km from a host city, as well as timeshare weeks, an accommodation type which has not proven to be popular. MATCH has until April to make further accommodation cuts without having to pay a cancellation penalty to its contracted accommodation suppliers. Read more about the MATCH accommodation cuts.

Non-MATCH contracted accommodation is also feeling the World Cup pinch, in that few accommodation establishments are fully booked in Cape Town, while in the rest of the province bookings are minimal. In Camps Bay, for example, the average booking rate is 21 % of available rooms, but this average has been brought down by a number of guesthouses who have not taken any bookings at all, hoping for a ‘magic’ booking for this period. Whale Cottage Camps Bay is 40 % booked to date for the World Cup.

 
Opportunistically Cape Town Tourism and FEDHASA are welcoming the MATCH booking cancellations. Cape Town Tourism is signing up private homes, giving them a cursory quality assessment and offering them a short-term membership of the city’s tourism association, in competition to its accommodation members whose establishments are not yet fully booked. FEDHASA CEO Brett Dungan is even more opportunistic, in having set up a portal www.rooms4u.travel in conjunction with South African Tourism, as the definitive World Cup website. Bookings are taken, with a commission paid to the website owner – Dungan - but he is not identified as such on the website. Investigative blogger Carl Momberg of CapeInfo.com made this discovery. Dungan makes promises that his website can fill the cancelled MATCH room nights, but we find his claim to be irresponsible, given the current World Cup sentiment and attendance uncertainty. Dungan’s hidden role in the portal is seen to be a conflict of interest, as the website competes with bookings that tourism bureaus in towns and cities should take, to generate much-needed commission income. Read more about FEDHASA and Cape Town Tourism making a meal out of the World Cup.
 
A disappointment for Cape Town and its surrounding towns is that no team is making the city its World Cup base camp. In the Western Cape only George and Knysna will host three country teams (Japan, France and Denmark). The majority of the team base camps are in Gauteng. Read here for details of base camp locations.
 
Ticket sales also seem to show that the World Cup may become a “FIFA flop”, with sales from international soccer fans being far below the initial estimates. Only the England supporter numbers appear to be on target. The downside of this is that more bookings for tickets will go to South African fans living in host cities, which means that they do not need accommodation, restaurants , nor shopping, thus bursting the World Cup bubble for the hospitality industry. It is said that FIFA has oversold the benefit of the World Cup, which takes place in a world economy that has not yet shaken off the recession fully. Exorbitant airline costs, and the cost of the MATCH accommodation/ticket/flight packages, with a 30 % commission add-on, are also alienating soccer fans. Read more information about World Cup ticket sales.
 
The power of FIFA in organising the world’s largest sporting event is hitting home to the media, which is subject to draconian requirements if media representatives want to be accredited for the event, according to www.moneyweb.co.za. Some of the media restrictions for media accreditation include:

 

1. Newspapers may not publish photographs or videos relating to the event on their websites - only copy may be transferred there
2. Reporters may not write about the hotels at which the soccer teams are staying
3. Newspapers may not be sold in a restricted area around the stadium, in a radius of about 800 meters
4. Whilst FIFA commits to guaranteeing freedom of speech, it has a clause that states that news organisations “may not bring Fifa into disrepute”.

 
“Freedom of press is guaranteed”, says FIFA’s Head of Media, Pekka Odriozola. “That is very important for us, and you will be able to cover the World Cup in the best possible conditions. We really work hard to have the best possible facilities, the best possible access to the teams, and the competition. I can tell you that the international press in general are always satisfied with the service because at the end of the day, we are servicing the media. Really, there is nothing to fear” he added. The South African National Editors’ Forum (Sanef) says as follows: “It’s outrageous what Fifa is used to get away with. The tragedy though is the virtual absence of outrage by local media and editors on the violation of freedom of the press on such a scale.”

 

The FIFA Final Draw, which took place in Cape Town on 4 December, attracted soccer stars such as David Beckham and Pele, and was highly praised for its smooth organisation.

 

Capetonians partied the night away on Long Street, and the Mother City got a first taste of the World Cup atmosphere which can be experienced in June and July. The televised Draw ceremony was disappointing in not reflecting much of South Africa and Cape Town in particular. Ex-South African actress Charlize Theron was on stage to help with the draw. Read here for information about the teams drawn and the dates of the matches in Cape Town.

  
Tourism in Cape Town will enjoy a double whammy at the start of the World Cup, with FIFA’s Local Organising Committee and the South African Rugby Union reaching an agreement which will allow the rugby test match between the Springboks and the French team to be played at Newlands on Saturday 12 June, reports the Cape Argus. According to the FIFA rules, no other sporting events may take place from 24 May onwards, to ensure that they do not drain any host city’s infrastructure, and its ability to host the World Cup. As the rugby test match will not be played on a FIFA match day in Cape Town, permission was granted. Cape Town can be expected to be invaded by French rugby and soccer fans in June, as the French soccer team plays Uruguay on Friday 11 June, the World Cup starting day, and the French rugby team plays the Springboks on Saturday 12 June.
 
More than R 1,5 billion is being spent on the upgrade of roads in Cape Town, in preparation for the World Cup, reports the Cape Times. The Bus Rapid Transport system is being constructed between the city and the Koeberg area, as well as between Klipfontein and the city. Both will be completed before June. Cycle lanes between the R27, and Table View, and the city are also being constructed. Cycle lanes are planned as the preferred means of transport to the Cape Town stadium, even though the World Cup months of June and July are traditional wet winter months in the Cape! The Hospital Bend upgrade, the airport road upgrade, and the section between R300 and Vanguard Drive, are all expected to be completed by March. Upgrades are also planned for Symphony Way and Fritz Sonnenberg Street from Granger Bay. An inner city bus transport system is to be set up which will include the CBD and offshore, the Port of Cape Town and the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront, as well as all the suburbs of the City Bowl. The project will extend eastwards to include Green Point, Sea Point and Camps Bay and then the Culemborg area, Woodstock, Salt River, Observatory and Mowbray.

Article2

 

NEW GLOBAL OPPORTUNITY FORUM COULD BE WORLD CUP HIGHLIGHT

 

  

Cape Town will not only attract visitors for the World Cup matches, and host the rugby test match between the Springboks and the French team , but it will also see the world’s business and political leaders coming to the city from 26 - 28 June, reports the Sunday Argus. This can only mean a fantastic marketing boost for the city. For the first time ever, Time and Fortune magazines will invite the Time 100, Fortune 500 and world leaders to attend a New Global Opportunity conference in Cape Town. Writing about the New Global Opportunity conference, Time managing editor Richard Stengel wrote: “Cape Town, known as ‘The Mother City’ to South Africans, is an exquisitely beautiful place that is in many ways a model for the new Africa: diverse, entrepreneurial, forward-looking. It is one of the hosts of the World Cup … when hundreds of millions of soccer fans will be focused on the planet’s most popular sport. The ‘rainbow nation’, as Archbishop Tutu calls it, has pulled out all the stops to be ready for the big event. I’m looking forward to being in Cape Town for both the Global Forum and the World Cup”.

The festive season saw fewer holiday makers in the Cape, they stayed for a shorter period, and they spent less during their stay, say the tourism authorities, reports Fin24. According to the Cape Argus, international tourism numbers dropped by 6 %, compared to 2008, due to the recession and due to the stronger Rand, offering lesser value for money. According to Cape Town Routes Unlimited CEO Calvyn Gilfillan the Garden Route was quieter, speculating that this was due to the water shortage in the area. The bookings however were slow compared to previous years, long before the water crisis became a reality. The Overberg (especially Hermanus) and the Cape Town city centre were quieter, while the Boland reported similar tourism numbers as last year. The West Coast had improved visitor numbers, being a more affordable destination. Tourists were looking for affordability, says Cape Town Tourism, and that is why 5-star hotels struggled financially as guests traded down to lower star accommodation or even to self-catering accommodation. Fedhasa Cape reports that occupancy in 5-star hotels reduced by 10 - 20 % compared to last year, over the festive period, while 3 and 4 star hotels “did better”. The lower number of visitors from Johannesburg was evident in Cape Town and especially Plettenberg Bay. It is said that the Johannesburgers stayed home to save money in order to renovate their homes, which they want to rent out for the World Cup.

Germany’s largest travel company, TUI Deutschland GmbH, hosted 100 TUI travel agents in the Cape for a week earlier this month. The agents were specially selected out of 2 500 applicants, and they experienced a safari in the Eastern Cape, and four days in Cape Town and surrounding areas. A travel expo was set up for them in Stellenbosch. TUI Travel PLC, the parent company of the German TUI, is the largest tourism company in the world, and aggressively sells South African packages in the German market. It has more than 20 % market share, and is represented in 180 countries, serving 30 million clients internationally.

 

The first ever G20 meeting of the world’s Tourism leaders, scheduled to take place in Johannesburg this month, should be a start to co-ordinate international tourism strategies. The South African Minister of Tourism’s advisor, Shaun Vorster, said about the Tourism Summit: ”Tourism is one of the world’s top job creators. It is also responsible for 30 % of the world’s services exports and is a key stimulus for the transition to a greener economy” reports Southern African Tourism Update. The issues which could be discussed by the Summit, and which could lead to better internationally co-ordinated activities, include swine flu, global trade, taxes and levies on air travel, bunker fuels, visa insurance and travel by disabled tourists.
 
The marketing of South Africa was taken to new heights when a team of chefs representing South Africa at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, cooked a special meal for 2 500 guests to promote the country, reports the Sunday Times. Led by Sunday Times Chef of the Year 2009, Henrico Grobbelaar from Vergelegen, a team of nine chefs prepared the R 3 million dinner, which was sponsored by Anglo American CEO Cynthia Carroll and was the brainchild of the International Marketing Council of South Africa, a body tasked to build a positive profile for South Africa. The 46-dish buffet included puthu pap, biltong, mealies, samp, waterblommetjies, Karoo lamb belly stuffed with dried fruit, game bobotie tartlets, springbok ravioli, Durban prawn curry, peppercorn-crusted crocodile(!), melktert, koeksisters, malva pudding, Cape Brandy pudding, rooibos-infused creme brulee and macadamia cake made with mealie meal. The drinks served included Vergelegen wines, mampoer, and inkomazi. Entertainment was provided by Freshlyground, Jimmy Dludlu, The Afrotenors, Sibongile Mngoma, and the Standard Bank Young Artists Jazz Quartet. The work of nine South African artists was on display as well. The South African delegation at Davos included President Jacob Zuma, Maria Ramos and Trevor Manuel. President Zuma addressed the summit to reassure the delegates about South Africa’s ability to host the World Cup.
 

South Africa is one of 31 destinations recommended for travel in 2010 by the New York Times on its site www.nytimes.com. The top five destinations are Sri Lanka, Patagonia Wine Country (San Patricio del Chavar), Seoul, Mysore in India, and Copenhagen. “Waiting in the wings”, according to the article, as places to go to in 2010, are countries/cities which include Damascus, Antarctica, Leipzig, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Shanghai, Minorca, Costa Rica, Marrakesh, Bahia in Brazil, Kitzbuehl in Austria, Norway and South Africa. South Africa made 22nd place on the list, and its selection is motivated by the Soccer World Cup, and Cape Town is highlighted as the best city in the country. The full text motivating the selection of South Africa on the list follows: “As host of the 2010 World Cup this summer, South Africa has gotten its game on with a flurry of new stadiums, new hotels and safari lodges. While soccer is being played across nine cities, much of the action off the field is taking place in Cape Town. Already known for its stunning beaches, mouthwatering cuisine and sophisticated night life, the city is welcoming high-end hotels, including the recently opened One & Only Cape Town and the forthcoming Taj Cape Town (www.tajhotels.com/capetown). Set to open this month, the Taj will have 166 rooms, many with views of Table Mountain. Also scheduled to open in Cape Town this year — but not in time for the World Cup — is the second branch of the nascent Missoni Hotels group (the first property opened in Edinburghlast year, with future outposts planned for Kuwait, Brazil and Oman). Between matches, there’s plenty of time to go on a safari. If money is no object, check out the Ulusaba (www.ulusaba.virgin.com), a private game reserve that’s part of Richard Branson’s collection of luxury vacation properties. It has opened the new Cliff Lodge, with private swimming pools and spectacular views of the bush. Prices start at 13,800 South African rand (around $1,878 at 7.35 rand to the dollar) a night for two.”

Cape Town has been selected as one of the "World's most beautiful cities" by Forbes.com, and joins Paris, Vancouver, Sydney, Florence, Venice, San Francisco, Chicago, New York City, Cambridge,Tokyo and London in sharing this accolade, reports the SA VenuesBlog. "Open space also makes Cape Town special, says Levitt. Renowned English sea navigator Sir Francis Drake once referred to Cape Town as the fairest cape in the world. The city houses the Kirstenbosch botanical garden, and the top of Table Mountain offers a breathtaking view of the city from roughly 3,500 feet above sea level. Levitt, an environmental engineer, praises the city's minimal ecological footprint, a result of its "manageable size." says Forbes about Cape Town.
 

A new Lonely Planet travel guide “1000 Ultimate Experiences” has named Cape Town as one of the world’s Top 10 party cities, reports Reuters.

 

Cape Town’s fellow Top 10 party cities are Belgrade, Montreal, Buenos Aires , Dubai, Thessalonika, La Paz, Baku in Azerbaijan, Auckland and Tel Aviv.One wonders if the editor came to the South Africa, in its overstated evaluation of Mossel Bay, and its inaccurate distance between Mossel Bay and Cape Town!

 

The Lonely Planet accolade for Cape Town is as follows: “With the 2010 World Cup bringing a global audience to South Africa, the partying will only get harder as travelers converge on a city already well known for nightlife. Luxuriate on some of the world’s best beaches by day and kick back under the moonlight at suave cocktail bars by night. Two hours east, in the Indian Ocean, lies the elegant beach village of Mossel Bay, with more great beaches and chic flair. Visitors must try some of the wines crafted by South Africa’s world-renowned vintners, either at a Cape Town bar or at one of several wineries nearby”.
 

The J&B Met has become one of the largest events to be held in Cape Town, probably second to the Argus Cycle Tour, and attracts 50 000 spectators and generates income of R20 million for the fashion industry alone, with further income benefits to the Mother City of expenditure on accommodation, restaurants, car rental, and shopping.

 

The J&B Met is THE society event of the year in Cape Town, and is all about style, glamour and fashion, and showcases the best fashion design in the country.

 
The Cape Argus Pick ‘n Pay Cycle Tour generates significant revenue for Cape Town and its surrounding towns and villages, whilst also raising funds for charity. The Cycle Race this year is expected to generate R 400 million in accommodation, restaurant, petrol, car rental, shopping, and cycling accessory expenditure over the three day period of 12 - 15 March. The recession has made itself felt with somewhat fewer entries from other provinces, say the race organisers, reports the Cape Argus. The 109 km race on 14 March will see 35 000 cyclists ride around the Cape Peninsula. It is the largest individually timed cycle race in the world. The race is organised by the Rotary Club of Claremont and the Cycle Tour Trust. Last year R 2,5 million of the proceeds went to charities, while a further R 2,5 million went to organisations supporting the development of cycling as a sport. Great news is that cycling icon Lance Armstrong will be riding the race for the first time.

The third Cricket Test between England and South Africa, in early January, was a boost for tourism in Cape Town, with accommodation in the city being near to fully booked, 84 000 tickets having been sold to cricket fans, mainly from the UK.

 

The Top Gear team of Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and The Stig excited motoring enthusiasts last month at Cape Town’s GrandWest Arena, the first visit of this hugely popular BBC motoring programme team to the Mother City. The wine industry of South Africa has been up in arms about some of Clarkson’s views of South African wines.

 
Ivanka Trump, daughter of Donald and Ivana Trump, honeymooned in South Africa with her husband Jared Kushner. Thanks to the power of Twitter, her travels around Southern Africa were documented for all her 613 000 Twitter followers to read. Fashion and celebrity blogs also followed her trip, creating exposure for South Africa which money could not buy. Her first stop was in the Winelands : “Wandering in the Paarl area of Cape Town. Just visited the Backsberg vineyard. A terrific afternoon…..” she tweeted. She then went on a safari in an unnamed destination.
 
South Africa features on the Oscar nominee list, which will be good for the marketing of the country. South African film ‘District 9′, a movie which is set in a township in Johannesburg, has been nominated for Best Picture, Best Editing, Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Visual Effects awards. ‘District 9′ is up against ‘Avatar’, which has won all the major movie awards to date, specifically as far as special effects are concerned, a strength of “District 9′ too.

 

Invictus’ has been enjoyed by many South Africans, living in the country and abroad, who nostalgically relived the World Cup Rugby championship, which was played in South Africa in 1995. Then-President Nelson Mandela wore the number 6 jersey when he went on the field before the final match between South Africa and New Zealand was played, to help the South African team face the power and strength of the New Zealand team. South Africa won against all odds.

 

Matt Damon successfully plays Springbok rugby captain Francois Pienaar, at least as far as his South African accent goes, while Morgan Freeman is less successful with Nelson Mandela’s accent. See the review of Invictus here.
 
Invictus has been nominated for Best Actor (Morgan Freeman) and Best Supporting Actor (Matt Damon).


The Tourism Grading Council of South Africa has announced the new members of its Awards Committee, under the new Chairmanship of ex-Sun International CEO Peter Bacon, and it contains a most strange collection of persons in the décor, architecture, fashion design and property development industries, with only a handful of hotel operators – see the complete list of members of the committee. No small accommodation establishment representative has been nominated, despite them making up the largest number of graded establishments! No e-mail to announce the new Awards Committee has been sent to the star-graded accommodation establishments. The Awards Committee evaluates and approves recommendations from the Tourism Grading Council assessors as to the renewal of an existing establishment’s star grading, or its increase or decrease in stars, and the recommendation of a star grading awarded to new accommodation establishments. Bacon is quoted as saying that he and his Committee wish to increase the number of graded establishments, and to focus on the integrity of the grading system. “Quality Assurance is a pillar of S A Tourism’s overall strategy to attract more foreign visitors to the country and our intention is to align our system with international best practice” he said.

Article3

 

RESTAURANT CONS AND CONGRATULATIONS!

 
  

While we all love to eat out, it is disappointing when one gets taken for a ride by restaurants making false claims, or if they are dishonest in the presentation of their product and service. For example, a chosen vintage of wines-by-the-glass often is not that which is advertised on the winelist. Few winelists have a disclaimer, covering them for a vintage running out. Few restaurants pour wine-by-the-glass at the table, and few allow one to taste it. Recently at Wijnhuis in Newlands, a restaurant that places wines prominently in the foreground, a glass of Delheim Shiraz 2004 was ordered, as per the winelist. The waiter brought the poured glass to the table. When asked to pour it at the table, he came with a 2006 bottle. When questioned about the vintage difference, he shrugged his shoulders. The vintages had run out, he said, as if to say – so what?!
 
A more devious dishonesty is when a restaurant makes a claim on its menu and website that it serves only organic beef, lamb and game from the owner’s farm in the Karoo, and it is discovered that the restaurant in fact uses meat delivered from the same meat suppliers used by other restaurants in Cape Town. The restaurant is Carne, well-known as a specialist meat/steak restaurant, which states on its website: “Dedicated entirely to meat as is evident from its Italian name, Carne SA is a carnivore’s paradise serving a unique offering of the finest cuts of Romagnola beef, Dorper lamb and game, all organically grown on Giorgio’s own Karoo farms".
 

We wrote to Carne owner Giorgio Nava, asking him to comment on the allegation that not all his meat comes from his farm and that not all of it is organic. Nava had to admit that he buys in meat from other suppliers, to compare to his meat. His supplier Gastro Foods also admitted that his company delivers game to Carne that does not come from the Nava Karoo farm. No organic certification could be supplied by Carne, to support the restaurant claim, when requested.
 

We are surprised that Nava has not corrected his claim on the Carne website www.carne-sa.com, and that Eat Out, which selected Carne as one of the top 20 restaurants in the country, has condoned this dishonesty by refusing to accept a comment about this on its website. Similarly the Sunday Times’ Hilary Biller also has not responded to the feedback provided, when she wrote a review of Carne just three days after the WhaleTales story was posted, which she ironically entitled “No Monkey Business”! Read the full Carne story.

 

Restaurant openings in Cape Town continue, and the following new restaurants opened recently:

 

Restaurant Christophe in Stellenbosch, with French chef Christophe serving excellent meals and connecting with his guests – read our review.
 
Waterkloof restaurant on the wine estate by the same name in Somerset West – an excellent view onto False Bay and excellent food, even though the portions are small – read our review.
 
Café Chic, a French-style restaurant in a beautifully renovated and decorated Victorian building on Breda Street in Cape Town. A new chef has been “imported” from France, and this should improve the food quality, which did not meet the standard set by the décor – read our review.
 




 
 

 

Vaudeville is a must for everyone that was a Madame Zingara fan. This burlesque show with 19 acts, interspersed with three courses, is a must-see. Teething problems are the ineffective airconditioning, and the food and staff quality. Read our first and second reviews.
 

Kuzina is the newest restaurant to open in the Cape Quarter, and this Greek restaurant has an extensive menu of about 100 dishes, served with inconsistent standard – read our review.
   
Salt Deli had a disastrous opening weekend, but should have improved with the recent appointment of ex-Grand Provence chef Jacques de Jager at Salt restaurant at the Ambassador Hotel – read our review.
 
The Grand on the Beach must be the most popular restaurant in Cape Town, with a novel location on a man-made beach next to the Waterfront. Our experience was good, but complaints about service are frequently heard – read our review.
 
Hermanos in Hermanus has potential, but staff service, and the wines-by-the-glass brands, need attention – read our review.
 
DeliCATessen at Tokara wine estate operates from a beautiful open-plan building, but its service needs focus – read our review.
 
Other new restaurants are Bistro 1682 at Steenberg, Eight at Spier, The Raj in Camps Bay, the Bamboo Asian fusion restaurant in the Cape Royale Luxury Hotel, a Turkish take-away Sultan’s on Long Street, the Country Restaurant at Jordan’s, run by George Jardine, The Kitchen Bar and Oscar’s in Hermanus, Gaaitjie and OepveEet in Paternoster, and Warwicks wine estate is serving gourmet picnics designed by Chef Bruce Roberston. Pepper Club on the Beach has also opened in Camps Bay, a transformation of Summerville

 

In Camps Bay Baraza has been relaunched as Sapphire and Ignite now is called St Yves. Chef Bruce Robertson has sold his Showroom Café to the Grand Daddy Hotel, and has been appointed as the consultant for all the Grand Daddy Hotel food requirements. The Grand Daddy Café is very similar to its predecessor, and a Vida e Caffe counter has been added. Robertson is loving the Radical and Gourmet food tours he leads for mainly American tourists, and he runs the extra mile to find the most unusual and often inaccessible locations for his unique meals.

 

Talented and multi-Top 10 chef Richard Carstens is cooking in the Reubens kitchen in Franschhoek. The Reubens’ prices have increased dramatically – a rib-eye steak which cost R 120 in October, now costs R 175! Portion sizes appear to have shrunk too. BICCCS is a coffee shop that has opened in Franschhoek, a sister coffee shop to branches in Cape Quarter and in Pretoria, as has a new coffee shop in Place Vendome, a very stylish décor centre at the entrance to Franschhoek.

Article4
 

REAL “WHALE WAR” BLOWS UP IN ANTARCTIC

 
  

The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society anti-whaling boat the Ady Gill was attacked by Japanese whalers last month, and sunk. This is a reflection of the determination of the Japanese to hunt whales in the Antarctic, and to deter the Society in its determination to stop whaling in this area, precipitating a real whale war in the Antarctic. Read the full report.
 
A war of a different kind is brewing on the Overstrand Whale Coast. The tourism industry in Hermanus and related towns is up in arms about the new Cape Whale Coast Destination Marketing Organisation (DMO), a body which was formed more than a year ago to market the whale coast from Rooi Els to Gansbaai. Whilst the mandate of the DMO is to market the Whale Coast, with monies supplied from the Overstrand municipality, generated from rates/taxes/levies on tourism businesses, according to its constitution, the DMO now is opening up an information kiosk in Hermanus, from which they will be taking bookings. To receive such bookings, members of the Hermanus Tourism Bureau, and other bureaux along the coast, must become members of the DMO as well, at an additional R 600 annual membership fee. The irony is that the Hermanus Tourism Bureau had to send out the e-mail to its members, inviting membership of the DMO, offering such benefits as a discounted cost to distribute members’ marketing material at trade shows and for marketing and advertising projects, free listing on the Whale Coast website, and free brochure and collage display at the new Market Square Info kiosk, in competition to itself. These should be standard benefits to members of the Hermanus Tourism Bureau. The criteria for membership state that one must pay the DMO a commission of 12 % (this is an unusually high rate, as 10 % is the norm. Cape Town Tourism charges 11 %) ; that one must be a member of a tourism bureau in the Cape Whale Coast area; and that one’s property must have a departure or zoning.
 
The Hermanus Tourism Bureau has a very unattractive location due to the Checkers construction , and is not close to the whale watching spots, and is reliant on making up its funding from the commission it receives for bookings made. According to the Constitution of the Cape Whale Coast DMO, all business owners paying rates and taxes are automatically members of the DMO: “Member” means a registered owner of an erf on which assessment rates are payable due to business which may, or is being conducted on that erf and such rates have been paid to the Municipality for the previous municipal financial year (or current financial year for 2007/8), and/or a person who is paying rental on that erf”. This means that all ratepayers are members automatically, and cannot therefore be double-charged! (We have learnt that the constitution has been removed from the Overstrand website since WhaleTales first wrote about this). If the Cape Whale Coast DMO is modelled on Cape Town Routes Unlimited, the provincial marketing body, which is also a destination marketing organisation, then it is making a mistake! Cape Town Routes Unlimited does not have members, and does not take bookings - it leaves this to Cape Town Tourism and all other tourism bureaux in the province. It is a marketing body and focuses on marketing the Western Cape province. This is what the Cape Whale Coast DMO should be doing too. A further gripe is that the Whale Coast DMO spends too much of its budget on publications and advertising, and too little on web-driven marketing. One of the DMO’s stated objectives is to “develop and maintain a world-class website” - this objective has not been met, as the website can not be called world class. Of even greater concern is that Clinton Lerm, co-owner of the Misty Waves Hotel in Hermanus, is the Chairman of the Hermanus Tourism Bureau, and of the Cape Whale Coast DMO, which means that any concerns that members of the Hermanus Tourism Bureau have about this or any other arrangement relating to the DMO cannot be fairly dealt with, due to the conflict of interest. Lerm’s mother Maxie is also on the Board of the DMO, and is in charge of the Public Relations of the DMO, which should not be handled by a Board member. The promise that a full-time CEO would manage the DMO, as per the Constitution, within a year of establishment of the DMO, has not been met. The Cape Whale Coast website www.whalecoast.info shows another conflict of interest, in that the Lerm’s Misty Waves Hotel is featured in ads on the Hermanus, Home, Resources, News and About pages on the website. At no stage since its inception has the DMO offered members of the Tourism Bureaux the opportunity to place ads on the website. Since writing about this in WhaleTales, the DMO has offered members the opportunity to advertise.
 
Lerm is in further trouble for his about-turn in his original support of an anti-nuclear power plant campaign in the area of his jurisdiction, reports the Cape Times. Two proposed ESKOM nuclear power stations are to be built at Bantamsklip, 4 km from Buffelsjagsbaai and 6 km from Pearly Beach, on the Cape Whale Coast beyond Gansbaai. The “site lies within the hottest internationally recognised biodiversity hotspot”, the Save Bantamsklip website says, and is regarded as a SA Natural Heritage Site and is a Historic Monument. It is adjacent to Dyer Island Nature Reserve, breeding ground of the penguins, and to the Great White Shark Marine Sanctuary. Tourism and marine life conservation bodies have been up in arms about the proposed nuclear plant, and Lerm in November expressed his support on behalf of the Hermanus Tourism Bureau to the Save Bantamsklip awareness campaign. Furthermore he pledged R 1 000 to the campaign, and offered his services and those of his members to participate in a march against the proposed power plant in December, at which time a petition opposing the construction of the power plants was delivered to the Overstrand Municipality in Hermanus. Now Lerm has withdrawn his support of the campaign, after he was called to a meeting with the Mayor of the Overstrand Municipality, the R 2,5 million funder of the Cape Whale Coast DMO.

 

The ZDF movie “Das Geheimnis der Wale” (The Secret of the Whales) was flighted on the largest German TV station at the beginning of the year, and a large part of the filming was done in Hermanus and Cape Town a year ago. The movie is set in New Zealand. Johannes Waldmann is a highly regarded whale researcher who is studying whale communication, and suspects that whales beaching is due to underwater sonar activity. A thriller movie, it tells the story of a group of businessmen who want to rid an area of whales, so that they can explore it for gas.

 

They use sonic booms to move the whales out of the area, but the whales beach, attracting attention , leading to demonstrations against the gas exploration company. While the focus of the movie was humpback whales, Southern Right whales were also shown, and often mentioned. This whale species is most often seen in Walker Bay from Hermanus. German actors Veronica Ferres and Mario Adorff, with international actor Christopher Lambert, were the top names of the cast. Whilst the cast and crew were predominantly German, South African actress Lee-Anne Summers (daughter of Sean Summers, ex-Pick ‘n Pay boss) had a small part, as did ex-Miss South Africa Jo-Ann Strauss. Cape Town locations for the movie were the Cape Town International Convention Centre (making a believable airport exterior in New Zealand), Hout Bay (with its distinctive Sentinel mountain forming a frequent backdrop), the V&A Waterfront quays, the Whale Well in Queen Victoria Street, and the Royal Cape Yacht Club. The Kogel Bay beach was used to film the whales beaching. Local crew were used in part, and Hermanus residents were used as “demonstrating” extras. What is a shame is that the lovely scenery shots will not be recognised by the average German TV viewer as having been filmed in Cape Town and Hermanus, but will be thought to be in New Zealand, due to the story-line.
 
The most unusual modern music composition, called “Vox Balaenae” (The Voice of the Whale) and composed by American George Crumb in honour of the conservation of humpback whales, was performed in Cape Town to the great delight of the delegates attending the UCT Summer School at the Baxter Concert Hall last month. The composer prescribes that his music should not only be enjoyed musically, but also theatrically, and therefore the hall must be darkened, and the musicians must perform under a blue light. They also must wear goggles, to set the scene for what is to come. The piano, cello and flute were amplified, which added to the whale-like sound effects they created. Respected musicians Albie van Schalkwyk on piano, Peter Martens on cello and Bridget Rennie-Salonen on flute and making the singing sounds of whales, recreated the sounds of the oceans, of seagulls, and of whales singing, breaching and blowing. The instruments and their performers’ versatility was tested, with Rennie-Salonen having to sing and play the flute simultaneously; Martens had to tune the cello to be played in a different key; and Van Schalkwyk not only played the keys but also the strings inside the piano. Read more about this music.

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SWEET & SOUR SERVICE AWARDS

 
  

The WhaleTales Sweet & Sour Service Awards are presented every Friday on the WhaleTales blog. Nominations for the Sweet and Sour Service Awards can be sent to info@whalecottage.com. Winners of the Sweet and Sour Service Awards can be read on the Friday posts of the WhaleTales blog, and in the WhaleTales newsletters on the www.whalecottage.com website.

 

The latest Sweet Service Awards went to :

 

Doppio Zero, for the franchisee turning around a bad service experience at the Green Point branch … read more

Allee Bleue, for hosting a most generous lunch in the new winetasting courtyard read more

Balducci, for hosting a generous dinner for the Camps Bay Accommodation association guest houses read more

Cape Town Stadium contractors and staff, for the hard work in planning and constructing the beautiful new stadium… read more

Southern Right Charters, for spontaneously refunding a part of the cost of a whale watching trip as there were few whales to see at the beginning of December ... read more

Robert’s Roofing, for replacing a section of tiles on the Whale Cottage Camps Bay roof after being ripped off by a gale force south-easter wind ... read more

The S A Reserve Bank, for its interest rate decreases in 2009 ... read more

221 Waterfront, for an invitation to try the restaurant ... read more
Nedbank, for good service from its Head Office when the branch was not able to provide it ... read more
The Post Office in the Waterfront, for being open until 9 pm and for its efficient and proactive service ... read more

Leechie Marketing, for owner Michelle’s overnight design service on the previous WhaleTales newsletter … read more

 

The Sour Service Awards in the last two months went to the following:
 

Pick ‘n Pay Express in Green Point, for being unable to efficiently take EasyPay payments ... read more

TELKOM, for being 4 weeks late in a line installation read more

Vodacom, for cutting off a cellphone line, despite payment being made at Pick’nPay’s EasyPay system read more

Newport Deli in Mouille Point, for cheating in calling its sandwiches “fresh”  read more

Nedbank/ID Solutions/Limelight for making legal threats against the Sour Awards awarded to these companies read more

Media Nova and Cape Town Tourism, for the delay in producing the Cape Town Visitors’Guide, and for not allowing the street addresses of the accommodation establishments in the design of the ads read more

Robben Island, for its ferry not operating four times during the summer season ... read more
The City of Cape Town, for its cleaning staff collecting for Christmas boxes from the beginning of November ... read more

The Westin Grand for the poor service of the staff at the Eat Out Top Ten dinner, that guests had paid R 650 per head to attend read more

 
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